Angela and I

Angela and I

Monday, May 29, 2017

Grace and the Fever: Book Review

Hi, my name is KT, and I will absolutely read, watch, or listen to anything about fandom.  I also love writing about it, so when I finished the book "Grace and the Fever" by Zan Romanoff in only two days, I knew I was going to have to write about it.

A little background on my fannish experiences:  I started young.  Like, really young.  I first heard MmmBop when I was only six.  I went to my first boy band concert when I was only ten.  I saw RENT for the first time when I was only eleven.  I fell deeply in love with Spring Awakening when I was only sixteen.  I dove headfirst into the world of band and musical theatre fandom, and never looked back.  I heard about this book from my good friend Bethany, which is fitting seeing as Bethany and I are friends because of our mutual love of Hanson, and immediately pre-ordered it.  Zan is a self professed Hanson fan, so when I read the description I was...excited to say the least.  Very relevant to my interests, thank you, I'll take ten (just kidding I only ordered one).  And then the book came and I started reading.......

........And I didn't really stop until I was finished.  Except to go to work.  And sleep a little bit.

This book follows Grace, a huge fan of the band Fever Dream, through her last summer at home before heading off to college.  Like many band fics, Grace stumbles upon a member of the band, and the rest of the summer unfolds in camera flashes and music industry parties, with Grace being pulled into a completely new world.

To me, the main conflict of this book is not Grace vs. The Fans or Grace vs. The Band, or even Grace vs. Her Friends (who she often ditches to go hang out with her new pop star acquaintances).  The arc of this story centers around Grace vs. Her Online Persona, aka Gigi.  The story made me ache in all the right ways because I have been both Grace and Gigi. Anyone who knows me knows that I have been deeply entrenched in the Hanson fandom since before I even properly knew how to use the internet. For years I kept that life and passion very separate from my real life, for a lot of different reasons.  The main reason was that I just thought that's kind of how fandom worked. It was a separate world, and one that I could escape to when life got hard, and trust did. I recovered from a disorder that was entirely built on lies and secrets. I used to find worth and meaning in those secrets. But then, I started finding happiness and joy and RELEASE in telling people about what happened to me and why I did it. I became an open book. I unlearned the art of secret keeping and lie telling. And slowly but surely...I realized that I didn't have to separate everything quite so nicely. I could just be myself...unapologetically. My fandom friends could also be my real friends, and vice versa.  So while the merging of my two lives wasn't exactly a wild whirlwind like Grace's experience, it still happened.  It was still something I had to figure out.

SO ANYWAY, not to make this review entirely about myself, but I think that's what is so beautiful about this book. I'm sure we (and by we I mean those of us in band fandom) can all see ourselves SOMEWHERE in this book. The story is definitely NOT a Hanson story, I can see a lot more inspiration from the One Direction narrative than any other real band, but at the same time Fever Dream is still it's own, beautiful entity. Even though there isn't much about fic in the book (except for maybe one slash reference), it reads a lot like a fic, which is probably why I read it so quickly. That being said, there are a lot of familiar fic-like tropes used throughout the book that made me smile knowingly.

"Voices in tight, athletic harmony, singing songs that shoot straight up her spine to fill her to the brim with joy, or longing, or maybe it’s both at the same time.  It’s everything all at once.  It happens too fast to name any particular feeling.  There’s only this, only now unfolding, carrying her on its broad back."

I'm obviously very passionate about fandom.  It's my home, and the place where I feel the most loved and accepted.  It also challenges me and makes me crazy.  I wouldn't change the all encompassing life style of loving something so hard it hurts.  I hope you find something you love as much as Grace loves Fever Dream or as much as I love Hanson.  Because trust's the best feeling in the world.

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