Book Review: “Stranger Than Fanfiction” by Chris Colfer

One of the reasons I jumped at the chance to review Stranger Than Fanfiction is that I am a huge fan of the author, Chris Colfer. Perhaps best known as a cast member from the hit show Glee, the actor portrayed Kurt Hummel to absolute perfection, in my opinion. I knew that he had written a book series but hadn’t had the time (darn my Muggle life, anyhow!) to go and pick up the series. The Land of Stories currently spans five books, which tell the tales of twin siblings Alex and Connor as they travel through the fairy tale realm in an attempt to get back home.

Stranger Than Fanfiction, however, is Colfer’s second standalone novel and deals with more adult themes than his previous series. No fairies, ogres, or other magical creatures exist in this story, which follows young television star Cash Carter as he crashes a pre-college road trip planned by four huge fans of his hit television show, Wiz Kids.

From the very beginning, Cash is written as a troubled young man. His actions throughout the book are completely questionable and appear to do more harm than good. Although his motives are unclear, Colfer hints at redeeming qualities of the child star as he interacts with his four traveling companions, who each have something to hide as well. One car, four college-bound students, and one celebrity on a journey across the country – there is nowhere to hide those pesky little secrets.

My initial reaction from reading Stranger Than Fanfiction is that the book is extremely inclusive. It’s rare that a book that is garnering so much attention would have the type of characters Colfer has included in his novel. It’s a hopeful sign for our future that all types of people will be represented in books that make it into mainstream circles.

The only problem I truly had with the writing was that some of the descriptive phrases seemed a bit juvenile. I feel that Colfer could have painted the picture for the reader without resorting to so much anthropomorphism. It took me away from the story in the beginning, but eventually I was able to look past that in order to concentrate on the actual story underneath.

The premise of Stranger Than Fanfiction is completely new, and the ending was unexpected. I had no idea that when I hitched a ride with Cash and his new friends, I would be this emotional at the end of our journey together. It’s a ride I enjoyed, even unto the bittersweet end.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.