I Was Born for This (to *Fan* about Alice Oseman)

Despite having a 30+ year age gap, Ayah and Cathy share a deep appreciation for boy band music, especially One Direction's. They both enjoy the solo music from many of the boys, including Louis Tomlinson (Cathy), Harry Styles (both of them, but Ayah probably takes the lead in interest) and Niall Horan (both of them really enjoy his music and hope to see him in concert sometime soon!).

When Cathy came across the ARC for I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman, she knew that she and Ayah should both read it and have a mini book club. Read on for their conversation, Cathy's review, and Scholastic's description of this highly anticipated book! Don't forget to pre-order with us before October 18 to get your copy.

Cathy:  What did you love about the book?

Ayah: There’s a lot to love but the main thing is the representation. I loved that Angel was Muslim and that I could picture myself in her shoes. I loved that sexuality was highlighted. And I just loved everything about what it means to be a part of a fandom and how both the fans and celebrities feel, because we only consider ourselves. It’s truly an eye opener that is written soo well!

Cathy: I agree! It made me so happy to see you represented and to know it resonated with you. I also really liked the look at the complexities of fandom. One of the boys says something along the lines of, "How can fans love us if they don’t even know us?" And that’s SO TRUE!

Ayah: Very true. As fans, we say that, and many of us mean it because we can look up to them, but for the boys or just any celebrity, I’m sure it can get weird or overwhelming. 

Cathy: Exactly! I also liked the examination of the friendship between Angel and Juliet, fans who became friends on the internet. When they meet in person, it’s a bit more complicated.

Ayah: Agreed. I have personally made many friendships through the internet and plan to meet a few of them at the Harry Styles concert this September, but I know it’s definitely easier when it stays online compared to the first time meeting in person. I think it also got complicated because of the lack of communication, which is reasonable given that they’ve only known each other through the internet, but I’m glad that while it takes time, they slowly work on that.


A post shared by Alice Oseman (@aliceoseman)

Cathy: Yes! Alice takes a realistic and complex look at fandom, both the benefits and the challenges.

Let’s talk characters. Favorite member of the Ark and why?

Ayah: That’s a tough one. I’m stuck between Jimmy and Rowan. Through their characters we were shown soo much. I love how eye opening it was through Jimmy’s character when it comes to what he was going through and how judgmental the outside world is. He was definitely grateful for the fans and what they allowed him to do in life, but he realized that despite his privilege, it is demanding. When it came time to discuss the contract, he knew his limits, and while the other boys didn’t think as much of it, he was doing his best to do what was best for him and the fans. I adored Rowan just as much because he was always there for his band mates despite his own issues. I also loved that his character was performing in dresses despite toxic masculinity. 

Cathy: Those are great points! If I’m being honest, I’d probably choose Lister. He’s such a mess and you want him to be kinder to himself and acknowledge some behavior. I think that the book ends on a hopeful note for him.

How about non-Ark characters? I really loved Jimmy’s grandfather. He so clearly understood Jimmy and provided a space where he could be safe and feel welcome.

Ayah: I loved Dorothy, Juliet’s grandmother. She was supportive of Juliet and was there for her when she needed someone. 

Cathy: Ooooh, yes! She was great.

One final question! What boy band song will you always listen to all the way through? For me, it’s Best Song Ever from One Direction. What’s yours?

Ayah: I don’t think I could ever choose just one, which I’m sure you already knew. I’ll go ahead and say Drag Me Down by One Direction. Although if you ask me tomorrow it may change because there are too many choices.

Cathy: Love it! Thanks for talking with me, Ayah.

Ayah: Thank you, it was a great convo (as usual), Cathy!

Scholastic's blurb for I Was Born for This:

For Angel Rahimi life is about one thing: The Ark -- a boy band that's taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark's fandom has given her everything she loves -- her friend Juliet, her dreams, her place in the world. Her Muslim family doesn't understand the band's allure -- but Angel feels there are things about her they'll never understand.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark. He's their frontman -- and playing in a band with his mates is all he ever dreamed of doing, even it only amplifies his anxiety. The fans are very accepting that he's trans -- but they also keep shipping with him with his longtime friend and bandmate, Rowan. But Jimmy and Rowan are just friends -- and Rowan has a secret girlfriend the fans can never know about. Dreams don't always turn out the way you think and when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together, they find out how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

A funny, wise, and heartbreakingly true coming of age novel. I Was Born for This is a stunning reflection of modern teenage life, and the power of believing in something -- especially yourself.

Cathy's review:

Angel Rahimi and Jimmy Kaga-Ricci narrate this YA novel that takes a closer look at the nature of fandom - warts and all. Angel is a huge fan of The Ark, a British boyband poised on the edge of worldwide stardom. Jimmy is one of the members of The Ark who's not so sure that he wants to be that famous. Angel comes to London to attend a meet and greet before The Ark's last tour appearance and crosses paths with Jimmy through a series of coincidences. it's a wonderful look at the chaos and complexity of celebrity worship.

Very readable and a great fit for anyone who loves music acts, tv shows or movies!

Are you as excited about this book as we are? Pre-order here, and get excited to fall in love with these characters when the book publishes on October 18!