Author: Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication date: April 5, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT (Lesbian & Bisexual MCs)
Source: ARC from my TBTB Secret Santa
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.
Where do I start with this one? Gena (pronounced Jenna) and Finn tells the story of a friendship, told through text messages, emails, and blog posts, which makes it for a quick read. I absolutely LOVED this book until three quarters of the way through the book, when things took a turn. I was expecting a fluffy friendship and maybe love story, and while the first half of the book was just that, that isn’t what we got in the second half. The book took a dark turn really quickly and unexpectedly.
I really hated the way it ended. I felt let down after I got so invested in Gena and Finn’s friendship and relationship. Everything was going great until it suddenly wasn’t anymore. Knowing now how it ended, I wish there had been more of Charlie’s character throughout the book. He was an important part of the last 50ish pages of the book, and I probably would have enjoyed the ending more if the author had shown us more of his personality and POV throughout. I wasn’t invested in him as a character at all because we’d been told so little about him. He was barely even a side character, just someone mentioned here and there. For him to play such an important role in the end of the book when he hadn’t been present at all previously left me a little bored and disconnected.
It’s hard for me to review this book without being very vague and spoilery, because the major events that happened in the second half of the book are exactly why I rated the book overall three stars. I think the first half of the book was a 5 star read, and the second half/three quarters was more like 2 stars.
About the Authors
Hannah Moskowitz wrote her first story, about a kitten named Lilly on the run from cat hunters, for a contest when she was seven years old. She was disqualified for violence. Her first book, BREAK, was on the ALA’s 2010 list of Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, and her book GONE, GONE, GONE won a Stonewall Honor in 2013. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2013, and now lives in New York City.
Kat Helgeson is a Chicago-based author of novels for young adults. She is a 1980’s cake walk champion and claims a career total of 2 points scored during regulation basketball, and she’s undefeated at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. Having retired from the circus at age fourteen, she now creates content for social media channels by day and writes by night. Kat lives with her husband, her dog, and a healthy preoccupation with fictional characters.