Book Review: I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

Publication Date: May 3rd 2018

For Angel Ahmadi, 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 & feelings.

I have been desperate to really enjoy an Oseman novel since loving the Heartstopper graphic novels, but not being a fan of Solitaire so I feel like celebrating the fact I had such a good time with I Was Born For This!! 

This was the first book I picked up for Pride month as I knew it had some LGBTQ+ themes, I just didn’t know what. Turns out I didn’t know much about this book at all. I knew it was about a band, and a fan of the band but I genuinely went into this kind of thinking Jimmy & Angel would be the main romance, which was not the case at all, so other things I wasn’t expecting like the transgender, muslim and anxiety representation were a nice surprise.

As I found out, this book follows a band called The Ark, made up of Jimmy, Rowan and Lister, in the lead up to them signing a new contract that will propel them either further into the spotlight, and Angel, one of their biggest fans who goes down to London to meet her internet friend and see their concert. 

What I really appreciated about this book was it’s focus on fandom. I’ve never been a part of a fandom that focuses on real people, I tend to stick to fandoms for books and the occasional TV show because being so hyper focused on a real life person feels weird to me, but I appreciated how real this band felt.

From Angel’s perspective we see how this band has impacted her and helped her through the years and how simply being a part of this fan community has made her feel less lonely, which I totally relate to. From Jimmy’s perspective we see how the band struggle with this constant scrutiny and pressure that comes with having such a large and passionate fanbase and the negative effects it has on them for example with Rowan’s relationship, Jimmy’s anxiety, Lister’s alcohol use.

I think this focus on the band’s relationship with their fans is really important. I personally think we can treat celebrities so crappy sometimes with the constant invasion of privacy and how we seem to expect them to share everything, as well as shipping real life people with their friends in such an obsessive way (there’s a difference between “these two would be cute together” to the way it can sometimes be spun out of control) so I liked this being a main focus of the novel too.

Because I love a good book about bands and that sort of thing, Jimmy’s chapters were the ones I did end up enjoying more but I did relate a lot to Angel’s chapters. I don’t have a large group of friends, and the friend’s I do have, aren’t into the same things as me so having an online space where I can semi-anonymously share thoughts and feelings on this one common thing we enjoy is really comforting. 

While I did enjoy this, I do think I’m still missing something with these books. I feel like Osemans books always try to convey a meaningful message that never seems to resonate with me as much as other people.

Ooo, also, I’m starting a petition for a sequel with Bliss as the main character because I love her, where we will also have a certain relationship be canon and Jimmy’s grandpa is featured a lot too. 

3 thoughts on “Book Review: I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman”

  1. Great review, glad you enjoyed this! A sequel with Bliss would be so interesting. Same, I kind of expected a Jimmy-Angel romance for some reason but the way the book went was so interesting. When I read IWBFT I wasn’t in any fandoms for real people, but since then I’ve joined the BTS fandom so I’d love to re-read this in light of that now.


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