Reviewed by Heather C
Title: The Princess and the Fangirl
Author: Ashley Poston
Series: Once Upon a Con #2
Heroines: Jessica Stone & Imogen Lovelace (not a romantic pairing)
Genre: Young Adult
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.
Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.
When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.
“Anything can happen once upon a con.”
The Princess and the Fangirl is the anticipated sequel to Geekerella and kicks off at the next ExcelsiCon one year later. Where Geekerella is a Cinderella retelling (I love Cinderella retellings), The Princess and the Fangirl is a retelling of The Prince and the Pauper (I’m not a Mark Twain and attempted and failed to read this in high school, but I’m fairly familiar with the premise).
It has been a few years since I’ve read Geekerella and I remember it being fun with lots of cute and geeky fandom references. The Princess and the Fangirl follows along that same vein with the main fandom being Starfield…the inspiration for ExcelsiCon. Jessica Stone is the actress who plays Princess Amara, one of Starfield’s favorite villains in the recent reboot movie. Unfortunately, Jess the actress isn’t a fan favorite and is ready for her career to leave Princess Amara in the past. Imogen Lovelace isn’t new to the convention experience and has even started the online #SaveAmara movement along with a petition that has amassed 50,000 signatures. Mo also happens to look very much like Jessica Stone. After an incident of mistaken identity, Jess convinces Mo the two of them should switch identities for the remainder of the con giving them both a chance to pursue their own secret agendas.
In the beginning, I struggled a bit because I didn’t know who the romantic pairings would be. I knew going in this story fell under the LGBT tag so I guess I assumed it would be Jess and Mo together, but it quickly became clear that wouldn’t be the case. I don’t want to spoiler it so I’m only going to say there is good representation and the romance only amounts to small piece of the story anyway. I would have preferred more romance, but there was so much happening with drama around Starfield and the movie sequel, there wasn’t enough time for much falling in love.
Between the two main characters, Imogen was my favorite. She was a little naive with her #SaveAmara quest but I think that was what I loved the most about her: she could take something she loved and share it with others…and they could love it too. Also, her romantic pairing was much more interesting. Jess, on the other hand, had a lot of growing to do. She is totally unhappy with her experience as Princess Amara, but eventually she is able to understand and embrace what Amara represents. I wasn’t a fan of her romantic pairing since 90% of them falling for each other was based on a huge lie.
I loved so many of the side characters: Jess’s assistant Ethan and Mo’s brother Milo and Milo’s boyfriend Bran. There are even several appearances from Geekerella couples Darien and Elle, and Sage and Calliope.
There is an underlying mystery about who is leaking pages of the Starfield sequel script. For some reason I didn’t find the mystery very interesting and the “bad guy” wasn’t a big surprise to me. Maybe it wasn’t really intended to be? Anyway, I found the mystery to be the least interesting part of the story.
Overall, I wanted more romance and less mystery and Starfield drama. Still, worth reading for any fans of Geekeralla.
Looks like there will be a 3rd book in the Once Upon a Con series featuring one of the new characters from The Princess and the Fangirl. I just can’t figure out who it could be. I would like a Milo story, but I also like Milo with Bran. Hmm…
Overall Impression: I liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*