I loved reading Priemaza’s debut Kat and Meg Conquer the World back in 2017 and have been anxiously waiting for Fan the Flame.
And wow–Priemaza brings all the geeky goodness with some familiar names (remember LumberLegs?) but fresh new stories. We have three protagonists and they’re at a gaming convention, and throughout the story, each protagonist grows and learns something about themselves.
I love how Priemaza makes her stories relatable and real and very 2019 while also writing really great coming-of-age story arcs for her characters. This is also #OwnVoices for dermatillomania for one of the main points of views, in case you didn’t know.
It’s also perfect for fans of her debut and books like Eliza and Her Monsters or Queens of Geek.
Fresh, fun, and full of her trademark geekiness, Fan the Fame is another kick-ass story about three teens from different walks of life growing and finding themselves while at a convention.
The growth in character for all three protagonists was really good.
I saw what Priemaza was doing with Lainey’s story ARC (which, if I had to decide which the main was, it would be hers) but it took me a little longer to understand what she was doing with ShadowWillow and Sam. But ultimately, I think the way all the storylines played out was really nice, and the overlaps were there.
It’s definitely not as focused on the ties in between the points of view as Kat and Meg Conquer the World was, but more about following each individual storyline. So not as much of a friendship + overlapping of point of views, and more about these three teens at a convention where they all discover things about themselves.
Lainey’s was my favorite for the majority–she struggles with her brother, who is a famous gamer, and his crass comments, while also falling in like with LumberLegs during the convention.
But Sam came out as an unexpected underdog by the end because we get to see him and his dermatillomania, as well see him make friends and learn through failure in certain goals.
I definitely wasn’t sure where ShadowWillow’s storyline was going to go and it was my least favorite in the end, but it was still pretty solid. I wish we got more development on her side because even though it felt like she had goals in becoming a more popular gamer, I don’t think we got to see enough of the emotional aspect of her story and how her goals might change. (I guess I don’t also agree with how she really sought popularity and thought this could have been addressed more.)
But overall, the three storylines were solid and had some overlaps, but ultimately wasn’t as tied as Kat and Meg Conquer the World (which is totally fine! A different type of story.)
There’s actually a bunch of commentary on approaching activism, which I didn’t expect.
One of my favorite dynamics was between Lainey and LumberLegs because they had a lot of interesting conversations on how to go about activism. I definitely wasn’t expecting this, but a huge part of Lainey’s conflict was trying to deal with her brother who makes a lot of racist, sexist, and generally crude comments.
Lainey and her desired form of activism isn’t perfect, and neither was LumberLegs. I don’t want to spoil it for y’all, but this contrast and journey was something I don’t see explored a lot, and I liked that.
It’s definitely pretty White™ of a conversation, in all honesty. But I could see Priemaza making efforts to acknowledge racism (specifically when talking about a panel of Girl Power gamers). I wouldn’t call it intersectional on that front, but I liked the effort and the conversations about approaching activism and calling things out were still interesting.
ALSO. GEEKINESS. LOVE IT.
This is definitely one of my favorite things about Priemaza’s books: they’re super geeky and real and relatable. I’m definitely not a gamer, but I still love how she showed fandom culture in general. It was super fun and modern and something I wish we got to see more of in YA lit.
From new content creators to growing ones to people who don’t even like gaming, we got to see a lot of facets of fandom, which was really fun. I love that Priemaza ultimately shows fandom and gaming in a positive light while still revealing that it has its flaws.
Overall, I totally loved & it’s very signature Anna Priemaza.
I love Anna Priemaza’s books for all the geeky goodness, and this was no exception! Fan the Flame might not have been perfect, but it was a fast and fun read with storylines I loved. I’d definitely recommend for anyone who wants more geeky fun and maybe some underdogs too.
I can’t wait to see what Priemaza writes next, and I hope it’s in this world!
Lainey’s getting paid good money to spend her spring break filming for her brother’s YouTube channel Codemeister, and it’d be a perfect job except for the fact that he’s a sexist jerk behind closed doors.
SamTheBrave came to the con to meet Codemeister, which will hopefully give Sam the big break he needs, despite his Opa insisting that electronics are bad and useless.
ShadowWillow is a successful streamer, but making it big as a girl gamer is hard. And when her fans start shipping her with Codemeister, Shadow concocts a plan to use those rumors to her advantage.
At the con, their lives will collide and they might just discover what it means to have followers, fame, and how to fight for what’s right.
Thank you so much to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!