Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson

Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson

Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website (Moskowitz) Website (Helgeson)

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.

While I hadn't heard of Kat Helgeson before, as this is her first novel, I've heard tons about Hannah Moskowitz. I was lucky enough to meet her at ALA 2013, and she was super sweet and awesome! It's pretty sad that I haven't read any of her books until now. Gena/Finn was amazing–I loved this one so much. I didn't expect it to be as heartbreaking as it was. There were several funny moments for sure, but there was also a whole lot of raw emotion and pain.

The format for this book was BRILLIANT. Emails, texts, journal posts, sticky notes, drawings...there was so much in this book and it made reading it super interesting. I really love it when books have quirky or out-of-the-norm layouts and the originality of this one stuck with me long after. More books should seriously do this–it makes reading a more visual experience as well!

The characters in this book were a little older than in a typical young adult book, but I wouldn't call this a new adult novel. It definitely still has a YA feel to it. Anyway, I ended up liking Gena more than Finn, but I have no idea why. It can't be age, since I'm right in between 18 and 22! Although...I have been 18, and I know what that feels like, but I don't know what the 22 experience is, so maybe that's it? Anyway, it also might be the way they come off. Gena seemed like she had a lot more of a personality, which is probably why I clicked a lot more with her character. Not to say that Finn was a bad character. Heck no. What I liked about both characters was that there were so many layers to them. Despite this format, which doesn't give us a clear-cut first person perspective on the story, we learn so much about them through their interactions with each other, with people around them, and with themselves. 

I will freely admit this: I'm not a fan of fanfic. I totally love that people can create stories about characters and worlds we all love, but somehow I just never got into it. But that totally didn't hinder how much I enjoyed this story. It was interesting to how the whole "fandom" thing actually worked, since I claim to be in fandoms, but I'm like...low-key in them. To find fans so devoted to a everything about a show is definitely beyond anything I've fangirled about.

Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. Definitely not one to miss this year! Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson's collaborative novel Gena/Finn is quirky, poignant and exceedingly excellent. A gorgeous format, two fangirls, a blooming romance–what's not to like?

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Lara at Chronicle Books for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ ▪

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  1. I've always been a fan of this kind of story telling, and it sounds like an important read, too!

  2. It's always good when something unexpected blows you away. I don't do fanfics either, but heck a good read is a good read :)

  3. The format sounds really interesting! I'm not a huge fan of that type of storytelling, but I do like to see how an author (or authors) pulls it off. I've seen this book around but somehow it never intrigued me! I'm not a YA contemporary person. I'm very glad you enjoyed this book, Rabiah! Wonderful review. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!


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