Elena is a “Star Wars” superfan. She grew up watching the original trilogy with her dad and is absolutely thrilled when “The Force Awakens” comes out. In fact, she’s so excited that she decides to camp out in front of the movie theater before opening night. She imagines a huge group of people who love “Star Wars” just as much as she does, and she can’t wait to share her excitement with like-minded fans. Unfortunately, she never imagined that (1) there would only be two other people in line, (2) one of them would be a silent boy named Gabe who doesn’t seem particularly interested in sharing the “Star Wars” love, or (3) she’d have nowhere to pee except in a cup behind a dumpster. Still, Elena is determined to persevere, and her eventual experience is as wonderful as it is unexpected.
At a succinct 62 pages, this tale is either a very short novella or a very long short story. Either way, I really enjoyed it, as I’ve enjoyed all of Rainbow Rowell’s books. Rowell is obviously very interested in fandom and its role in the creative arts, and this story explores one small facet of that. Elena is a fan of “Star Wars,” and she has certain expectations about how fans should behave. But her fellow line mates, Troy and Gabe, don’t exactly match up with her preconceived ideas. And as she discovers, Gabe has doubts about the authenticity of her fandom because she’s a “cool” girl and not a “nerd.” I thought the story explored the idea of what constitutes a “real fan” very well, albeit in a narrowly focused way. There’s also a bit of romance in the story (which, duh, it’s Rainbow Rowell), but I would have loved a bit more! Still, fans of Rowell’s other work will definitely want to read this as well, whether or not they’re into “Star Wars.”