Fan The Fame – Anna Priemaza – HarperTeen – Published 20 August 2019
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.
Fan The Fame is a relatable novel about responsibility, doing and saying the right thing and speaking up – or choosing not to. With three distinct character perspectives and voices, this is a clever and thought-provoking novel.
Lainey: not much into gaming. Her brother is a huge YouTube star and she can’t quite understand why so many people subscribe to his videos when he so racist, sexist and rude. Working for Cody, aka Codemeister, this summer means carting around his video gear at the gaming conference and seeing his jerkiness up close.
ShadowWillow: an up and coming successful, and very good, female gamer and streamer. When her fans start shipping her with Codemeister, she knows joining someone so famous would really up her subscriber numbers.
SamTheBrave: young gamer with not many subscribers, but hilarious jokes. Feels like the gaming world is the one place he might actually belong. Also wants to get the attention of Codemeister at the conference.
Set the in the world of gaming, streaming and social media, Fan The Fame provides three perspectives: the sister of a famous gamer and streamer, a young gamer, and a female gamer. Each have a unique voice and different story to tell. Each collide at the convention. Each have chapters written from their perspective that rotate throughout the course of the novel. I really appreciated how different each of the characters and their voices were. Anna Priemaza does a great job of making them individuals with different views and ideals. And the novel isn’t about them all getting on the same page or coming to the same conclusions. They might not agree at the start of the book and they don’t necessarily agree at the end of the book, but each character’s growth is undeniable. I also liked that while there is some romance in the story, another character decides to put other things above following a possibility for love.
I use the word relatable in my reviews a lot as I think the reader (especially teens and young adults, as the key target audience) should be able to relate to honest, true-to-life characters. And I think this is something that is done excellently in Fan The Fame. Lainey is one of those people who see all the unequal, unfair things in life and wants to fix it. But while she has some blind spots of her own, she is open (kind of) to changing herself as well as the people around her. I think the author did a superb job of finding that fine line between someone who is critical and judgmental and someone who just wants to make a difference. Shadow is an interesting character. Her desire for success and fame drives her but she also has a desire to treat people in the right way. Sam is my favourite character from Fan The Fame. I loved his bravery in the face of fear. Loved the way he starts to accept himself and let others accept him. His OCD skin picking disorder was something new to me and something I thought was a really great addition to the story.
Fan The Fame is a wonderfully written and very interesting story that asks the question about responsibility and what part everyone, especially those in the public eye, have to do and say the ‘right’ things.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Gaming, streaming, social media, bullying, abuse, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, gender inequality, gaming conventions, siblings, romance, friendship.
Reading age guide: Ages 13/14 and up.
Advisory: Frequent sexual references, some of which are crude, derogatory and inappropriate, including references to statutory rape. Infrequent coarse language, sl** (9), as***** (1), di** (23).
Published: 20 August 2019 by HarperTeen.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 352 pages.