The story follows the unlikely friendship of two young women forged via fan fiction and message boards, and is told entirely in texts, chats, and blog posts.
Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena’s romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie. But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn’s online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual “real” lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.
As somebody who has been involved in quite a few fandoms in my time, a few of them very deeply (my obsession for books being one of them, but I was also a part of a kpop fandom a few years ago - I wrote fanfiction and made some deep friends and when life got in the way I felt so depressed that I grew out of the fandom), I can totally get involved in books like Gena/Finn. That's why I couldn't not request this book when I saw it on Edelweiss. I was expecting something cute and lighthearted, what I actually got was something so. much. more.
This book was more ridiculous, more dramatic, more odd. Written in a series of emails, texts, blog posts, fanfictions and other such mediums, this was a quick and fun book. It never gets too involved but it does get deep. Gena has some mental health issues that she is struggling to get through, and a past that she wants to put behind her. Finn is stuck in a relationship which doesn't feel like it's moving anywhere. The two meet and forge an instant online connection which, over time, becomes something much more complicated and unbreakable. I did feel at times that Gena and Finn sometimes sounded so similar that I got confused about who was who - who was in school, who was in college? Who was with Charlie etc. This was a problem through the first half of the book, until a big event happens and their lives become drastically different.
I did feel like the book had a certain not too deep, not too shallow feeling up until said big event then after that it takes a much more serious tone. it threw me off guard and made me feel like the book itself felt rather fragmented.
Another issue that I had was that there are suggestions of a romance between Gena and Finn. This in itself isn't a problem - don't worry, I'm not homophobic - the problem is that nothing comes of it. Why even put it in there if it amounts to nothing - I get that Finn is in a rut in her life and Gena is someone new, I'm in a long term relationship and I know sometimes that it feels wrong to settle down so young, but Charlie is a great guy and the whole Charlie, Finn and Gena dynamic totally threw me off. It confused me.
Overall, Gena/Finn was a fun read, but parts of it totally threw me off and I felt like it was something totally different to anything. It doesn't fit into the hardhitting contemps, but neither does it fit into the cute contemps like Fangirl etc. I wouldn't know where to put Gena/Finn.
Overall Rating: C+
Book released 5th April 2016 by Chronicle Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review