Summary: For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare.
Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.
Review: Angel drew me into her story immediately. The love of The Ark is important, but there’s another layer to the story. Angel is staying with an online friend in London to meet this band. Anyone who has ever connected with people online and had that first meeting in real life can relate to her situation. The ability to find your people, to find the others in this world who share your passions, is what I love most about the Internet. Young and old from all over the world have found a way to meet those people who are weird in the same ways. And those meetings in real life are filled with excitement and often a bit of nervousness. Will it be the same? Will the relationship work in person? Angel and her friend Juliet have bonded online over the band The Ark, but finally meeting each other has it’s risks. Angel and Juliet click immediately, but the longer they are together, the more complicated their relationship seems.
The clash between fantasy and reality is a consistent theme throughout the book. The Ark is Angel’s reason for waking up each day. They bring her joy and elevate a day from mediocre and humdrum to a day filled with hope, excitement, and passion. The problem is that her idea of who these teenage boys are does not match up to the reality. From a distance this isn’t obvious, but as Angel has opportunities to see past the smoke and mirrors, she discovers that the image she has of the band is not only distorted, but that image is causing pain and hardship for members of the band.
I discovered this book through Nadia of Headscarves and Hardbacks. Nadia listed Angel as a favorite Muslim character and I knew I had to meet this person Nadia described as a relatable Muslim fangirl. Alice Oseman wrote outside her own experience, but she did her research with both Angel and Jimmy. Jimmy is a transgender young man and is working through his own issues about images and reality. He’s also dealing with high levels of anxiety. Oseman created characters and a story that will speak to readers from all walks of life who are working through who they are and how they will make their way in this world.
Recommendation: Get this now especially if you enjoy contemporary realistic fiction. Oseman shares a story filled with humor, fun, love, hard truths, and much more.
Video introduction by Alice Oseman
Alice on Researching and Writing Marginalized Characters