There are no spoilers in this review.
I discovered Alice Oseman years ago, when she first published her debut novel, Solitaire. I really enjoyed it and obviously had to read her sophomore novel, Radio Silence, which I loved. I still don’t know how I got lucky enough to read I Was Born For This, but damn. If there is something I can say about Alice Oseman, it’s that she is one of my favorite authors of all times and each of her books just got better and better. If you don’t know her, this book or anything about it just yet, read on and add everything to your TBR, you won’t regret it.
A STORY ABOUT BOYS BANDS AND FANDOM
Slowly, but surely, I have realized that I appreciate stories dealing with celebrities and fandom a whole lot. Who has never dreamed of being on the other side, seeing what celebrities actually feel like? Who has never fan-girled over a celebrity or a boys-band for ages, dreaming of meeting them. I know I had these kind of moments in my life and I did some crazy things to see my favorite boys band of all times as well. All of this to say, this book is a love letter and an incredibly realistic portray of fandom and what it means to be in a fandom, what it means to love something this much and how it can, sometimes, turn your thoughts and life completely upside down. Alice Oseman GETS THIS. .
INCREDIBLE & DIVERSE CHARACTERS
In I Was Born For This, we get two sides of one story. First, we have Angel, she is a part of the Ark fandom, an incredibly famous boys-band on its way to conquer the United States. BIG DEAL. Second, we have Jimmy, one part of the three-boys making the Ark. Each character, with the story they tell, are showing us a completely different side of the fandom. We get the pretty glitters, the beautiful, flawless boys, the speculations and rumors on the one side ; while we get the harsh reality, the pressure, the anxiety and panic attacks induced by being part of such an intense, uncontrollable experience, at times. .
Both characters in this story were brilliant, endearing and utterly relatable and oh, so diverse as well. Angel was such a wonderful main character and I immediately connected with her, not only because of her being part of a fandom, but on how she felt about everything, how her life, her purpose, everything somehow, at the time, felt linked to a boys-band. She was incredibly sweet, endearing, complex and I just loved her. Also, if I can’t personally speak on the representation in this book, Angel is Muslim (her real name is Fereshteh, even if she is referred to as her “fandom” name during the book, that’s mentioned, too) and it’s part of the story, too, she wears a hijab and says her prayers in the story and I appreciated seeing this diversity so much.
The second main character of this story is Jimmy, one of the boys from the boys-band The Ark. With his story, we get to see the intense pressure of being in a boys-band and a bit of the less glamorous side of this kind of life, too. Let’s be honest here, I just wanted to hug Jimmy all along. If, once again, I can’t speak on the representation in this book, Jimmy is a mixed-race trans boy and once again, seeing that diversity in a main character of a story was great. He’s also dealing with anxiety and panic attacks and, on that, I can say that the representation was A+.
We also have other amazing diverse characters in this book, we have two bisexual characters, mixed-race characters and just beautiful diversity overall that made me really happy.
What makes I Was Born For This really brilliant is that, in a contemporary story that is not meant, unlike suspense, thrillers or mystery books, to be addictive and unstoppable, well…. I could NOT stop reading that damn book, because it was so addictive. I quickly got attached to the characters and their stories and I was compelled to read this day and night and all the time. They were just so complex, flawed, fascinating and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next to my babies and there, there you got the 5-stars read.
The relationships between everyone were brilliant and not sugar-coated at any times. From Juliet and Angel, meeting for the first time after being internet friends for so long, to Jimmy and his friends and, well, colleagues from the boys-band Rowan and Lister, to Jimmy and his adorable relationship with his grandfather. I just loved everything about it.
I just honestly don’t know what more I could say here, or maybe I know, but it’s already way too long and I should stop here. I just want you to know that I Was Born For This is a book I loved with all of my heart and you should, too. It’s brilliant, diverse, compelling, with amazing characters. It’s about celebrities, boys-band, being part of something as big, as life-sucking and as amazing as a fandom, it’s about being that celebrity, having people loving you without actually knowing you, about the pressure to make people happy when you are not. I don’t know, it’s just a whole bunch of love and I just loved this way too much and go read it okay please, thank you very much.
Buddy-read this with the amazing Marta @ The Cursed Books, check out her review too!
Final rating: A HURRICANE OF FEELINGS OKAY
A million thanks to Harper Collins UK for sending me a review copy of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts or rating of this.
Trigger warnings: panic attacks, injury.
Alice Oseman, I Was Born For This, Published by Harper Collins Children’s Books, May 3rd, 2018.
For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare.
Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.
Did you read I Was Born For This? Do you want to? Did you read any of Alice Oseman’s books?
Do you like stories dealing with fandom and celebrities? Let me know in comments!