Author: Hannah Moskowitz, Kat Helgeson
Published: expected April 5 2016
Source: publishers via NetGalley
The story follows the unlikely friendship of two young women forged via fan fiction and message boards, and is told entirely in texts, chats, and blog posts.
Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena’s romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie. But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn’s online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual “real” lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.
Not since Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl have I read a novel that so completely gets what it is like to be caught up in an internet fandom. But that's not all that Gena/Finn has to offer in its 350ish pages of humor, wit, and authenticity. It captured the spirit of intense fandoms (hellloooo SPN! and online messageboards!), but also the emotions of authentic friendships, and the feeling of real people with flaws and personality that struggle and evolve and connect. It's a book verges on the edge of YA and NA, but this coauthored story of female friendship is one that holds appeal for all ages of reader. I want my mom to read it, I want my husband to read it, I want my teenage second cousin to read it.
I had a lot of feelings when I was reading this novel. It's easy to feel a lot while reading this because the two authors craft such real and believable characters. Gena and Finn come to life in a way that only a few characters truly do. Even though their relationship is mainly text-based, it's so real and true for both of them. Their connection to one another is recognizable, no matter what they bonded over. (Also, this tv show sounds hilarious and is so obviously a mix of Supernatural and a few others and I must see it somehow.) They both, though different, encourage sympathy, empathy, and investment in their lives quickly and easily.
The book's plot covers a lot of ground, especially for the short period of time that takes place. There are darker moments to the story but the book's authors are careful not to overwhelm the plot with unnecessary drama or filler. The tension and issues of the relationship between Finn and Gena come to the fore naturally and make the outcome of the story really hard to predict. This is a book that made me want to read the end because I was so invested and scared of how wrecked it was going to leave me after 350 pages of intense feeeeels.
Gena/Finn is a great book for fans of the contemporary genre. It's got humor and heart; banter and genuine emotion. The issues that I had were small and easily forgotten as the story moves along and the characters moved into my heart and memory. I finished this book emotionally exhausted but with that special thrill that comes from reading an original and really good book.