ARC Review: The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Title: The Princess and the Fangirl
Author: Ashley Poston
Publisher: Quirk Books
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 320 Pages
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019

Summary: 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.

I was an absolutely massive fan of Geekerella (you can read my review by clicking here!), so when I found out that Ashley Poston was going to be publishing a companion novel, I was absolutely over the moon and knew that I needed a copy. I'm so thankful that Quirk Books gave me the opportunity to receive an ARC for review -- I was practically over the moon when I got it in the mail, and I could barely put the book down until I got to the very end. So without further ado, let's get into the review!

As the summary explains, a strange twist of fate leads Imogen, an average con-goer, directly in the path of Jessica Stone, the actress playing Princess Amara in her favorite movie franchise, Starfield. But it isn't a super happy meet and greet like one would expect. For starters, Jessica wants nothing more than to be done with the franchise forever -- she's glad that her character got killed off in the last movie, and she wants it to stay that way. Which is why Imogen is Public Enemy #1 -- she's an obsessed fan that has launched an online petition to get Amara back into the series. What's even more odd is that both girls find out that they look like one another so well, that they decide to switch places for the con as a way of solving some pretty messed-up mysteries that happen along the way (which I will leave to your imagination). All of this chaos certainly makes for an interesting con, that's for sure!

First thing's first: You *don't* have to have read Geekerella to understand this book! It is a companion novel, not a sequel, so yes, there's a difference! There's nothing that is discussed in The Princess and the Fangirl that you won't understand if you haven't read the first book. However, I do still recommend reading Geekerella first, because Ashley Poston does a great job at sprinkling in some little Easter eggs for Geekerella readers to find! Plus, you get to see more of Elle in little parts of the book, and she's one of my favorite characters so that was something really exciting to see.

Okay, onto the book itself -- I really, really enjoyed reading this one! I tore through this book so quickly because the chapters were super short and I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. Ashley Poston is a master at creating a story you can comfortably sink into and not want to leave -- which is part of the reason why I finished this story so quickly! Another thing that I really liked about this book were all of the pop culture references scattered throughout it -- talking about movies, video games, music, celebrities, etc. It's very clear that this book is celebrating nerdy, geeky culture, which is my favorite community to be a part of, so I found that really heartwarming and comfortable. There were even a few Mean Girls references in there that had me laughing out loud!

At first, I wasn't a huge fan of Jessica (she seemed like a bit of a diva to me), but as the book went on I really started to like her and she began to grow on me. She definitely comes off as a bit abrasive at first, but getting the chance to be in her head during her whole switch operation with Imogen really gives her character a whole new dimension. Toward the end of the novel I found myself cheering her on enthusiastically, and there were some moments where she was downright hilarious.

My favorite character in this book definitely had to be Darien, same as last time. Even if he isn't a main character in this book, he's just so sweet and soft spoken and kind to everyone (not to mention really cute, duh!), so I've always had a bit of a soft spot for him. And seeing him interact with Elle more in this book gave my little fangirl heart some happiness, because I got to see more of their love story beyond the last pages of Geekerella.

You guys, this book is just so much fun and so adorable. One of my favorite parts of the entire thing was the fact that it takes place during a convention, so a lot of stuff they were describing made me think of BookExpo and BookCon, and I just got so super excited and now I can't wait for late May/early June to arrive because I miss all of our con friends and just having such a great time with everyone, and all of the booths and the panels and the swag and everything! Ugh. This book made me so much antsier for BookExpo and now I am just itching to go, because Ashley Poston was so right when she wrote about how special the con atmosphere is, and how heartwarming it feels to be in a big place surrounded by a whole bunch of geeky people who also love the same things you do. It's a sense of community like no other.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Princess and the Fangirl. If you're looking for a hilarious, gripping read full of pop culture references that will make you glow with recognition, then this is definitely the book for you! I'm so grateful that Quirk gave me the chance to review this one early, and it's safe to say that I'll definitely be on the lookout for more work from Ashley in the future!

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