YA Friday: Fansplaining

The Art of the Fan Convention

As you read this, I am currently at the San Diego Comic-Con. I am possibly traipsing around the exhibit floor gathering up freebies and photographing cosplayers, or more than likely, am stuck waiting in line for you name it: panel, autograph, exclusive merch, etc. The thing I like most about conventions like the one in San Diego is that it is a gathering of everything in pop culture and geek lore that you could love, and all you're surrounded by all the people who love those same things, too.

What was once this niche little gathering of comic fans has since expanded in to a seismic commercial event. Comic book superheros are household names. Star Wars and Star Trek references are mainstream. Geek culture is now popular culture. And being part of a community of people who love the same things is just icing on the geeky cake. That belonging to a community of people who have been shaped, healed, or changed by the same thing is what fandom is all about.

Everybody is involved in a fandom, whether they refer to it as such or not. Whether its comics, Harry Potter, boy bands, sports, or television shows, we've all got something we're so totally in love with that it borders on obsession. And YA authors have been looking to fandom for their inspiration in the last couple of years. Please enjoy these YA books listed below that all celebrate what it means to be a fan, to belong to a group of people who adore the same thing, and will do absolutely anything to honor it.

Fans of Fandom

The Fandom book cover

The Fandom by Anna Day

Violet's in her element, cosplay at the ready, she can't wait to feel part of her favorite fandom: "The Gallow's Dance," a mega-story and movie franchise. But at Comic Con, a freak accident transports Violet and her friends into the "The Gallows Dance" for real, and in the first five minutes, they've caused the death of the heroine. It's up to Violet to take her place, and play out the plot the way it was written. But stories have a life of their own...

The Pros of Cons book cover

The Pros of Cons by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, and Michelle Schusterman

Callie, Vanessa, and Phoebe are staying at the same hotel but attending three different conventions. Callie is hoping to have quality time with her father at the World Taxidermy Championships as his assistant, but when she discovers a big secret he's been hiding, their relationship is in jeopardy. Vanessa is geeking out at the We Treasure Fandom convention (WTFcon), where she will meet her online girlfriend and fanfiction coauthor Soleil in person for the first time. Phoebe is hoping to beat the competition at the Indoor Percussion Association convention, but keeps getting distracted by her cute band mate Scott and former best friend Christina. When the three teenagers meet because of a mix-up in the hotel lobby, they form a fast and strong friendship.

Don't Cosplay with my Heart book cover

Don't Cosplay with My Heart by Cecil Castellucci

Edan Kupferman's life is coming apart: her father is being "sequestered" because the company he works for in Hollywood is in legal trouble, her best friend is in Japan for the summer, and the boy she has a crush on is just plain confusing, so she escapes into the world of comics, and her favorite character, Gargantua. But when Kirk, a boy from her high school, gets her into the sold out ComicCon it starts to look like she might, with a little help, be able to take control of her life after all.

Chaotic Good book cover

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner

Cameron wants only to complete her costume portfolio in peace, but when a trip to the local comic shop results in a hostile reception from a male employee, she returns disguised as a boy at her twin brother's suggestion and finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign.

Ship It book cover

Ship It by Britta Lundin

Told from two viewpoints, Forest, a television actor who needs more fans, and Claire, a teen fan fiction blogger, are teamed to raise his profile despite their disagreement over whether his character is gay.

The Only Thing Wore Than Me is You book cover

The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson

After years of competing against each other, Trixie and Ben form a fandom-based tentative friendship when their best friends start dating each other, but after Trixie's friend gets expelled for cheating they have to choose which side they are on.

Further Reading

The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love book coverQueens of Geek book coverScarlett Epstein Hates It Here book coverEliza and Her Monsters book coverAll the Feels book coverGeekerella book cover