The Rom-Com You Won't Want to Put Down!
“She’d responded, and then I had, and then like normal humans, we were conversing. Wild.”
Stranger Than Fan Fiction by Piper Sheldon is absolutely going to be a highlight of your summer and will undoubtedly be a top read of 2022 for me. Piper Sheldon’s fun and unique brand of storytelling is the kind that I adore. Stranger Than Fan Fiction read so genuinely that it felt like Piper has bared a part of her soul with her readers.
The love, the humor, the snark—all of it— that’s been injected into this newest release is all so palpable that I was reluctant to step away and do anything else than devour this book. Kate and Charlie’s characters are well-developed and crisp. I can easily visualize each of the characters and I feel like I know them personally. Kate is the nervous but vivacious fan fiction writer from Minnesota. She’s made her presence known by writing some of the most popular fanfic for a popular science fiction show of her childhood. Unbeknownst to her, one of her admirers is none other than one of the stars of the show, Charlie Downing.
“Put yourself first. Nobody else will. If he doesn’t like it, he’s free to leave.”
Now considered an enigmatic recluse, Charlie has receded from the public eye after one too many incidents that left him reeling with a tentative addiction recovery, and a wariness of all things Hollywood-related. While Charlie grapples with a brand-new meddling Polish grandmother of a housekeeper, and the addition of three bedraggled chickens, he takes solace in Kate’s stories involving his character, Freddy. Like all great romances, Charlie reaches out on an impulse to share his gratitude and enthusiasm for Kate’s writing and thus a pen pal relationship is born.
Kate and Charlie’s friendship to romance reminds me of ‘You’ve Got Mail’ with the flavor of ‘Kate & Leopold’…and now I have a hankering for all Meg Ryan rom-com cinema gold. Their overwhelming ease of conversation spans years, and through that Kate finds herself in a relationship with a man whom Charlie would happily solicit a mob hit to get him out of the picture. Charlie’s feelings for Kate are more than friendly. When a chance to meet in person for a reunion special comes to light, it takes a bit of fate as well as some meddling friends to make it all work out for Charlie and Kate to meet face to face. The only problem is that Kate remains unaware that Charlie and her beloved pen pal are the same person. Kate is an earnestly honest character who struggles with Imposter Syndrome and wanting to be considered a serious writer even though she has serious writing chops with a multitude of fan fiction titles under her belt. Because Kate lives this way any deception she causes, or that she receives is taken to heart and causes her great distress. Hello, plot lines. The way Charlie and Kate bring out the absolute best in each other, while continually second guessing themselves makes the tension throughout the story delightfully high. There’s a reason I read this in less than a day.
“I never meant to fall for her through her writing, emails, and stories. Not that I was in love with her. I just had extremely strong feelings for her. And couldn’t stop thinking about her. And just wanted to explore every inch of her body.”
There are so many delicious emotions in Stranger Than Fan Fiction, and I gladly gave up precious hours of sleep to read well into the night because I could not put it down. Equal parts ode to fanfic, epistolary romance, friends to lovers—and so much more—I can say without doubt that this is my favorite from Piper Sheldon. Stranger Than Fan Fiction is an absolute highlight of a read for me this year.
Add this to your Must Read Immediately List—you’ll thank me for it. Stranger Than Fan Fiction is due out June 21st! Congrats on a stellar new release, Piper!
Jes is a self-proclaimed bookworm, who recently moved from the PNW back to the Midwest. When her nose isn’t in a book, she’s spending time with her husband, two kids, and her three fur babies, or exploring the globe. She also firmly believes that you should start the day with coffee, and end the day in bed with a good book.