Author: Alice Oseman
Buy: Amazon US
Such an interesting read! I picked up this book based on the plot: it follows our two main characters, Angel and Jimmy. Angel’s life revolves around a band called The Ark who have become her life. They have given her all of her internet friends, a purpose in life, and hope that love exists. Jimmy is the lead singer; he has severe anxiety and paranoia and is deeply insecure in his profession. He loves music, but hates fame. The story revolves around their own growth and change, as well as how their paths meet.
As a huge member of the bandom, it was fascinating and shocking to see the effect that fans have on their idols. It’s opened my eyes to the pressure of being so depended on by millions of people who don’t even know who you really are. But, as someone who has been kept alive by the music of twenty one pilots, Pierce The Veil and the like, it breaks my heart that some musicians are overcome by fear and hatred of their fandom. I never thought about how stressful it must be, having all these strangers fawn mindlessly over them (or the strangers’ image of them, which is worse). For that reason, I’m thankful that this book has given me the chance to be more mindful of my irrevocable adoration of bands and their members.
Saying that, it was also scary how much of myself I saw in Angel. She puts The Ark before everything else in her life and, as someone who would willingly die for Brendon Urie, I can now see how distressing that is. There are fans who are nothing except the people they idolise, and I now see that I can be a fan without selling my soul.
Disclaimer: I FULLY respect anyone who’s life revolves around a band/tv show/celebrity if it gives you happiness. My opinions are only as a response to my own personality, and the fact that it was beginning to cause me unhappiness.
Subject matter aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing of this novel. It had the perfect conversationalist tone for a YA contemporary without being cheesy or cliched. There was a lot of emotional impact, especially in the scenes in which Jimmy had a panic attack, as well as the shock of the finale. The pacing was perfect, even though what I thought was going to be the main event happened quite far into the book (it worked brilliantly).
Also, amazing diversity! A male main character with anxiety, a Muslim main character, a trans main character, a gay main character and a bisexual main character!!
The only reason this isn’t 5 stars is because I hated one of the characters with a deep-seated, fiery passion. But that’s okay, since I knew he was supposed to be the object of readers’ hatred anyway.