Release date: June 7th 2016
College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life… So, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.
Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinaire, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a campaign to ignite the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her mother’s disapproval, and her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to figure out what she really wants.
I was a bit nervous going into this book with how fangirls and fandoms would be portrayed. If it was too over-the-top it might seem like it was mocking fandom but too tame might not capture their passion. I thought Danika Stone did a great job capturing the balance between the fans who express their passion for everyone to see and hear and the ones who do it more internally, and she did it without making it seem like one way was better than the other.
Liv was a pretty easy character to relate to. She was definitely way more into fandom than I am but the way she felt about the Starveil franchise was the same way I feel about my books in general. Starveil got her through tough times, connected her with friends, made her feel like she was a part of something. It was such a huge part of her life that she couldn’t accept the death of the main character so she launched a campaign to bring fans together under #SpartanSurvived. It was reminiscent of fan campaigns like sending Mars bars or Tabasco sauce to executives to save a favourite TV show. Sometimes it works, a lot of the time it doesn’t. Thankfully for Liv, her campaign took off and almost became its own character.
The friendship between Liv and Xander, her only in-person friend, was perfection. They just fit. Both were so quirky and passionate about their fandoms and what they wanted to do with their lives. They supported each other even if they didn’t fully understand the pull of each other’s fandoms. I went back and forth between wanting them to hook up and wanting them to stay friends.
I liked that the book included character who just didn’t get it, like Liv’s mom who thought her daughter was wasting her time and potential by creating Starveil videos and not doing homework. It was also great that Danika Stone included Liv meeting some of her online fandom friends and them being completely different from how she pictured them.
It was a quick and fun read and all the added conversations through text messages and twitter helped add to the overall online fandom feel of the book.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.