My rating in stars: 4,5 stars
My rating in words: Loved it!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
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.
MY THOUGHTS (SPOILER-FREE):
“The adverts end and an announcer comes on stage. When he reads the name of the next act, The Ark, I feel a spike of joy in my heart, a stabbing burst of love and happiness that makes me feel like everything’s going to be okay, as long as our boys are in the world.”
There are a few authors out there where I just know I will love their books, if I’d only get to them. Alice Oseman was one of those authors. I heard so many good things about Radio Silence and it seems obvious I’d love it, but unfortunately I still haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ve also been highly anticipating I Was Born For This, even though part of me figured I’d keep procrastinating on her latest release as well. But when I saw the ebook on Amazon for a discounted price, I saw it as a sign to buy and read it right away. So that’s exactly what I did. And it was so great to discover that my intuition had been spot-on because I adored this book. Here’s why:
It’s a story about fandoms and hero worship. Angel, one of our two main characters, is a huge fan of The Ark, a three-member rock band. The story starts when she travels to London to see them live in concert. She is a total fangirl, who loves the band more than anything. The other main character is Jimmy, the front man of the Ark, and through his POV we get to see the scarier side of fandoms. I loved this aspect in the book, because it handled fandoms so well in my mind. Because even though the message was there that a band or artist shouldn’t be the only reason for your happiness and you should still take time for yourself and the people in your life, it also showed just how absolutely wonderful a fandom can be. This passion is something that is often mocked, but really one of the greatest feelings is being able to feel so passionate about something and being able to share it with other people. Both the amazing and the scary sides of fandom were handled in the book, and that really resonated with me.
It is very character driven. Aww seriously, I grew to care so, so much for this group of characters. That’s what I love about books where you just get so invested in a character or characters you just want to keep reading because they feel like friends and you just want to know how they are doing. That’s how I felt about these characters. Especially the boys of The Ark owned my heart pretty quickly, but even though it took me a little longer to warm up to Angel and her friend, I loved them just as much by the end and wished they were my friends.
It is amazingly multicultural. This book covers a whole rainbow of sexualities and races and it is wonderful. Angel is a hijabi Muslim girl who is questioning her sexuality. Jimmy is a biracial trans gay boy. But that diversity does not define the plot, it’s just part of who they are. Every other character is also equally diverse and it was all just so beautiful and realistically written. It also has great mental health rep with Jimmy’s anxiety and honestly, it was so exquisitely written that I wish all books could just be this naturally diverse and provide great representation.
It delves into the qualities of online friendships. When Angel travels to London to see The Ark, she also meets up with Juliet, who has been her best (online) friend for many years but whom she had never met in real life. As someone who greatly appreciates the power of online friendships, I also quite enjoyed this storyline. I think it definitely did justice to the incredible power of online friendships and to the power of connecting with someone over something you’re passionate about, even if you’ve never met in real life, while still being realistic and sufficiently awkward and not just all rainbows and sunshine.
And of course the friends that become family. Because while I loved the friendship between Angel and Juliet, it was the friendship between the three Ark members that really tugged at my heartstrings. These kinds of friendships mean the world to me, and a story that is able to convey the power of this friendship owns my heart. And I Was Born For this is definitely that kind of story.
Also, just a shoutout to Jimmy Kaga-Ricci, Bliss Lai and Lister Bird, who deserve the world and hugs. But then again, all these characters do. But for some reason I love them most.
So basically, I should have read an Alice Oseman book sooner. I’ll be sure to read more by her soon. And if you’re like me and think all the above sounds good, but you just haven’t gotten around to it yet… quit stalling and read the book. You won’t regret it.
PS: Is it normal to wish The Ark was a real band so you could listen to their music? Because I’d love to hear their songs for real.
“I shrug. ‘Must be nice to just … be a person.’
Rowan stares at me. The flashing lights reflect in his glasses. ‘But we’re gods, Jimmy. What’s better than that?”
“Most adults see teenagers as confused kids who don’t understand much, while they’re the pillars of knowledge and experience and know exactly what is right at all times. I think the truth is that everyone in the entire world is confused and nobody understands much of anything at all.”
“Being a male fan of obscure old bands is, for some reason, more acceptable than being a female fan of a twenty-first-century boy band.”
“Being a fan isn’t always about the thing you’re a fan of. Okay, well, it sort of is, but there is much more to it than just going online and screaming that you love something. Being a fan has given me people to talk to about the things that I like for the past five years. Being a fan has made me better friends online than I’ve ever encountered in real life; it has entered me into a community where people are joined in love and passion and hope and joy and escape. Being a fan has given me a reason to wake up, something always to look forward to, something to dream about while I’m trying to fall asleep.”
“But despite everything in the world being terrible, we choose to stand by The Ark. We choose hope, light, joy, friendship, faith, even when our lives aren’t perfect, or exciting, or fun, or special, like the boys from The Ark. I might be a disappointing student, without many close friends, with a life of mediocrity waiting for me back at home – an average degree from an average university, an average job and an average life – but I will always have this. In an otherwise mediocre existence, we choose to feel passion.”