For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare.
Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.
Alice Oseman gets me. Like, she seriously gets me. Between I Was Born For This and Radio Silence, it’s like Alice is just picking apart pieces of my life and weaving them into her books.
And by that, I don’t mean that the characters have all the same interests, quirks, experiences as me, but the way they’re written is just so perfectly relatable to me that that doesn’t matter, and I can immediately identify with every character.
I’ve never been in band fandom. The fandoms I belong(ed) to are mostly TV, film, and books, so some aspects were applicable such as the fanfiction and headcannons and blogs, but I’ve never been a really huge part of the real-life people side of fandom. Therefore, I can’t speak for how that is handled (though I’ve heard from many others that it’s accurate) but I did really love what I Was Born For This had to say about fandom culture as a whole.
there’s an extremely high percentage of LGBT+ people in fandom, particularly queer girls, usually because it’s a much more diverse and accepting space than real life,
I loved the comment on the distinctions of love and obsession and idealisation, and about how your own self-worth plays into all of that. Now of course, this doesn’t give a comprehensive representation of everyone in fandoms because:
- That’s impossible.
- No one claims to know that.
- The book itself critiques the idea of treating all fans as a monolith.
There are also commentaries on fandom in this book that I didn’t necessarily agree with because it didn’t align with my own experience, but the book gives such a wide range of interpretations from each character’s perspective that, for me, it didn’t feel like one view was being shoved down my throat.
The characters are honestly so endearing, and so real. The story is split between Angel/Fereshteh’s perspective and Jimmy’s and I loved both equally. Their internal monologues are relatable and insightful, but I have to say that I adored their interactions with the other characters that bit more.
Dialogue really is Alice Oseman’s strong point for me, and I can literally see every conversation or snark-session the characters had with each other mirrored in my favourites conversations with my friends. I was talking to the wonderful Lia over at Lost In A Story about this book as we both read it at the same time and we both said that we were just constantly smiling throughout each interaction.
‘just in a friend way. But … I don’t think that’s any less special.’
The characters themselves are also extremely diverse, which was brilliant to read. Fereshteh is a hijabi Muslim whose romantic/sexual orientation isn’t explicitly stated:
Even though I probably would go out with a girl, but I don’t really ever get crushes on anyone, so I just don’t know what I am right now, to be honest.
I loved this little snippet. It isn’t expanded upon any further but I personally really like that. It resonated with a lot of my experiences.
As for the band members: Rowan is black, Lister is bisexual, and Jimmy is Indian/Italian, transgender, and gay. Bliss is Chinese/British and bisexual.
I can’t speak for a lot of this representation but the inclusion of it was so seamless and tackled a lot of deep issues such as Jimmy’s anxiety and experience of being trans, as well as alcoholism and general ‘where the hell am I going with my life?’ fears.
I cared about each and every one of these characters, and found myself almost squealing when their paths intertwined. It was weird experience, almost fangirling over a book about a fangirl… fangirling? It’s the first book that I’ve stayed up late to finish in a long, long time.
I Was Born For This is an easy, feel-good, heartbreaking (at times), diverse, intriguing commentary on fandom and the pressures of fame, and ultimately one I would totally recommend.
In an otherwise mediocre existence, we choose to feel passion.
Trigger warnings: panic attacks, family death, alcoholism, transphobia, blood, possible eating disorders, and suicidal ideation.
Have you read I Was Born For This? I would absolutely love to chat to you about it because I’m not exaggerating when I say I loved this book.
Until the next one,