Sunday, November 15, 2015

Review: Gena/Finn

Gena/Finn - Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson
Expected publication: April 5, 2016 by Chronicle Books
Pages: 291
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads, Book Depository
Rating: 2/5

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.

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Petition to put "meh" in the dictionary.

To be totally honest, I haven't been dying for this. Though I like the concept, it's actually pretty ordinary. Girls who meet in a forum. Yawn. Next. I feel like it's been done before.

So when I jumped in, I had a slow start. It's formatted similar to Love, Rosie, which I absolutely loved, and Lauren Myracle's Internet Girls series. The story is broken into letters, emails, articles of fanfiction, direct IMs, and forum boards. Gena and Finn meet in the Up Below forum. As Gena writes fanfiction, she's a well-known staple in the fandom. One day, Finn decides to send her a clip of art she drew in dedication to one of Gena's stories and they fangirl over it together.

Their relationship develops quickly. Soon, Gena is telling her about her schizophrenic tendencies and Finn is detailing her relationship troubles with her almost-fiancé, Charlie.

I had many problems with this novel. It was confusing. I could hardly tell Gena and Finn apart. Their pennames were too similar. Finn treated Charlie like shit. Gena genuinely liked Finn and she ridiculously pinballed back between she and Charlie without really caring who she was hurting.

Eventually, tragedy strikes in the fandom, Gena is devastated beyond belief, so Finn and Charlie decide to welcome her into their house. Gena spends most of her days, crying. She can barely wash her hair. Finn struggles to console Gena (i.e. petting her unwashed hair, calling her beautiful) whilst stringing Charlie along by insisting nothing is going on between the two.


Everything below is pretty spoiler-y, so beware.

I genuinely felt for Gena because it seemed Finn never took her feelings into consideration. Anytime Finn wanted to rant about Charlie or college, Gena was immediately around to listen. And frankly, the portrayal of schizophrenia was garbage. The ending was a copout. Really, Gena and Finn just went back to being friends after their spiraling relationship? Really? I was disappointed.

In Love, Rosie, the whole book was full of twists and turns. There were pregnancy scares, actual pregnancies, multiple marriages, children, tears, online chatrooms, and unrequited romances. Mind you, it was formatted the same way as this book. I'm not trying to compare the two. I'm not saying Gena/Finn had to be anything similar but the only real drama happened in the end and it wasn't even significant. I seriously cannot.

Sadly, not sold on this. Disappointed in more ways than one. Next time, I'll pass.
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