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What: Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson

Who: Chronicle Books LLC

When: April 5th 2016

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Chronicle Books for review via Edelweiss.

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.

4cats2Gena/Finn is the story of two girls who meet online via their mutual love for a TV show (called Up Below, which REALLY reminded me of Supernatural because it’s about two guys and their extreme devotion to each other and their willingness to do anything for the other – you see what I mean).

It was absolutely fucking brilliant to read about this, because I have made some of my best friends on the internet, through book blogging and fandom. And to see this portrayed in a book – to see something that is such a huge part of my life and who I am – was beautiful. Seriously. The mentions of fandom and fanfic and fanart (even though I don’t make it, I appreciate it) were like vegan chicken soup for my soul. I didn’t know how much I needed a book that wrote about that part of me until I read Gena/Finn.

Gena and Finn kind of form this extreme bond with each other, and they also kind of fall in love. And this is where a little bit of disappointment on my side came in. Because there’s this massive build-up of their relationship, and I was wondering if they were going to get together. If Finn was going to break up with her boyfriend, Charlie, to be with Gena. Because the way she referenced Gena and wrote about her were really intense. She even says she loves her. And then this ~thing~ happens, and it just … stops. Finn becomes this kind of mother/best friend figure to Gena, and the love that I thought was there between them just kind of … disappears.

Highlight for a spoiler: And, at the end, Finn says she’s going to marry Charlie, and Gena finds this super sweet guy friend that she’s kind of having romantic thoughts about. Which was disappointing as all hell.

I feel like there needed to be more exploration of their sexualities. I mean … were they both bi? Was Finn actually in love with Gena? Was Gena even in love with Finn? I know it would have been hard to REALLY explore this because of the way the story was written, but it was never touched on at all. I wanted there to be more discussion, I wanted there to be more exploration. I felt like the queer aspect of this book was kind of … not there at all, really.

But literally everything else was lovely, which is why I still adore this book, even though the queer aspect let me down. I teared up so many times, and I wanted both of these girls to get their happily ever afters. The way they cared about each other, romantic or not, was incredibly real and beautiful and heartbreaking.

I also really want to read Gena/Finn again, because my e-ARC’s formatting was royally screwed (and missing all the art), and I want to read it the way it was meant to be read.

If you’re looking for a book about fandom, how online friends can mean the world to you, and how one thing can change the course of your entire life … reader, meet Gena/Finn. Gena/Finn, meet reader.

© 2016, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning: death by fire/explosion, use of psychotropic medication (prescribed), self harm, and absent parents in this novel

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Posted on: April 6, 2016 • By: Chiara

13 Responses to Review: Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson

  1. This looks like such a great book! I won it in a giveaway so hopefully it arrives soon! Awesome review, lovely.

  2. CHIARA. Please tell me you have read Fangirl. It has all of the aspects you adore in this book – fandom! irl/internet struggle! adorable relationships (though not forged online)! And also it is about a writer who is trying to find herself, amid social anxiety + sibling issues. I truly cannot recommend it highly enough – especially if you enjoy these sorts of topics. Even the queer aspect is there (though more depicted through fanfic than through the actual characters). You’ll love it, I promise. <3

    • Chiara says:

      Darling Topaz, of COURSE I have read Fangirl! It is one of my all time favourite novels. EVER. I actually wrote a letter to it because Cath is pretty much me, in every way. But thank you for telling me about it, anyway. Because what if I hadn’t read it? <3

  3. This book looks super cute and I can’t wait to save it for a day when I feel like reading a good and fluffy contemporary! Lovely review :)

  4. OH MY GOSH THIS SOUNDS AMAZING. Shame about the absence of the queer aspects, though. That’s such a bummer. As if don’t already have enough issues with lack of representation. But stilllllll I definitely need to read this one!

  5. Nori says:

    I thought this one was super cute, and I loved how unique the format was! I actually met Hannah (one of the co-authors) at NYCC this year, and she was super sweet!

    • Chiara says:

      I would love to read this again in physical format, because a lot of the interesting format didn’t turn out so well on my eARC, which was kind of disappointing D: AH, it’s so awesome you met Hannah! I would love to meet her one day *heart eyes*

  6. Romi says:

    This actually sounds *really* interesting, until… you ge to the stage where it became less than fantastic. I WANT HAPPY ENDINGS. And I don’t know if I technically get the happy ending I would want (yes I read the spoiler), even if the characters are happy. *cries* But I’ve also probably got to read it, to know if it’s the ending I want, huh? It sounds really lovely but also bittersweet and I don’t want to be disappointed, because it sounds -really lovely and also bittersweet-

    Your review is utterly lovely, and THANK YOU SO MUCH for the trigger warning, because you know how one of those things triggers me and… I don’t know if I should read this because of that. But thank you. xx

    • Chiara says:

      I still really liked it, anyway, and it gave me a lot of ~feels~, but I just felt like the ending was kind of … not what I wanted, At all. And also the lack of exploration was a bit of a let down, as well *sigh*

      Thank you <3 And always. I can't abide by not putting trigger warning for such things, because no one should go into a book and be confronted by that. It is QUITE bad in this novel, so I'm not sure if that would be okay for you :/ <3

      • Romi says:

        I’d actually added it to my tbr, but if the self harm is pretty bad I might take it off. I don’t tend to go very well with that at all. /:

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