Stranger Than Fanfiction is a book for which the synopsis really doesn’t do the story much justice. True, the book is about teen celebrity and four graduating high school friends going on a road trip. We find out almost immediately that 3 out of the 4 friends have huge secrets. One is gay and going to an extremely conservative college. One is trans and can’t admit it to his family or friends or the guy who she(he) knows has a crush on her(him). And the third wants to attend a different college than her father is making her go to. This is all so that she can pursue what he views as a “good” career when what she really wants to do is become a writer.
I very much liked the idea of the road trip theme, as well as a celebrity peer randomly joining a group of his fans who were best friends all for the fun. Sounds like a good book, right? Well, turns out the celebrity has his own secret, is rather an asshole, and the friends are all pretty flat characters and nothing exciting happens. EVER. Until the very, very end.
Honestly, the final 40 pages all of a sudden are the only redeemable part of the book. My ears perked up, and I even shed a couple of tears! After considering not finishing the book a couple of times along the way, I finally found a reason to finish the book, however unreasonable the out-of-nowhere ending seemed!! I liked the twist and it finally brought the entire book together in a way I thought it needed.
So overall, yes, this book has characters who are LGTBQA+, but does it really discuss these issues in ways that are really important or shed light on the topic in interesting ways? Unfortunately not. I didn’t feel that I really connected with the characters at all, and I hated that I never felt that I had any idea what the show that the characters were always talking about being fans of, Whiz Kids, was about. It ended up just being an annoying, constant reference. Sorry Chris Colfer, this book wasn’t for me.
Side note: speaking of Chris Colfer…just FYI, yes, Chris Colfer the author is the same as Chris Colfer the Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor best-known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on the FOX television series “Glee”!! I absolutely did not realize that until after I read the book and was writing my review! It, unfortunately, doesn’t change my opinion, but I do find it fascinating and now I have to connect the “Glee” soundtrack to this book!
Book Soundtrack: “Seasons of Love” by Glee Cast