There’s a powerful connection between characters and the fans who love them.
Anyone who scribbled Harry Potter fanfiction or dissected the latest teen drama with their friends knows. And the line between actor and character is often completely muddled for viewers that live far beyond the realities of Hollywood.
But what if those same fans were stuck on a road trip with the object of their obsessions? That’s the idea behind the most recent book from Glee star and bestselling author Chris Colfer, Stranger than Fanfiction.
Colfer is best known in the literary world for his popular middle grade series The Land of Stories. In his latest novel, Colfer explores the world of television fandom and the trials and tribulations of teenagers on the brink of major life changes.
Stranger than Fanfiction follows four best friends who’ve bonded over nearly a decade of watching their favorite sci-fi show. As the group embarks on an end-of-high-school road trip, they impulsively invite the star of said show. When he actually shows up to join them, all five begin a journey full of misadventures, mayhem, and secrets revealed.
In a special episode of the MashReads Podcast, MashReads spoke to Colfer about his return to YA and the inspirations behind the story, from both sides of passionate fandoms.
Then, as always, we close the show with recommendations. Colfer recommends:
The Demonologist by Gerald Bittle, which explores the career of the famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren in a documentary fashion. “The facts are scary enough by themselves,” said Colfer.
Intimacy Idiot by Isaac Oliver, a collections of essays and stories about finding love and intimacy in New York. To Colfer, “It’s the gay man’s manifesto, in a way.”
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, the first memoir by the late actress, based on her one-woman show. It’s also one of Colfer’s all-time favorite books. “Parts of that book I felt she wrote just for me”
Sage-ing While Age-ing by Shirley MacLaine, a book that is part memoir and part life advice from the actress. “It’s just fantastic.”
And if you’re looking for a book to sink your teeth into, we recommend A Separation by Katie Kitamura, which is this month’s official MashReads book club book.
Listen to their interview here