Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson

Genevieve and Stephanie become friends online through their mutual love for a television show. It's a fast friendship, accelerated by a fan convention trip where they meet in real life and find they really do enjoy one another's company.

They're both young women (18 and 22) with complicated lives - Gena's about to begin college (if she finishes her exams and papers), has absent and disconnected parents, and has a history of mental instability; Finn is looking for her first "real" job, has just moved in with her boyfriend, and is contemplating future options (marriage? kids?).

The book is formatted as blog posts and comment chains, direct messaging, text messages, emails, notes, diary entries, and more.

While there's a lot of back-and-forth chats that are quick to read, I can't say it's easy: the part that you instinctually want to ignore (the header, subject line, date and time) holds information that helps you work through the conversation. I found myself doing a lot of backtracking and rereading those headers - for example, some emails are drafts that were never sent.

I almost gave up on this book about 15 pages in, but decided to give it another go. I'm glad I did, too, because I really enjoyed it once I got to know the characters better. And it wasn't nearly as formulaic as I'd feared a modern-novel-in-messaging might be - the storyline went in a couple directions I hadn't anticipated. Hooray!

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