Hey all, Dani here.
I love being a fangirl. I love going to comic conventions. And I love reading books that feature nerdy characters. So I was pretty excited when I heard about this book, because it seemed destined to become a favorite, like some other geek-centric reads I’ve enjoyed in the past couple years. Perhaps considering all that, I put too much pressure on this book to be amazing. It was good, but not my favorite.
Let’s just jump into the review.
Claire is a sixteen-year-old fangirl obsessed with the show Demon Heart. Forest is an actor on Demon Heart who dreams of bigger roles. When the two meet at a local Comic-Con panel, it’s a dream come true for Claire. Until the Q&A, that is, when Forest laughs off Claire’s assertion that his character is gay. Claire is devastated. After all, every last word of her super-popular fanfic revolves around the romance between Forest’s character and his male frenemy. She can’t believe her hero turned out to be a closed-minded jerk. Forest is mostly confused that anyone would think his character is gay. Because he’s not. Definitely not.
Unfortunately for Demon Heart, when the video of the disastrous Q&A goes viral, the producers have a PR nightmare on their hands. In order to help bolster their image within the LGBTQ+ community-as well as with their fans-they hire Claire to join the cast for the rest of their publicity tour. What ensues is a series of colourful Comic-Con clashes between the fans and the show that lead Forest to question his assumptions about sexuality and help Claire come out of her shell. But how far will Claire go to make her ship canon? To what lengths will Forest go to stop her and protect his career? And will Claire ever get the guts to make a move on Tess, the very cute, extremely cool fanartist she keeps running into?
Rating: 3.5 stars
First off, let me start by saying that I loved the difference between fans, like Claire and Tess are both huge fangirls of “Demon Heart,” but their philosophies about being fans are different. To me, this is great and realistic representation. I honestly have a friend who is that sort of intense fangirl that Claire is, which might explain why I had such issues with her as a character. She felt very real to me.
I think I’m more of a Tess type of fangirl. I love my shows/movies/etc and I am very passionate about them, but I’m not going to go to the lengths that Claire does trying to get my OTP to go canon.
That was my main problem with this book. Claire took things way too far, and honestly, to me this book shows the dark side of fandom. Yes, we all have our pairings for characters, canon or otherwise, and yes we all have ideas for plot points we would love to see become reality in our favorite shows or books. And there are some amazing fanfictions out there (as well as some just okay ones–but there is nothing wrong with that).
I should probably also mention that both Tess and Claire fall on the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum, though Claire hasn’t figured out her identifier really. At the beginning of the story Claire thinks of herself as straight, and she hates it when people assume that she is something else because of the way she dresses or acts or whatever. But then she gets super upset when one of the lead actors as well as the producers of “Demon Heart” don’t accept her theory that the two main characters are gay. She then goes on to write up all sorts of posts online and to try and push her belief/pairing on them, trying to get them to see that they should make this perceived gay context canon in the show.
And I guess that is realistic too, because so very many of us are hypocritical. Claire doesn’t like others assuming that she isn’t straight, but then turns around and tries to convince a group of others that two characters are gay.
This was an interesting book, and the concept certainly drew me in. It really does show how much social media can influence and affect a creative endeavor like making a television show. It also does a lot for exploring labels and perception (how we are perceived and how we perceive others). So I enjoyed it for that. I just feel like Claire became too much of an unlikeable protagonist for me to become a true fangirl of this book.