Title: I Was Born For This
Author: Alice Oseman
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: May 3rd 2018
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
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.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review!
I don’t even know where to begin. I Was Born For This is my first Alice Oseman novel and I loved it so much more than I thought I would. It is quite literally the past four years of my own life in novel format; I can quite literally see myself watching the book as a movie; and I am quite literally Angel Rahimi in real-life, except that she’s tall and confident and I’m small and shy.
The book opens in the viewpoint of Angel, a Muslim fangirl, meeting one of her internet friends for the first time. I could relate to so many aspects of this book but, sadly, meeting internet friends isn’t one of them. However, Angel does talk about how she tries and fails to get her in real-life friends interested in the things she loves – the boyband she loves – and I could honestly relate to this part on the highest level. My friends will usually listen to my constant fangirling and occasional ranting, but they just don’t care.
I loved the little insights into the fandom life of The Ark – despite Angel’s dedication being towards a boyband (something I’ve never had any interest in), many of her experiences can be applied to being part of any fandom. Staying up at ridiculous o’clock to stream American award shows. Constantly stalking the official update accounts. The inability to explain what you mean when you say you ‘love’ them or you jokingly call them your son. I could relate to every single part of it, and it genuinely surprised me, how much Alice Oseman understood this life I was born for. I didn’t choose it; instead, it chose me.
The book alternates between the perspectives of Angel and one member of The Ark, Jimmy, who is trans. It discusses mental health so honestly and openly and it gives you an insight into the other side of the fandom equation, which is something I haven’t ever really given much thought to. I’m a strong believer in ‘not all fans are the same’ but this book did, at times, make me question everything I thought I knew. It made me question myself as a fan in a similar way Angel experiences throughout the book. Am I just another obsessive fan? Who is Angel Rahimi without her boys? Who am I without the one person that has impacted my life so greatly over the past four years?
The fandom paradox is so real. You want to protect their privacy, but at the same time you want to know everything about them. You want them to keep their location at any given time a secret in case they get stalked, but at the same time you always want to know where they are in case they’re anywhere near you. You want to protect the anonymous identity of their lovers, but at the same time you want to know exactly who they’re dating in case they end up having their hearts broken. That is the fandom life. That is the paradox.
I loved this book so much. Like every single thing about it. None of the characters are perfect; they are all flawed and they are all real and I, too, would love to accidentally lock myself in a bathroom with the love of my life one day and to have them recognise me by my Twitter handle. I’ve been lucky in a way – social media has bridged the gap, the distance that exists between us (literally a whole freaking ocean), allowing me to ‘interact’ with my fave. Every retweet, every like, every reply, and every answer to a question I’ve asked in a Q&A. I’m so grateful and so lucky. A part of me still wants to meet her, to greet her, to hug her, to tell her I love her. And upon reading this book, a part of me is also afraid that, if it ever happens, it won’t be at all like what I’m expecting, that everything I have gathered over the past four years will amount to nothing. Can you really know someone, love someone, from a distance? Without ever meeting them? I don’t know. I really don’t know, but I do know this.