Book Review: Grace and the Fever
If you’ve ever been a fan of a boyband (hello, Backstreet Boys) then you’ll enjoy Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff, a sweet coming-of-age young adult novel.
Grace Thomas has just graduated from high school and is spending her summer days working at a coffee shop and keeping an eye on her favorite group since middle school, Fever Dream. Rather than go out with her two best friends, Lianne and Cara, to parties before they all head off to college in the fall, Grace stays home and spends time online under her pseudonym, Gigi. Being Gigi online allows Grace to obsess about Fever Dream on fan sites (including her own), and Grace has made a close friend in Katy, another Fever Dream-obsessive, who lives across the country.
One night, faced with the monotony of her life and feeling lonely, Grace decides to go for a run in her neighborhood, and the unbelievable happens. She meets Jes, one-fourth of Fever Dream. He’s the half-Indian band member everyone has a crush on, and the one in the group dubbed the “ladies’s man”. The other guys—Landon, Solly, and Kendrick—are nowhere to be seen. Instantly, she decides not to let on how much of a fan she is. As they talk, paparazzi show up, and, soon, Grace’s blurry image is plastered all over the internet and in gossip magazines. Naturally, Grace gets drawn into the inner circle of Fever Dream after that. Jes is attracted to her normalcy and brings her to parties and team strategy meetings, and Grace is living out every fantasy she (and millions of other girls) have had. Unfortunately, fantasies are not always meant to be real….which means that her online life and real life are on the edge of colliding.
Grace and the Fever is not just about fandom; it’s also about growing up and learning who you are. It is fun to watch Grace get into exclusive clubs and hang out with her dream boys—it will make anyone’s inner fan girl squeal (obvious parallels to real life boy band One Direction abound). With having her fantasy come true, though, there is the reality of it. The guys are not who she—and the public—think they are. They are actual real humans struggling with their own issues behind-the-scenes. Performing is their job. Realizing this, Grace is forced to reconcile the truth with her sense of self and learn to love all aspects of who she is.
While it’s quite obvious that Grace’s secret online persona of Fever Dream-obsessed Gigi will not stay a secret, the story itself is still engaging. The characters are easily conjured in your imagination, and the themes are easy to identify with. All in all, Grace and the Fever is a quick read that will leave you pulling out your old boy band jams to dance around to once more.