Title: I Was Born For This
Author: Alice Oseman
What I Think So Far: Alice Oseman’s third novel, I Was Born For This explores the two sides of extreme fandom, following Angel, whose perceived life purpose is to love The Ark, a globally famous British boy-band, and Jimmy, the band’s frontman. The main topic of the book is not something I usually go for when choosing my next read. And indeed, I only started I Was Born For This because of who wrote it. I adored Oseman’s first two novels, Solitaire and Radio Silence and hers are the only YA books I choose to read these days.
I Was Born For This looks at the struggles of being young and confused about your future. It’s a realistic take on the identity crisis some young people face when they achieve their life-long dream only to realise it’s not what they expected. By making possible and exploring meeting your idols and getting to know them, the book shows how all-consuming fame can be, both for celebrities and their fans. The characters are fun, vulnerable, relatable and dynamic, each of them growing and facing their fears through the circumstances they are thrown in. The two protagonists and four secondary characters all need each other to find themselves. The way their paths interact brought me the calming realisation that sometimes you need to let things unfold to become stronger and confront your anxieties.
Compared to Oseman’s first two books, this one was more action-packed and fast-paced, making for an excellent read in one-sitting. The only critique I have is that the ending was a little too abrupt. I felt the need for another chapter or two, purely because I just wasn’t ready to put it down.
Would I Recommend It? Yes, absolutely, to YA fans and beyond, even if your go-to theme isn’t reading about fandoms and boy-bands, this book is worth it and was a great change from my usual contemporary picks. If anything, people should at least give it a try for the exceptional representation of ethnicity and sexuality, which are always very obviously thought-of in Alice Oseman’s books. The novel’s two protagonists, Angel and Jimmy, are a Muslim girl and a trans boy respectively. Fictional band The Ark’s two other members are Rowan, a black man, and Lister, a bisexual man and, my favourite character, Bliss Lai – whose essential role in the story I won’t disclose – is also bisexual and mixed-race. If you’re a young person who has ever felt confused and overwhelmed by the pressure to do something significant with your life, I Was Born For This is worth every minute.
Words by Eliza Lita
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