Tuesday, 19 February 2019

I Was Born For This

Angel is a superfan. Her life is all about The Ark, the band currently taking the world by storm. She is embarking on what will be the best week of her life, a meet and greet with her boys and socialising with others in her fandom. All Jimmy every really wanted was to be in a band with his best mates, Rowan and Lister. But with fame comes new pressures, and on the eve of signing a new contract, meaning even more of his time dedicated to the fans, Jimmy starts to have doubts.

They just want something to hold on to something that makes them feel good. Even if it's all a big lie.

I don't know how Alice Oseman does it but I adored this book and I generally don't enjoy books about music. I Was Born For This focuses on fandom, and it's not really about music appreciation, it's something more. For girls like Angel, the band is everything.

The band also consumes all of Jimmy's time, but he is starting to resent his lack of freedom. He is a trans man, suffering with anxiety and paranoia, under the magnifying glass of the media. Every little thing they do is scrutinised by the fans.

One faction of fans ships Jimmy and Rowan, reading into their Joan of Ark song that it's a combination of their names. Rowan has a girlfriend, one whose secret is slowly slipping as the media look for the next big story. It shows to tension that fame can add to relationships and questions the sense of ownership of famous people. The fans think The Ark belong to them, but in reality they are just regular boys with lives to lead.

I loved the friendship between the three boys. Whilst not perfect, they love each other and support each other. As always with Alice's books, this is not a romance.

Angel also discovers that friendship can be hard. She made friends with Juliet online, bonding over their love of The Ark. When Mac turns up, Angel is resentful of him. It was meant to be her week with Juliet and she suspects Mac doesn't even like The Ark, he keeps bring up Radiohead after all. But does Angel really know Juliet and is she giving her half a chance? There is more to life than fandom.

It's full of complex emotions and I was gripped. Cannot wait for more from Alice (and I won't wait so long to read it next time).

Listening Notes

Aysha Kala and Huw Parmenter were a joy to listen to. So often audiobooks narrators do silly teenage voices, but they sounded like actual young people I hear in southern England. Even the accents in the dialogue were decent.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: 9. A book you meant to read in 2018

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Book Source: Purchased

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