The Prince and the Pauper has never been one of my favorite fairy tales to be retold – adaptations are often over the top and not very believable. However, when I found out that the second book in the Once Upon a Con series, The Princess and the Fangirl, I was excited to see how Ashley Poston would tackle the tale.
The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.
Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.
When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.
Ashley Poston has quickly become one of my favorite authors – I’m slowly working through her bibliography. Her books are top notch – her writing is top tier, the plot is always fun, and the pacing is always strong. Her writing in the Once Upon a Con is chock full of nerdy references and odes to nerd culture.
Imogen was a fangirl of the Starfield series – to the point of near obsession. She was also staunchly against the decision in the most recent Starfield movie to kill off an iconic character (Princess Amara) and believed it was a prime example of fridging. Jessica, on the other hand, was the actress who played the recently deceased Princess Amara in the Starfield movies. She resented her recent fame from the movies, and the harassment and pressure that accompanied it. Through a series of hijinks, they end up switching places.
Imogen and Jessica’s switch drove both of them to grow and see life from another perspective. For Jessica, that meant finding the positivity in her recent fame (and how to use it for good) and learning how to let other people in. For Imogen, it meant learning that not everything is black and white and learning how to see life from someone else’s point of view. Both characters were great but I especially loved Jessica’s character arc. In the beginning she was basically a fortress (and a bit of a diva) and by the end she was friendly, had learned to let people in, and had found love for herself.
The Princess and the Fangirl is a worthy follow up to Geekerella – it features the same love for nerd culture and the same reverence for the fictional series Starfield. Even better, this book gives you two love stories for the price of one. What could be better? If you want other nerdy romance books, check out Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell or Tweet Cute by Emma Lord. 5/5