Release Date: 20th August 2019
Add it: Goodreads
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.
I have some mixed feelings about Fan the Fame. On the one hand, I really enjoyed both the concept and the setting. On the other, one of the main characters was almost completely insufferable, and her character arc over the course of the book was less of an arc than a straight line.
In case you don’t know, I’m on Youtube. My channel is a Booktube channel, but I also watch a lot of gaming videos and I’ve been to quite a few conventions in my time. As such, I absolutely loved this concept. I loved that the characters were all going to a gaming convention, and that two of them had Youtube channels and wanted to make it on there. I could really relate to Sam and Shadow when they were talking about working hard on growing their channels and networking. I think a lot of bloggers and Bookstagrammers would be able to relate to this as well, so it’s not just Booktubers who would enjoy this part of the book.
I really liked two of the three main characters in Fan the Fame. Sam was adorable, and I was getting quite protective over him. He’s a young gamer who wants to become a Twitch streamer, and his goal is to meet his idol and get him to watch his videos. He was really sweet, and he also had Excoriation disorder, which the author also has. It was some really good representation, and I enjoyed that a lot.
Shadow was also a great character. She was basically using the guys to get ahead on Youtube, which shed some light on how female gamers rarely rise to the top. This created a really interesting discussion, and it’s not something I’ve seen brought up much on my corner of the internet. Some people might take issue with her using the top male gamers, but really, isn’t that just networking? I liked it. I was rooting for her. And her issues within the gaming industry are also applicable to many other careers and industries.
Lainey, on the other hand, was completely insufferable throughout the novel. She wanted to change things and call out her dickhead brother, which I get, but honestly she just came across as a self-righteous cow. Her relationships with the other female characters were awful, and I hated the way they were written. She ends up really upsetting one girl, and she pretty much hated Shadow on sight. I’m sick of girls being pitted against other girls, and I’m tired of the tomboy only having guy friends trope. Some characters did call Lainey out on her behaviour, which I appreciated, but she didn’t seem to have any moments when she really realised how awful she was being.
Overall, this was an enjoyable book, and it was incredibly relatable. I totally understood all of the characters who wanted to break into Youtube and make it a career by networking and growing their subscribers and followers. It’s a shame that one of the points of view was written so poorly, because I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if Lainey had been written better!