Fan the Fame by Anna Priemaza
Equal parts Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Jennifer Mathieu’s Moxie, this fiercely crafted, feminist YA novel takes on fandom, accountability, and doing the right thing. Even when it hurts.
Lainey wouldn’t mind lugging a camera around a video game convention for her brother, aka YouTube superstar Codemeister, except for one big problem. He’s funny and charming online, but behind closed doors, Cody is a sexist jerk.
SamTheBrave came to this year’s con with one mission: meeting Codemeister—because getting his idol’s attention could be the big break Sam needs.
ShadowWillow is already a successful streamer. But when her fans start shipping her with Code, Shadow concocts a plan to turn the rumors to her advantage.
The three teens’ paths collide when Lainey records one of Cody’s hateful rants on video. Because she’s determined to spill the truth to her brother’s fans—even if that means putting Sam and Shadow in the crosshairs.
Told through three relatable voices and arriving on the heels of the author’s widely praised debut novel, Kat and Meg Conquer the World, this sophomore novel is a nuanced and timely story about followers, fame, and fighting for what’s right.
I knew I had to request Fan the Fame since I loved Kat and Meg Conquer the World. Sadly, I didn’t love this one as much, but it was still really good.
I know very little about cons and even less about gaming. I had no idea that there are gaming youtubers that are so popular. It does make sense since we see things like this for comics, books, tv shows, and other fandoms. The majority of the book takes place at one con in Canada. There is a very popular gaming group that are going to be there. Everyone loves them, especially, Code.
There are 3 points of view in the book, but a focus on quite a few other characters, too. I won’t be able to name all of them, but I’ll talk a little bit about some of them below.
My least favorite POV was Lainey. She’s Code’s sister and works for him. I loved how she wanted to make people like Code better, but she handled things poorly pretty often. Code is not the person people online think he is. Lainey calls him out on the terrible things he says, but he just fights with her. Their mom basically takes his side. Lainey finds out that a couple of his friends have tried to talk to him, but nothing works. After hearing him joke about a young girl who he’d sleep with, Lainey has had enough. She comes up with a plan to bring her brother down. She figures that if his fans see who he really is, they will leave. If he loses what he cares most about, maybe he will change.
Lainey is close to Legs. He’s one of her brother’s group, but he’s more isolated. Lainey notices that he’s sad and talks to him about why. His best friend decided he couldn’t be friends with Legs anymore. His best friend is gay. Legs made a new friend who made some homophobic comments. His best friend decided that he can’t be friends with Legs if he’s friend with this other guy. Legs is a good person. He tries to see the best in everyone. He is working on helping his new friend see how harmful things are that he says. Legs helps Lainey a lot. While she is more impulsive, Legs thinks of things from both sides. He asks her how what she’s doing will effect everyone, not just Code. He wants her to do good things for everyone.
“Will it make some worlds better?”
It’s a weird question, but I know what he means. This earth can sometimes feel like it’s full of a million worlds-good ones and bad ones and kind ones and corrupt ones and complex ones and hateful ones and beautiful ones-all coexisting in the same country, the same city, the came community, the same family.
ShadowWillow is another pov. She’s the rare girl in the gamer world that got invited to be on a panel at a con. ShadowWillow wants to grow her following. She wants to prove that girls belong, too. Her fan count went up when she did a video with Code. They started shipping them together. So Shadow decides that she needs Code’s help. She will use him if she needs to, just to get her following. Shadow deals with all the crappy comments and people following her to see her boobs. She tries to ignore these things, but she sees clearly how much harder it is for a girl in this world.
Code is obviously the icky person of the book. People love him. He has millions of followers. But he’s also a total dick. Code has sex with girls and then ignores them. He says sexist things all the time. He says something extremely racist during the con, but not in front of his fans. He’s self centered and full of himself. And he says horrible things about his fans behind their backs. I couldn’t find anything positive about him at all.
SamtheBrave was by far my favorite pov and character in the book. Sam is a young gamer with a very small following. He’s heavy and has a skin picking disorder that he can’t seem to control. He’s bullied and has no friends. So gaming is pretty much his life. Even his own grandpa is a bully to him in ways. Sam is excited to go to the con. He wants to give Code his channel with the hopes that he may mention him. All it takes is a mention from a big gamer and more people will follow him. While Sam sees that his hero is a horrible person, he also learned a lot at the con. Sam made two friends. People that liked him for who he was. People that didn’t tell him that he was gross for picking his skin. People that were outcasts like him. It was something he never expected, but it made him feel better and his confidence grew, even if it was just for moments. Sam was sweet and a bit naive, but he was smart and had a good heart. He just wanted a safe place where he fit in.
Overall, I really did like the book. There were some funny moments, but I also liked some of the points that the book highlighted. Especially bullying, the skin disorder, and how girls are treated.
I gave this book 4 stars. Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for my copy for review. Quote taken from arc, so it may change before final printing.
Have you read Fan the Fame? Is it on your TBR?