I wasn’t intending to review this book, but two weeks after I’ve read it bits of it are still ruminating around in my head. First, thank you to Faintingviolet for sending me a copy. I really did enjoy the book, it’s just a really sweet little novella.
The plot is pretty simple. Elena decides she’s going to fully participate in Geek Culture and wait in line for the latest Star Wars movie. When she gets there she find that, oops, there are only two other people. What follows is a rumination on what it means to be a fan of something and how different people interact with media properties in different ways.
For me, the most interesting thing was how the culture of waiting in line for movies has been eclipsed by technology, which is why Elena’s line never surpasses three people. People used to wait in line in order to guarantee a ticket, I remember pretty clearly how huge the lines for The Phantom Menace were. But on-line purchasing has made that wait a thing of the past. In fact, each character we meet in the line has already purchased their ticket. They’re in the line because they feel a need to connect to other, and to tell the world by this wait just how much the Star Wars franchise means to them. In a way, this book is a love story to a dying piece of geek culture.
The other thing I really liked was how Elena was slowly revealed. We meet her as a Star Wars fan first and only. I mean, she’s going to wait in a line, and when she finds out it’s not what she’s expecting she still sticks around, because Star Wars. Then as she interacts with the other characters we realize she’s part of a more popular clique in school and that she’s of mixed racial heritage. Add in the girl thing and she in many ways defies what people expect geeks to be. And yet, she is a geek. And for me, I think that’s a really important statement. It’s one of my favorite things about the book.
Basically, yes I think you should read this. And I’m glad I read it because it’s the first Rainbow Rowell book I’ve read and now I’m going to start seeking out her other novels. So yay on all accounts.