Publication Date: March 1, 2022
Up and coming fanfic author Kaylee Beaumont is internally screaming at the chance to finally meet her fandom friends in real life and spend a weekend at GreatCon. She also has a side quest for the weekend:
Try out they/them pronouns to see how it feels
Wear more masculine-presenting cosplay
Kiss a girl for the first time
It’s… a lot, and Kay mostly wants to lie face down on the hotel floor. Especially when her hometown bully, Miss North Carolina, shows up in the very same hotel. But there’s this con-sponsored publishing contest, and the chance to meet her fandom idols… and then, there’s Teagan.
Pageant queen Teagan Miller (Miss Virginia) has her eye on the much-needed prize: the $25,000 scholarship awarded to the winner of the Miss Cosmic Teen USA pageant. She also has secrets:
She loves the dresses but hates the tiaras
She’s a giant nerd for everything GreatCon
She’s gay af
If Teagan can just keep herself wrapped up tight for one more weekend, she can claim the scholarship and go off to college out and proud. If she’s caught, she could lose everything she’s worked for. If her rival, Miss North Carolina, has anything to do with it, that’s exactly how it’ll go down.
When Teagan and Kay bump into one another the first night, sparks fly. Their connection is intense—as is their shared enemy. If they’re spotted, the safe space of the con will be shattered, and all their secrets will follow them home. The risks are great… but could the reward of embracing their true selves be worth it?
This was such a good, affirming, joyful book!
As someone who is active in fandom but has never been to a con, and who spent a lot of years questioning my identity (queer: nonbinary, bi ace), I really identified with Kay and felt very seen. They are like my younger self, and the atmosphere of the con was incredible.
While I didn’t have much in common with Teagan, she was easy to like and I was still rooting for her breaking away from the strict mold the pageant forced her into.
The story had its ups and downs of course but I felt so much queer joy radiating from the pages and wrapping me in this blanket of acceptance and it was so soothing.
There are also some great messages about not judging people based on what they look like or enjoy doing. And the fandom representation is so good. Such an accurate portrayal of a03 and tumblr and writing fanfiction. I want to go to a con now.
I would recommend this to every teen who is questioning their identity or knows someone who is. Sometimes you just need a dose of joy and affirmation and that’s this book in a nutshell.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing an e-arc for review.