Written by: Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson
Published: May 17, 2016 by Chronicle Books
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis:The story follows the unlikely friendship of two young women forged via fan fiction and message boards, and is told entirely in texts, chats, and blog posts.
Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena’s romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie. But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn’s online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual “real” lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.
*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***
This was a great read. It's one of those books that is deeper and more complex than I expected, something that may have made me shy away from the book, but I'm glad I didn't. It was a fantastic and fast read with great characters and an engaging story.
I always enjoy when books are told in a different kind of format and narrative style. I wouldn't really refer to this as epistolary but it is definitely not told in the traditional narrative style. Gena/Finn is told completely through electronic interactions like blog posts, texts, and emails as well as through journal entries. It made for a really fast read but it also made for an interesting one. As someone who has a blog and interacts with people who I know from online regularly, it felt entirely natural to read about these characters chatting in this way. It made for a very immersive kind of read. It's not necessarily told in second person but it gave that vibe. It's as if you are one of the characters interacting with the others. Everything about this format made for a really interesting and compelling story.
The surprising thing about the format too is that you get to know the characters so well with just these interactions. You wouldn't think that this would allow you to experience the characters on such a deep level but because you almost inhabited them during the book, it did just that. And these are definitely fantastic and relateable characters which made it all the more engaging. I loved both Gena and Finn. Their friendship and attraction ran so deep and I loved that. They meet through the fandom they are a part of and become instant best friends. This is something us internet people can identify with but I felt like with this book it went deeper than that. Throughout the book, the characters are trying to figure out who they are and what they want with life during a period of change for them. In many ways I was really able to hold the mirror up to myself with these characters and that I think is really the mark of a great writer.
I'm not a huge contemporary fan but I love books about fangirls/fanboys and friendships which this book is. But I also don't typically love books that are on the more emotional side and this book was that too. It kind of lulled you into a false sense of security and friendship before hitting you with the serious stuff. But that's what made it all the more impactful. I ended up really loving the way it balanced the serious and lighthearted moments of life. It was very real that way. But it was also really hopeful in the end. I didn't leave feeling completely bummed. I left feeling encouraged about life and friendship and moving on.
On the whole I really enjoyed Gena/Finn. It was a unique and well-written story about two young women finding someone to help through the challenges of life on the internet. It's a post-modern story of friendship that is relateable and impactful.
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. I would definitely recommend Gena/Finn. If you are a fan of contemporaries then absolutely pick this one up when it comes out in a few weeks. But if you're like me and you're not a huge fan the genre but you are looking for a unique read, or especially if you are a part of any fandom or internet community then check this out.
Have you read Gena/Finn? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!