April 29, 2019

Abbreviations #88: The Princess and the Fangirl, Don't Date Rosa Santos + Somewhere Only We Know

The Princess and the Fangirl is based on The Prince and the Pauper and set at the same convention as its predecessor, Geekerella. Readers will once again encounter two perspectives: Imogen, a Starfield fan determined to #SaveAmara by garnering enough fan and media support to bring back a fan favorite to the sequel, and Jessica, the actress playing Amara who has had just about enough of being a part of this world. When a script for the sequel starts being leaked and all signs point to Jess as the source, Jessica and Imogen (who have an uncanny resemblance) hatch a plan to switch places – Jess to investigate without interruption, Imogen to have access to a bigger platform to support her initiative. But like any story, this one isn’t without its twists and they just might find that not everything is going to go according to plan…

I was eager to read The Princess and the Fangirl after being so thoroughly charmed by Geekerella. While it didn’t necessarily end up being as lovable or memorable as its predecessor, this young adult contemporary is not without its charms. I enjoyed returning to the world of ExcelsiCon and the fandom nods, seeing a whole host of familiar faces pop up and the shenanigans that ensued after the identity switch Imogen and Jess initiate; all three of these elements made the reading experience fun for me. It was our two narrators that fell short, however, because it took entirely too long for either one to snag my investment in their situations. I was frustrated by Jess and her terrible attitude, and equally irritated by Imogen’s tendency towards denial, and while those things are addressed later in a believable, sensible way, it didn’t make my initial experiences with both of their perspectives any more tolerable. Additionally, and likely partially for this very reason, I just didn’t love their romantic entanglements the way I had loved the main romance in Geekerella. Still, even with my reservations, I flew through The Princess and the Fangirl and would ultimately deem it a fun read, whether you’re familiar with this world or completely new to it.

The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston | Series: Once Upon a Con #2 | Previous Book in Series: Geekerella | Publisher: Quirk Books | Publication Date: April 2, 2019 | Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thank you!)

Don’t Date Rosa Santos centers around Rosa, a high school senior who is also taking community college classes and who dreams of studying at a university where it will be possible to spend a semester abroad in the land her family originates from – Cuba. But making these choices isn’t so simple – there’s her grandmother’s reaction to consider, her mother’s constant habit of flitting in and out of their lives, the festival she’s helping to organize to keep their small little portside town alive and the family curse that dooms any man the Santos women love to die at sea… 

Delightful. That’s the first word that comes to mind when I consider Don’t Date Rosa Santos, followed shortly by heartwarming and cozy, and all three are accurate descriptions for this novel. I was hooked from the very beginning; I liked Rosa from the moment I met her on the page, and was immediately confident that hers was going to be a story that I would see through till the end through all of the ups and downs (and perhaps unexpected twists). Throw in Cuban culture, the small-town Florida vibes, the eclectic cast of secondary characters, complicated relationships of all sorts (including a very cute budding attraction-slash-romance) and just a hint of magic, and you’ll basically get this novel in a nutshell. It was both entertaining and emotional, and I enjoyed it! I’d definitely recommend checking this one out, particularly if you’re looking for a new YA contemporary to devour.

Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | Publication Date: May 14, 2019 | Source: e-ARC downloaded from NetGalley (Thank you!)

Maurene Goo’s latest young adult contemporary, Somewhere Only We Know, is about Lucky, a KPop star who is about to make her US debut on one of the late-night shows, and Jack, a teen on his gap year who is working part-time as a paparazzi photographer for a tabloid. When Lucky ventures out of her Hong Kong hotel room in search of a burger to satisfy her craving, she stumbles into Jack, who sees their meeting as an opportunity to change the course of his future. But as they get to know each other past their initial impressions, they just might find that their encounter will change the way they see everything about their own lives…

I’ve read three of Maurene Goo’s contemporary novels now, and this one rivals I Believe in a Thing Called Love for being the perfect source material for a fluffy, fun Korean drama. The premise (a KPop star meets a tabloid photographer and they spend an entire day together) is already just a little bit out there, and that’s reinforced further by the many moments (both funny and heartfelt) that ensue as the story goes on. It helps a lot that I enjoyed Lucky, Jack and their budding romance. However, I will admit to there being one particular thing that truly bothered me (and this is totally spoilery, so you’ll have to highlight to see what it is) - Lucky is on meds for anxiety and sleep and spends quite some time with Jack where she’s basically out of it and that situation was uncomfortable to read about and really dangerous – and it was definitely enough to make me cringe. Still, it was enjoyable the way a decent romcom film is; I was entertained, willing to let a lot of things slide in terms of believability and had just enough investment in the main characters and their romance.

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo | Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR) | Publication Date: May 7, 2019 | Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thank you!)


  1. Ooooh, I am so excited for Somewhere Only We Know!!! I love anything that has to do with a celebrity and "normal person" encounter, like Geekerella! (I think the spoiler part isn't hidden, btw! I'm not 100% sure and don't want to check, in case I read it again 😅)


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