What struck me most about this book is that it’s really about conspiracy theories and how they just fuel insanity like a monstrous feedback loop enabled by the Internet. Because look, I’ve been a fangirl all my life but the kind of crazy ass behavior the fans of One Direction, um, I mean, Fever Dream indulge in makes even me pause. I understand the dorky love for these cute guys you’ve never met, and I absolutely understand the adrenaline that comes from being in their presence, but there’s a lot of weird shit in this book that made me go “yo, that ain’t healthy.” The convoluted conspiracy theories that the FD fandom come up with felt invasive and dehumanizing. It’s one thing to have fantasies and write fanfic, but to jigger together snapshots of people’s lives and to present them as proof for your personal theories about said lives is borderline psycho.
Which, fortunately, is an issue that Zan Romanoff deals with well in this smart, entertaining novel about what it’s like to be a shy high schooler who really, really loves a boy band. Grace, our protagonist, runs into Jes one night and becomes more involved with the band than anything she could ever dream. Overall, it’s a well-executed book, even if I felt the coda incredibly unlikely. Sure Jes is needy, and I’m glad he and Grace part on good terms, but I do not for a second see the last chapter as anything but fan wank (for a fandom that doesn’t even exist! How delightfully but unnecessarily meta!)
Thing is, I didn’t like Grace. She’s one of those people that expects those closest to her to be psychic and find out what she wants instead of actually speaking up, which is incredibly tiresome. Her interactions with the boy band and their entourage were pretty great, but I found myself rolling my eyes at her a lot when she was talking to her mom and her actual friends. Like other people who forced themselves to outgrow self-consciousness in middle school, I don’t have a lot of compassion for people who are narcissistic enough not to, no matter how it manifests in external behaviors. Which doesn’t make her any less realistic. My opinion of her (she sucks, but she has her moments) doesn’t detract at all from what a overall solid book this is.