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I Was Born for This

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'I'm gonna die. I'm literally gonna die.'
'Wouldn't recommend that,' says Juliet, as if she's been on a two week holiday to Death and gave it a two out of five on TripAdvisor.

For Angel, 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 friend Juliet, her dreams, her place in the world.

Jimmy owes everything to The Ark. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band with his mates is all he ever dreamed of doing.

But dreams don't always turn out the way you think, and when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together they find out just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

Funny and wise, I Was Born for This is a stunning reflection on the power of believing in something - especially yourself.

393 pages, Paperback

First published May 3, 2018

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About the author

Alice Oseman

51 books76.7k followers
Alice Oseman is an award-winning author, illustrator, and screenwriter, and was born in 1994 in Kent, England. She has written four YA contemporary novels about teenage disasters: SOLITAIRE, RADIO SILENCE, I WAS BORN FOR THIS, and LOVELESS. She is the creator of LGBTQ+ YA romance webcomic HEARTSTOPPER, which is now published in physical form by Hachette Children's Books, and she is the writer, creator, and executive producer for the television adaptation of HEARTSTOPPER, which is set to be released on Netflix.

Alice’s first novel SOLITAIRE was published when she was nineteen. Her YA novels have been nominated for the YA Book Prize, the Inky Awards, the Carnegie Medal, and the Goodreads Choice Awards.

Alongside writing and drawing, Alice enjoys playing the piano semi-proficiently, Pokémon games, and purchasing too many Converse.

Find Alice on Twitter and Instagram @AliceOseman.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,422 reviews
Profile Image for Alice Oseman.
Author 51 books76.7k followers
May 15, 2020
I WAS BORN FOR THIS is my third YA novel! It features:
- dual POV between Jimmy, the lead singer of internationally famous boyband The Ark, who is struggling with the level of fame he's reached, and Angel, an extremely passionate fangirl of The Ark
- internet friends bonding over fandom, only to discover that real life isn't quite the same
- three best friends who grew up to be famous together, but now are all struggling in their own ways
- music!
- no romance!
- Lister Bird running around a room singing the Batman theme tune!
- questioning whether obsessing over celebrities is good, bad, or... somewhere in the middle
I really hope you enjoy it!!
Profile Image for chai ♡.
322 reviews156k followers
August 9, 2022
This was so good and made me feel so goddamn sunny about the world. Like, how do I mail one million hugs directly to Alice Oseman right now?
Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
948 reviews2,712 followers
May 28, 2022


Right now I am anything but calm plus I have been crying for an hour thinking about this book, "my boys" and everything I have put my heart in for them!

This book hit a bit too close to me , like if I say it's probably going to be one of my favourite books it's going to be a bit of understatement . It has already qualified as my favourite y/a fiction of all time.

"I think the truth is that everyone in the entire world is confused and nobody understands much of anything at all."

The book follows up a story of a teen, hijabi Muslim girl Angel who is like a huge fan of this teen boy band 'The Arc' and she is visiting her online friend Julie for first time so they can attend this concert of The Arc .
And we have Jimmy Ricia, front man of The Arc band , who is currently going to a tough phase in his life managing himself between all this fame, new contract , loads of work and of course his mental health.
The story follows as what happens when both of their world collide.

Don't think it's a romance book. No no no it's not a wattpad fanfic!!

The book explores the theme of fandom, idolization , fame , way we treat our idols, friendship , importance of friendship, layers of friendship, mental health, alcoholism, LGBTQIAP+ representation.

We will get back to each one of them.

Now moving on to characters, now by this time you all might know how much I love Alice Oseman and one of the main reasons for that is how come she creates such likeable and realistic characters everytime!

Angel :- hijabi Muslim, might be questioning, huge fan of The Arc.

Now speaking of Angel I think she is me. Like totally she represented me totally in first half of book when she was obsessing over the boys.

"The Ark with me – my school friends, my parents, my older brother – but no one really cared. They usually just found me annoying, because once I start talking about The Ark, or anything really, I find it kind of hard to stop."

"Fortunately for us, I’m excellent at faking being okay with things, even when inside my brain there is a tiny screaming gnome who is definitely not okay."

"....and really you should have ended up with better genes than this"

Jimmy :- biracial ( Indian and Italian ) , trans,gay,musician, front man of the band.

Now Jimmy is my precious son, I can go to lengths to protect him, dare say anything about him and I will break your teeth.
He is going through some really tough time and he have these violent episodes of panic attacks which literally scared the shit out of me. I cried for him and with him throughout the book.

"Do you want to talk about it?’ says Rowan.
‘No,’ I say.
But God, I do. I always do."

Julie :- Angel's bestfriend
Now if I get a chance I will make her my bestfriend , like she is so cool and awesome , I can spend nights with her obsessing over the boys.

✒ Rowan :- biracial ( Nigerian and english ) , lyricist and cello player of the band
He would be my dad friend , like you know the one who advises you over life and shit , the wise and mature friend!

✒ Lister :- bisexual or pan , drummer of the band
Now I have officially booked Lister as my guy bestfriend because every minute I will spent with him I know I will never fail to laugh ! And he says some awesome shit too like this one :-

"Well, newsflash, not all bisexuals are having sex every five minutes."

✒ Bliss :- Rowan girlfriend , bisexual , biracial ( Chinese)
She is my wife you hear me yes she is my wife like she is so funny and savage , literally I can marry her .
We are married!

All these biracial and LGBTQIAP+ representation fills my heart with so much joy and not to forget the fact that Alice thanked a lot of people from biracial and trans background who helped her giving a clear presentation for her book.

Fandom culture

I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything except The Ark.

The ark one direction

One of the important theme of the book was fandom culture and I want to acknowledge that because Alice Oseman did a brilliant job presenting merits and demerits of a fandom which we all are aware of but we don't accept because we all love our fandom.

"Maybe not always physically. But spiritually, mentally and emotionally, I was there!!!

The book also acknowledge how adults kinda mock and not coincide with the idea of fangirling but this thought wasn't shoved in our faces by author she handled it really well.

And I think I have said enough and given you enough reasons to read this book. JUST READ IT!

" that's why people get into fandom and bands and stuff. They just want something to hold on to something that make them happy and feel good. Even if it's lie"

And just in case if you don't know This exists !
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.7k followers
November 20, 2020
“I think the truth is that everyone in the entire world is confused and nobody understands much of anything at all.”

Alice Oseman's best book by far.

This book is one of the best examples of queer representation that I have encountered to this day.
Not only are the main characters far from cis/straight/white but so is most of this book's cast. Let's start with Angel and Jimmy.
Angel is an 18-year-old Muslim girl, whose greatest passion is The Ark, a famous boyband. She loves this band, even though she may not actually be in love with them. Jimmy is one of the three members of The Ark. He is a trans guy who struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. He loves his band members and his grandpa more than anything in this world.
What I found refreshing is that Angel's and Jimmy's sexuality aren't plot points in this book. It's part of them, but it doesn't define every aspect of their lives. They are their own people. Who they love does not matter, what matters is that they love them.
The same can be applied to all of the other characters. What is most important is that none of this feels forced. Not only do we have a rainbow of sexuality and gender-fluidity, but this book reflects a tiny but amazing part of this world's diversity.

As I said before, this is Alice Oseman's best book so far, especially plot-wise. It's a strongly character-driven book but what happens in it is equally exciting. I was drawn into the story right from the beginning. When I first heard that Alice was writing a novel about a fangirl and her favourite band, I wasn't sure if I would like it. Even though I knew that Alice was an exceptional writer, I didn't think that I could relate to a boyband-obsessed main character and the superfamous male counterpart. I expected this story to be a romantic one - but I should have known better. Even though we get to see a few kisses and crushes, the focus is on friendship, faith and respect. The characters were all relatable, even though some of them are more sympathetic than others. I don't want to tell you too more than that this story will surprise you.

The only flaw that I could find was that the plot took a somewhat messy turn towards the end. It might have needed more structure, more of a direction to remain realistic. I felt like there was too much going on at the same time. I also wished for more closure at the end, even though I like it when stories have more of an open end. But this was a wee bit too open to make me satisfied.

The only thing that is left to be said is that I am desperate to know what The Ark actually sounds like. I'd love to hear Joan of Arc for real. I might be a bit obsessed with these boys, too.

Additional thoughts after also listening to the audiobook:
Jimmy's voice actor is amazing. I loved listening to him, to the rise and fall of his voice. Angel's voice actor is great too, but she really has to work on doing German accents. As a German myself, I know what our accent sounds like, and the version in the audiobook was nothing like it. What really set me off, was her rendering of Mac's voice though. God, he is an annoying person, but listening to the way he talked made me consider fast-forwarding the audiobook.
I also have to admit that hearing the story for the first time I was surprised to feel a sense of annoyance. I was annoyed with how often the fans, the Ark, Angel and Juliet used the word love, making it almost meaningless. I was annoyed by how often Angel needed to mentioned that not every fan was a crazy, mindless fangirl. I thought yes, I get it now, I can only hear it so often. Nevertheless, I still loved the story, the characters and the message. I can't wait for Alice's next novel, which will have an aro/ace main character!

Thanks to the team at HarperCollins for providing me with this beautiful review copy!

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Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,096 reviews17.7k followers
August 3, 2019
“Most adults see teenagers as confused kids who don't understand much, while they're the pillars of knowledge and experience and know exactly what is right at all times.
I think the truth is that everyone in the entire world is confused and nobody understands much of anything at all.”

Another day, another fantastic Alice Oseman book. After how much I adored Radio Silence, I hoped I was going to love Alice Oseman’s next book, and… unsurprisingly, it was fantastic.

This book follows Angel, a girl on a mission to see her favorite band. And when several things go wrong, she might end up actually meeting some of them.

A huge, huge cast thing about this book is that it preserves the humanity of all the characters. It is a book that focuses on friendship, not romance; character development, not plot.

→Jimmy is a fantastic character and so wonderfully complex and lovable. Jimmy is trans, biracial Indian and Italian, gay, and has severe anxiety. His character arc in this book focuses primarily on his anxiety, and his struggle to handle his own mental health in a world where his privacy has increasingly been invaded.
→His bandmates, Rowan and Lister, are just as compelling - Rowan is biracial and Nigerian and dealing with a hidden relationship, and Lister is dealing with alcoholism and depression. Oh, and his speech about the perception of his bisexuality by others is incredible.
→The Jimmy/Rowan/Lister dynamic is so good and complex and real; Lister’s jealousy of Jimmy and Rowan, especially, is written honestly but empathetically, and I loved the relationship between Jimmy and Lister.
→Rowan’s girlfriend, Bliss, has got to be my favorite character - she is the hilarious icon I needed in my life, and her arc around her relationship with Rowan is fantastic. She is bisexual and biracial Chinese.
→Jimmy’s grandfather is flawless and I would give my life for him.
→Angel, our second narrator, is an intriguing character on all levels. Angel is a Hijabi Muslim and describes herself as being queer and questioning. And while she has moments of crossing boundaries, the way the narrative both empathizes with her and critiques her behavior found me caring for her anyway.
→Angel’s internet friend, Juliet, took a while to grow on me, but is human as can be - and for that reason I liked her.
→Mac is so annoying, and is clearly written to be annoying, and he still reads as fairly real, which is something to pull off.

Perhaps you’re getting this from my list, but this book has some of the most nuanced character arcs I’ve had the pleasure of reading in recent memory. Almost every character, side or main, has some kind of point A to point B journey.
“That's why people get into fandom and bands and stuff. They just want something to hold on to something that makes them feel good. Even if it's all a big lie.”

There’s a discussion of religion, of outing, of toxic relationships. There’s a huge thread around what we demand of celebrities, especially in terms of privacy and mental health. Making your internet friends real-life friendships… but also keeping that freedom to be weird that makes them so special.

Perhaps the reason I didn’t like this book quite as much is because it very much reads as a slice-of-life; while all the characters grow and change in ways both large and small, they don’t necessarily get satisfying conclusions. This is a style of storytelling that tends to appeal to me somewhat less, and despite knowing this is the point, I admit to wishing for more.

But maybe there’s some value in slice of life - when it comes down to it, this is a book about being okay with not being okay. None of these characters end the book feeling totally okay, but they ended this book just a little better, and there’s something rather valuable.

TW: panic attacks, suicidal ideation, alcoholism, assault, suicide attempt.

⭐️⭐️my first completed book for the fivestarathon!!
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Profile Image for Melanie.
1,173 reviews98.8k followers
September 22, 2018

“Born to survive the storm
Born to survive the flood”

This summer I read Radio Silence by Alice Oseman and it became my favorite contemporary of all-time. I fell so in love with her writing, her characters, and her messages, that I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist picking up something else by her. And I Was Born For This was completely another win for me.

(Art by Alice!) 🌧️

We get to see six characters come together, over the course of a week:

Angel/Fereshteh Rahimi - The biggest fan of The Ark. Eighteen, Muslim, and I felt like they were on the Ace spectrum.

Jimmy Kaga - Lead singer for The Ark. Eighteen, Christian, biracial (Italian and Indian), gay, and trans. Also, Jimmy deals with a lot of anxiety and depression.

Juliet Schwartz - Eighteen and Angel’s best friend that she was introduced to on the internet and is meeting for the first time to see The Ark together.

Lister Bird - The Ark’s drummer. Eighteen, white, bi, pan or some MGA, and I believe is dealing with depression and alcohol abuse.

Bliss Lai - My biracial (Chinese and white) and bisexual queen. And she is sort of the reason Angel and Jimmy’s worlds cross.

Rowan Omondi - Lyricist and cello player for The Ark. Nineteen, Nigerian, Christian, and is secretly dating Bliss so the fandom won’t harass her.

And, as always, Alice Oseman has shined a spotlight on the importance of friendship; both on and offline. Angel is going to London to meet the band who has meant the world to her for many years now. This book is told in alternating perspectives of Angel and Jimmy and we truly get to see the difference between what the fans see and what the band feels.

This book heavily talks about the “good side” of fandoms and the “bad side” of fandoms throughout the entire story. And I’ve never really been obsessed with a “boy band” but I have for been a part of fandoms that have quite literally saved my life. Sometimes you have to put your time, energy, and passion into something other than your “real life” to feel like you belong, and that’s valid. Hell, that’s more than valid; it’s amazing. Angel for sure uses The Ark for escapism and for a sense of belonging, and we get to see the good, the bad, and all the in-between moments.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything except The Ark.”

My biggest problem with this book though does lie with the fact that the fanbase for The Ark (Angel included) really ship Jimmy and Rowan together. And I completely understand that this is a book, but in the setting these fans are shipping real life people together, and it for sure feels like fetishizing a m/m relationship in every sense. And I know that people actually do that in 2018, but it is so gross that it honestly just made me want to take a hot shower and scrub my skin every time Angel and Juliet would talk about it.

I will also say though, the ending of this book was not satisfying for me. I mean, I couldn’t put the book down; I was so captivated and enthralled. I swear, no one writes realistic contemporaries like Alice Oseman and her stories are just so consumable. But this one just left me wanting so much more, but not in a good way. And, selfishly, without spoilers? I wanted Angel to have more confirmed friendships at the end of this book. And I just, I wanted to make sure that everyone was okay. Radio Silence feels open ended sort of, too, but the difference is that it feels satisfying. When I closed the last page of this book, I had a million more questions than the entire time while reading.

But this book, for me, really was a love letter to mental health awareness and how important it is to always put your mental health first. From anxiety, to paranoia, to depression, to just questioning your worth, you have to put yourself first. A lot of the time, people will expect to take more than you are willing to give, and this book really shines a light on the importance of learning and knowing your limits. And how it is okay to say no, or take time for yourself, especially when you are uneasy about something.

“I tend to constantly dread things, even when the ‘things’ aren’t actually dreadful.”

Overall, I still really enjoyed this. I think Alice’s books are honestly going to be classics one day. I truly feel like she captures my current life, current day, better than any author on this planet. And she puts so much in her books, from racial rep, to different religions, to sexual rep, to mental health. I would still recommend this with my entire heart, and I feel like if you have been a part of “boy band culture” you will relate even more than I did. Oh, and I was fucking living for the Joan of Arc tie-ins and mentions. Alice Oseman is a gift to the world.

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Content and trigger warnings for talk of suicide and not wanting to be alive, depression, anxiety depiction, panic attacks, talk of past forced coming out/outing, talk of past loss of a loved one, alcohol abuse, abandonment, parental abandonment, and assault (one scene where a fan performs an act of violence against a band member).

Buddy read with May at Forever and Everly & Lily at Sprinkles of Dreams! ❤
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
547 reviews34.7k followers
February 23, 2021
”Most adults see teenagers as confused kids who don’t understand much, while they’re the pillars of knowledge and experience and know exactly what is right at all times.”

It’s kind of funny how much this quote resonates with me even though I’m an adult in every sense of the word. I go to work, I pay my rent, I buy groceries for my family, I have a kid, ... So how come this book was such a perfect read for me? Well, the truth is, I am an adult but that doesn’t stop me from doing the things I love (for instance writing poetry and reviews) and maybe this has kept me kind of young? I dunno. XD I think I might not be your typical adult but then again who is?

I guess you can already tell that this book made me think a lot and I have so many thoughts and feelings it’s quite a challenge to put them all into words. There were so many topics and situations that spoke to me and no matter if it was Jimmy’s POV as a musician, Angel’s POV as part of the fandom, the diversity and reps or the relationships between all of those lovely characters, I could relate to all of them! *lol* This book reminded me so much of my own youth and my life in general that it almost felt like Alice Oseman wrote it just for me. Like seriously! Alice how do you do this?

I just loved every second of “I Was Born for This” and I never wanted it to end! If you ask me it could have had a 1.000 pages and it still wouldn’t have been enough. XD I have so many thoughts it feels almost impossible to get them all down on paper screen but as always I’ll try my best. ;-) I think I’ll just go with the flow and see where this review is heading. So if you want to read my personal take on fandoms, the characters, music and relationships feel free to join me on this ride. If not, you better don’t continue to read.

The characters:

This is my spoilery spoiler warning and if you haven’t read the book yet, I’d recommend to turn around and to head in the other direction. *lol* Far be it from me to let my fellow readers jump into this unprepared. ;-)

Fereshteh “Angel” Rahimi:

”And I know they’re both worried about my future. They don’t ever say it, but I know they know I’m average and average is disappointing for them. Especially compared to my brother. The pinnacle of ambition and success.”

First of all I have to say how much I loved Angel’s true name! Fereshteh is such a beautiful name and if you ask me I’d have preferred her to go with her real name instead of Angel. <3 This said I really liked Angel and how she always tried to help everyone. She was such a kind and gentle soul and even though she had no idea what she wanted to do in life she was still a very strong character and able to stand up for herself. That argument she had with her parents broke my heart because I was about the same age when I had a similar conflict with my parents and I think they only just realized that I became a person who had its own opinion about things. XD I’m sure one day my kid and I will have such an argument too and I can only hope that she’ll know that I love her no matter what. I’m pretty sure that’s something every child and parent will have to go through. They grow up so fast and they steal your heart the moment you see them. Why am I getting all sappy now? *lol* Never mind! Let’s continue! I kinda liked the scene when Mac confronted Angel about being a “fandom celebrity” because *lol* that’s me whenever some of my GR friends claim that I’m popular on here. (Like what?!) And just for the record: I don’t think I am. I just write my reviews. That’s it. ;-) Or to say it with Angel’s words: “It’s just the internet.” *shrugs* Also I could relate to her feeling average. It’s hard to have an older sibling that is perfect in every sense of the way. Been there, done that, got the freaking t-shirt. *lol* So yeah Angel’s POV really hit home. XD

”Well, I didn’t realise you were some sort of fandom celebrity,” he says with the fakest smile I’ve ever seen.
I laugh at him. “That’s a massive overstatement.”

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci:

”I don’t know who I am. Everything I do feels like a lie. I wake up every day and I have to be Jimmy Kaga-Ricci, this famous guy, and I have to smile at the camera and say hi to people but ... I don’t even know who I am underneath that.”

Jimmy’s struggle is so real! I really liked Jimmy because he felt and thought so much about everything! His anxiety was tough to witness and even though I have no experience with anxiety in the way Jimmy feels it I know exactly how it feels to have a panic attack or a mental breakdown. Jimmy is a truly beautiful person inside and out but I think he had to go through a lot of shit when he came out as transgender and I’m pretty sure that only increased his anxiety. If you’re a public person to come out can be so much worse because everyone and their grandma knows it. And there will always be haters... no matter if you’re a nobody like me or a public person. Shitstorms can be so much worse when you’re the latter though. So it’s no wonder Jimmy almost broke under the pressure and I’m glad he decided to pull in the reins. The Ark came so far, they are popular enough to do what THEY want to do. ;-) I can’t help but wonder if idols or stars really feel like they’re living a lie. I mean there happens a lot that’s off screen and we never get to see it but if they really feel like they’re a fraud that would make me kind of sad. =S Guess we’ll never know.

”No, you don’t fucking know that, Rowan.” I raise my voice. “I’m not going to just sit and wait for things to change any more. I’m changing things. I’m doing what I want for once.”

Lister Bird:

”Why else would anyone want to be around me?” he says. “I’m Lister Bird. Why else would anyone want to be around me other than to get with me?”

Ahh poor Lister! He’s definitely the visual of the group and apparently has many fangirls. It’s no surprise that he’s obviously feeling very lonely though. Jimmy’s and Rowan’s friendship is very strong and he only ended up in the band because he could play drums. So I can totally see why he’d feel left out and not as much a part of the group as the other two. He basically had no one to talk to so it’s no wonder he became a party boy and got drunk. It was his escape from the things he had to deal with but it certainly wasn’t a healthy way to handle the pressure. Many stars seem to go down that road and it makes me really sad whenever I hear that they ended up in rehab. Lister is aware of his problems though so I hope Rowan and Jimmy will help him to find his way back into a life without alcohol.

”Sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean to shout at you. I’m just tired.” He puts the near-empty bottle down on the sink next to me, and then pats me gently on the cheek. “Hey. Jimmy. Sorry.” Then he wraps his arms around my shoulders and hugs me tightly. “Sorry for always being shit.”

The relationships & ships:

Angel & Jimmy:

”As we’re forcing our way out of the crowd, Jimmy clutches onto my hoodie with one hand, like a scared toddler. Is this weird? Probably. I love him more than my own fucking life.

When I visualized their first meeting I definitely didn’t imagine them being scared shitless in a public toilet/bathroom. And I certainly didn’t see Jimmy with a knife in his hands, yet this is exactly what happened. *lol* Oh boy! Whenever I think about that scene I imagine myself meeting BTS in a toilet like that and haha to say it would make me super uncomfortable would be putting it mildly. XD What I know for certain is that I would try to speak with them and to ease their tension though. Angel did a great job considering the circumstances and I really loved her for helping Jimmy the way she did. Because quite honestly, if I would have no kid and no adult life I would help BTS like that too. Or well, even with my kid I’d probably invite them over to my flat and give them a safe space to crash and to calm down. (As long as they don’t tidy up my flat... *lol* Come to think of it 7 pairs of helping hands would be welcome though. ;-P) I know Jimmy’s grandfather would think we only do this because we have no life but I assure you: I have a life and I love and respect myself. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be kind to celebrities I never saw in person though. They are only human and if they are scared I will help them. Period. Angel and Jimmy might have a strange kind of friendship but they are there for each other and this is what counts in the end. The conversation they had about being a part of each other’s truth was really well written and I loved this scene so much. Music is a part of me and the people that make the music I adore are ultimately a part of me as well. So in that sense we’re all connected with our idols somehow. =) It’s a beautiful thought.

”You are ... the damn light of my life,” I tell him. “When everything is bad, when I wake up and want to go back to sleep and never wake up, you’re there for me.”
“I’m not,” he whispers.
“You are.” I swallow nervously. “If you want it to end ... I understand.” I pat my chest. “But ... I guess ... you’re ending a part of me too.”
“Part of you?”
“Without you ... without The Ark ... all I have is my dull life. You’re one of the few things I had in my life that was good and true. You’re part of my truth.”
He blinks. “You’re part of mine too.”

Jimmy & Rowan:

”How you doing, Jimjam?”
“What?” I ask, not understanding the question.
He squeezes my arms, then rubs them soothingly. “Are you calm?”

Now let’s talk about the pic of Rowan and Jimmy sleeping together in their bed. *lol* OR let’s just talk about how close they are as friends! I mean it’s so obvious that they love each other a lot, just not in the way the fandom wants them to. There’s no Jowan, but I really adored their interactions and how much they seemed to care about each other. You can see that they are really close and that they are super comfortable around each other. I’m like that with my besties too and a very cuddly person. (Do whatever you want with that random info. *lol*) So for me to see their strong bond was really nice and even though they argued quite a lot in the ending it was only because they cared so much about each other. =)

”Jesus fucking Christ, I thought you’d been kidnapped. Thank God I still remember your fucking home phone number. God, look at you, sleeping in this tiny bed with a knife on your bedside table. Like, you could hurt yourself. God.”

The fandom rep:

”Neither of us have any friends in real life who like The Ark, but that doesn’t matter, because we have each other. I used to try to get people to talk about The Ark with me – my school friends, my parents, my older brother – but no one really cared.

I loved the interview they gave when they said “the fans like to overthink everything we do” and I had to agree so much! *lol* I mean JK shows his eye tattoo in an episode of RUN and ARMYs be like: OMG!!! WHAT DOES IT MEAN!!?? I’m ARMY myself so I can laugh about this and say that we’re all clowns. *lol* Anyway, what I want to say with this is that the fandom rep was so damn on spot I can’t even! Haha! Alice Oseman captured it so well and I loved that by inventing Juliet and Angel she also gave room to the fandom side that’s not just screaming and fainting fangirls/boys. You’d be surprised about how many of us are actually normal people that just love our boys and their music. XD If I’d get a chance to spend a day with BTS I’d probably just hang out with them, eat good food, play silly games and talk about God and the world. Maybe I could even persuade them to play guitar or e-bass with me? *lol* So yeah, pretty normal stuff. Also since my kid is so little she’d probably be the star in the room and they’d play and goof around with her. XD Because no matter how famous they are, they are still normal (okay, they are perfect!) people and I totally agree with the sentiment that they feel like they are my friends. In difficult times their music helps me to get through the day and they always make me smile which is pretty amazing. =) So if you ever come to Austria and read this BTS, write me and I’ll invite you over for a schnitzel and potato salad. Considering the dumpling incident I better don’t invite you for roast pork and dumplings though. *lol* ;-P

”They’re not like normal musicians. It feels like they’re our friends and they understand us and care about us.”

The musician rep:

”A lot of them only like us because we have nice faces. But as long as we are here, the three of us, and we get to make music, and we get to live this life – playing our music in a new city every week, bringing smiles to millions of faces, leaving our mark upon the world – then everything is good, and fine, and okay.”

As a former member of a band to read this rep made me very happy. It was so accurate and I think in the end we all just want to make music and to hang out together. A band is like a family. You spend so much time with your members that you know each other’s habits, hopes and fears. Sometimes you’ll be stuck together for weeks but you don’t care because as long as you’re together and making music everything is alright. You hug, you cry, you comfort each other, you hang out together, you cuddle, you laugh and joke. And you’re very close to each other and have a unique bond which many fans will ship because they think there has to be more to it. *lol* I don’t even know how many people shipped my bestie and me during band times but since even one of our teachers shipped us... well you get the idea. *lol* He was always just my bestie though. Like a brother. We went through thick and thin and even though our band doesn’t exist anymore (he moved to Germany) and we both have a family and lives that keep us busy, we’re still close and stay in contact. This said the musician rep of “I Was Born for This” was perfect and felt really personal. <3 So thank you Alice for writing it in this book! =)

”The three of us ... we were born to be together,” I say. “And I can’t leave that. I don’t want to leave that.”


This book was made for me! I loved it so much and I’m sure it will always be one of my all-time favourites. =) The way Alice Oseman captured fandoms, showed the lives of musicians and represented anxiety was amazing and as always her character cast was super diverse. I’m so glad Alice writes books and I’ll continue to read everything she publishes. She has a rare gift and I’m thankful she shares it with the world. XD

Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.5k followers
July 16, 2018
*hugs myself* I adored this. Reminded me of what it’s like to be a part of a fandom in the best way. Also that there are always two sides to a fandom and you never really know what anyone is going through (which is v cheesy but also v true so HUSH). My heart is so happy after finishing this one 🧡
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,048 reviews1,381 followers
July 5, 2019
“I think the truth is that everyone in the entire world is confused and nobody understands much of anything at all.”

🌟 This is my first novel by Alice Oseman and I did not know what to expect. I heard great things about her books but I finally understand why is she such a successful person.

🌟 The writing was good, I read the whole thing in almost 1 day and I think this kind of prose works best for contemporaries where it is good but not too poetic as to be distracting. I always read contemporaries when I want to take a break from fantasy so I like it to be light when I do so.

🌟 The characters in this book are so diverse and that was probably my favorite thing about this book. We have Angel as the main character, she is Muslim, she is Hijabi and she is one of the biggest fans of a boy band. Angel may have the best Muslim representation I ever read! I read other Muslim characters by Muslim authors and I was disappointed because the authors tried so hard and ruined the rep! Angel however, was so easy to read and so humane! The author did not need to remind us of her being a Muslim constantly, the character was just a normal person living a normal life, she does her prayers and she did not want a guy to see her without a Hijab, but other than that she was just an ordinary person and Muslims are like that. We are normal people who read, who sing, who dance and who fanboys over bands! Only a small portion of us are extremists and there are people like them in all religions!

🌟 There is also Jimmy, A gay trans guy who is like the main boy in the band, it was also good to read a representation of this kind that was well done! He also suffers from Anxiety and as someone who lives with anxiety, I could relate to that. My point is that there was so much diversity in the book but it never felt like it was forced and it rather fits perfectly into a real life mold.

🌟 The book discusses the power of a boyband but it could be any fandom IRL. I think it showed that it was okay to be a fan of something but it also showed that there are other things in life and that we should not lose ourselves completely into something. There is a certain balance that needs to be achieved!

“That's why people get into fandom and bands and stuff. They just want something to hold on to something that makes them feel good. Even if it's all a big lie.”

🌟 Summary: So this is apparently a well written book that deals with some heavy objects and diversity. It was enjoyable and helpful. I aw other reviewers mention this and I agree with them that the ending was kind of unsatisfying and left a few unanswered questions! I still recommend this book and I will be reading Alice's other books for sure.
Profile Image for Romie.
1,094 reviews1,270 followers
August 10, 2019
“They felt like the reason I was born was to . . . love them.”

You know when your favourite writer comes up with a new book, you always get both excited and terrified, because what if this book isn’t what you had expected it to be? But then it turns out even better. Because of course it’s better than expected, your favourite writer wrote it. I think Alice Oseman is brillant. I think her books are out of this world. And I cannot wait to read all the books she will write in the future, because if there is one author I deeply trust, it’s her.

This story is written from both Angel and Jimmy’s perspective and it adds honestly so much to the story. It’s not just a story with two main characters and their paths cross. It’s more than that. Angel is a 18-years-old hijabi and she lives for The Ark, she would die for the members of this boy band. Jimmy is a 19-years-old biracial transgender guy, and he’s one of the three members of The Ark. Let me stop you even before you start thinking about a potential love story between these because nope, it’s not going to happen. Jimmy is gay and Angel “probably would go out with a girl, but I don’t really ever get crushed on anyone, so I just don’t know what I am right now, to be honest.” This isn’t a story about them falling in love, so relax — sounds like something I’ve already said about Radio Silence to my friends lol.

Angel is part of The Ark fandom, Jimmy is part of the band. Two perspectives, one story. While Angel only sees the perfect part of being famous, only sees her idols and their smiles, Jimmy is living the reality, and the reality isn’t always pretty. This book deals with what it means to be a fan, to be so obsessed and in love with something that you cannot stop thinking about something else and your life ends up revolving around it. Angel loves The Ark, it’s her reason to wake up every day, it’s why she smiles … she doesn’t really know who she is if she isn’t part of this huge fandom. Jimmy obviously loves The Ark as well, but the fame that came with being part of worsened his anxiety disorder, made his panic attacks more and more frequent. When Angel sees Jimmy with a smile on his face, she doesn’t that he’s internally screaming, this is why this dual perspective is brillant, it allows us to know the real story.

This story is also about friendships made on the internet. To meet their idols and go to one of their concerts, Angel and her online friend Juliet decide to meet for the first time in real life and spend the week together at Juliet’s grandma’s house. It’s both of them realising people aren’t necessarily the same on internet or irl, and it’s okay, because some of people are way more confident on the internet and shy when they have to talk to someone face to face.

It may not be that amazing for you, but this book has two bisexual side characters and I loved them with all my heart. Bliss and Lister were absolutely amazing, and I was happy to see myself represented in them because they’re the absolute best. Then we have Rowan, the third member of our band, and he’s probably the one who took me the longest time to like, but I understand where he’s coming from and I respect him.

This book owns my heart, pretty much like every book Alice Oseman has ever written. And I’m okay with that.

Thank you so much Harper Collins for providing me a physical arc in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Bryce Rocks My Socks.
392 reviews620 followers
May 13, 2022
"And the saddest thing about you fans is that you don't care about yourselves. You would give your lives for these boys. They practically keep you alive. But beneath that, and if you took all that away, you fundamentally do not value yourself."

...wait is this fucking play about us?
Profile Image for Lucy Tonks.
503 reviews741 followers
June 16, 2021
"That's why people get into fandom and bands and stuff. They just want to hold on to something that makes the feel good. Even if it's all a big lie."

This was not as good as Radio Silence or Solitaire, but still a solid book. Alice Oseman never fails. This was a really good book. It's not one for everybody, though.

TW: anxiety, panic attacks, smoking (more in depth trigger warnings on Alice Oseman's website)

I love the overall plot of the story, although I feel like if this was just from Jimmy's POV I would have liked this book so much more. I really did not like Angel. She only started to warm up to me in the last fifty pages. She was so selfish for most of the book. Even though, she was saying that she was doing a good thing, a right thing, most of them were because of selfish reasons. And most of her chapters were pretty boring in my opinion. Jimmy on the other hand, I loved so much! I realated with Jimmy so much more than with Angel (which is weird since Angel is technically the fangirl, but moving on). I related more with Jimmy becasue he is this quiet person, who always overthinks everything and a lot of times when the anxiety was getting to him, I literally felt like I was in his place. To be completely honest, I think if we only followed Jimmy's POV, I might have rated this 5 stars.

I loved the friendship between the boys. Between Jimmy, Rowan and Lister. I wish we got more of it and it had more development, especially Jimmy and Lister's. I wish that the relationship between the two of them was more explored, especially since the author had so many opportunities to do so. I really want a sequel because of that. I don't really care about Angel, I just want a sequel that it focused on Jimmy, Rowan and Lister and what they are doing after the end of this book. There are so many directions that Alice could follow if she ever writes a sequel (although, I highly doubt that she will write another book following this characters, but you never know) [edit: i checked on the author's social media and she said that she is working for a sequel *squeals* ]

This was an amazing book, not my favourite by this author, but nonetheless a great book, that deserves so much more hype, as all the books by Alice Oseman do!
Profile Image for Abbie (boneseasonofglass).
293 reviews351 followers
April 15, 2018
I generally really enjoyed this book! It wasn't quite as good as Radio Silence in my opinion, that one is still my favourite of Alice's!
But the book was still really well written! She's such a talented author

What I liked about this book:
- Hijabi main character, half indian main character, Nigerian supporting characters (poc all around!)
- Bisexual, trans male, and Gay characters
- Great portrayal of anxiety
- Alice just writes such great characters that just feel so real
- I love how the characters develop over the book and how they kind of 'find themselves'
- Portrayal of the good and bad sides of fandom culture
- Character friendships
- Positive portrayal of internet friendships

What I didn't like
- the general plot just wasn't quite for me, I can't quite explain it, i liked the characters journeys, but there was just something about the plot that I can't quite explain, I just wasn't quite feeling it haha, which is the only reason I knocked off a star!
Profile Image for may ➹.
494 reviews2,070 followers
August 17, 2018
I still secretly want to marry Alice Oseman and/or her writing so jot that down

not quite sure if this is 4 or 4.5 stars, and Radio Silence was better for me, but I really liked this and all the characters!

// buddy read with the Alice Oseman BR squad
Profile Image for Rudolf IX.
37 reviews
March 4, 2021
Alice Oseman has a knack for writing very likeable, lovely characters, a very good grasp on internet culture, and, more importantly, how to write about it.

In her earlier novels, you could already see certain... themes. She likes queer people and mental illness, and mentally ill queer people. Since it's young adult fiction, the protagonists have to be oddball outsiders who are into weeeiiiiird things like THE INTERNET :0

Solitaire was a good young adult novel. It was endearing and it really did come close to being a sort of Catcher In The Rye for the Digital Age, as the endlessly reiterated review quote goes. It was fresh (by which I mean to say naive in the best possible way, as was John Green's Looking for Alaska), it had lovely characters and the story was alright. Young adult novels are best judged superficially.

Now, two books later, the novelty has worn off. I have tired of the oversaturation of internet culture, and I can no longer willingly suspend my disbelief over everyone being gay and bi and trans, not because these people were looking for others like them but just... accidentally. A result, I am sure, of the fandomsphere's obsession with boys kissing!!! omigod they r sooo cute!!!, a really warped and immature perspective on sexuality which is to be expected of the young teenagers who write fanfiction, but not by a professional writer. People don't just looove each other sooo sooo much and then they kiss and fall in love. They aren't sitting quietly in their bedchambers, patiently awaiting their knight in shining armor. Life is not a fairy tale. People don't have wholesome thoughts, they fantasize, they watch porn, they masturbate, they fuck. In a world of gnomes and talking animals, I can easily suspend my disbelief. In a world of teenage girls constantly saying obscenities and drooling over hot boyz, I cannot. I can't ignore the reality of sexuality (especially the horrors of teen sexuality) when a novel constantly tells me how mature and woke it is. This woman is 24 years old, can't she give us a more mature look at teenage life? You can do that without alienating your teenaged audience, you know.

This novel is meant to criticize the tendency of certain fans to develop a violently unintellectual fixation (fuelled by parasocial fantasies and social media addiction) on one thing, and one thing only, in this case, a boy band. In the beginning, you wonder where Oseman (who seems to write (at least in part) from experience) will go with that, since it's such a huge part of internet culture seldomly examined outside of fandoms themselves, but after some time, the protagonist's endless repetition of phrases along the lines of OMG I LIKE THE ARK SO MUCH becomes exhausting and starts to feel like a very, very hamfisted way of telling the reader that fandom culture is unhealthy and involves creepy fixations on real people and is very bad indeed.

Moreover, I just have a hard time having to follow the internal monologue of one of those truly horrible people who find reading the same books or listening to the same albums or watching the same movie/TV series again and again a meaningful way to spend their time. In the case of our protagonist, it is compulsively tracking her idols' (members of a Five Seconds of Summer-esque boy band called The Ark) every move. She never really comes to realise that maybe it would enrich her life to consume other media for a change, only that the band members are real people with real people problems.

In this book, the characters' social media obsession has not made them feel realistic and relatable, but rather very bland. Oseman writes about being on Tumblr and on Twitter, sharing memes and texting, but very little about her characters' intellectual pursuits, or personality, for that matter, which is most evident in the protagonist. Our main character does not exist outside the internet, to the point that not even her personal life or interests are mentioned.

Yes, that's kind of what the novel is about. She has "no life" outside of fandom, taking that common phrase of prideful self-deprecation among internet nerds to a literal level in an ill-conceived effort to deconstruct it, not as a critique of the culture industry which lights and fans the flames of this psychotically frantic consumption of media, or to show the alienation of technology, but rather to repeat that most common of commonplaces: looking at your phone too much... is BAD! This profound insight could be gained by just calling up your mum, you don't need to read a novel of a few hundred pages. This book wants so badly to be subversive yet it ends up being almost reactionary.

With no real understanding of the wider social/societal/systemic causes and implications of media addiction, the book falls completely flat, and the reader is constantly grappling with glaringly obvious, very banal questions. Since having "no life" is just a figure of speech, surely she must do SOMETHING besides being on the internet? If she's so deeply into fandom, does she have a favorite TV show, game, anime, celebrity or book? Does she even read? Does she have feelings of any kind that are not related to The Ark? If yes, what are they? If not, why? How does that impact her lived experience? (I am truly grateful, however, that this protagonist doesn't have a love interest. No absurd romance subplot in YA, who woulda thunk it?) We are told she hasn't been in love before. How does that make her feel, besides "lol"? Is she asexual/-romantic? How does that impact her life? In the same way, Jimmy is trans and gay, but the only thing we know about his experience is him feeling kind of weird about being outed to an international audience at 16, and little things like injecting testosterone. I imagine being trans and having transitioned to be a huge, huge deal. My being gay is already a big deal to me, but it is far less stigmatised than transgenderism, and at no point did it involve altering my body, so I am fairly confident in saying that this must play a bigger part in his life than we are told. We get it, she really likes that band, but when she says something along the lines of "They help me get out of bed when I feel miserable" or "They make my stupid boring life worth living", I would maybe... like to know why she feels that way? I want to see some personality besides "outsider, fangirl, muslim and nice person". That's not even a vague approximation of a character.

I don't want to say this, because I liked Alice Oseman's work before, but this book was just a bland mish-mash of the worst flaws of young adult literature.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
851 reviews3,883 followers
February 15, 2021
4.5 stars. I didn't know that listening to I Was Born For This in the train would annihilate my resting bitch face but even though I've spent hours smiling and tearing up and giggling in PUBLIC, (and can we acknowledge how WORST it is when we're listening to a book because people literally do not know what the fuck we're doing) it was so, so worth it. For a book dealing with masks, who we really are and where we belong, it seems fitting somehow^^. Highly recommended (and the audio performance is fantastic!) My only complaint is that I really want to listen to the Ark now, and that's frustrating lmao.

RTC (probably when I reread it on paper, sorry)

I am not afraid, said Noah
I was born for this
Born to survive the storm
Born to survive the flood

TW- panic attacks, anxiety, suicide ideation, alcoholism, assault, suicide attempt


For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Kiki.
197 reviews8,524 followers
May 20, 2018
Probably more of a 3.5 but I suspect that has a lot to do with my total disinterest in contemporary novels. It's always the same. It was the same with Sandhya Menon's lovely When Dimple Met Rishi. Like this one, it was a very nice, soothing story with great characters, but just not 100% my jam. I just don't think it's fair to rate a novel lower because I personally cannot be arsed with the contemporary genre. That's not on the book; it's on me.

But this was a very sweet, heartful little book, and the characters were easy to get behind. Was it always believable? No, but I'm not really looking to read a book that's the same as real life. Real life is boring and messy and exhausting and it's full of irritating moments that aren't ever resolved. They just stay irritating forever. That's adulthood for you.

I'm not the target audience, and I'm aware of that. For teens, I'm sure this book will resonate really deeply. The representation was carefully, thoughtfully done. It's a bit too long, and it's also bougie as hell, but I imagine teens don't want to read about scrambling around for pennies for the bus or trying to make dinner out of a packet of Space Raiders and a questionable onion or showing the whites of your eyes whenever you glance at your bank statement. That's fine. This book holds enough social weight as it is, and it holds it very well. It's clear that a lot of care and attention was paid to the details of the representation and that's very valuable.

The family relationships were beautifully crafted, as were the friendships. It's a cool, exciting take on fame and fandom, and the two protagonists had very distinctive voices that were easy to become invested in. I listened to this on audio, and the narrators were absolutely phenomenal. They made for a smooth, easy listening little treat on a Sunday afternoon while I sat in the lukewarm bathtub and worried about the water-damaged floor. Why does it creak so loudly?

I'd say this is perfect for people who enjoy contemporary novels. Nicely written, easy to read, well characterised, and the audiobook was a goddamn feast for the ears. I want the dude narrator to give constant commentary on my life.

Imagine it. "She stared longingly out of the smudgy office window, in soul many miles away. And the constant thought remained there, an ever-present ghost haunting the halls of her mind: Why is the bathroom floor so creaky?"
Profile Image for Darcey.
994 reviews207 followers
July 12, 2020

this was so much darker and so much more intense than i thought it would be!! it spoke about a lot of major issues which was really interesting, and the representation was amazing.

i'm so glad my babe Ash made me read this, it was really influential and made me consider things i hadn't before. thanks hon!
Profile Image for Aleksandra.
1,460 reviews
May 10, 2018
No rating.

No giving the book a star rating is rare for me and I'll get to whys in a minute, but first I need to say this.
I Was Born For This is exceptional contemporary novel about teens and fandom and music. Alice Oseman just gets it, the fandom and this culture in all its glory and pain and struggles. She created a masterfully written novel, the writing, the plot composition, the realness of the events! The protagonists are 18 year old hijabi brown girl who's a fan of The Ark and 19 year old biracial (South-Asian-Italian) trans gay guy, who's a singer in The Ark boy band. The novel isn't about their identities, it's about fandom and love and music. Alice Oseman has grown so much as a writer since her debut novel Solitaire.

I do recommend to read the book, because:
a) It's a great read
b) It's a mirror of harmful fandom moments and people need to see it and to adjust their behavior
c) It's a great story about friendships, I'm sure everyone who's ever be in a fandom will find joyful and relatable moments in the book.
d) The book has many diverse character and the author has done a great job!

To elaborate on things I enjoyed in the book:
(yes I like making lists when I'm nervous, shush)

• The plot is so so good! The story composition of two separate plot lines weaving together works especially great here because we are able to see two sides of the fandom: the band and the fandom for them, the artists and the fans. It gives a unique perspective of following both of these stories, seeing them as real people. If it were one-sided the message wouldn't work.
And I believe the message of the novel is Stop being a dick to your fellow humans you dick . Probably not in that words, exactly...

The diverse cast of characters! Lovable, infuriating, complex realistic characters. The two povs have unique voice, the personalities come through on the page.

Fereshteh "Angel" Rahimi is a fangirl of boy band The Ark, it's her main love and joy in life. She's average at studies, she's going to average university and she's okay with it. She has The Ark.
I love her relationship with her parents. It's a loving realistic portrayal of family dynamics. Angel and Juliet friendship has gone through ups and downs in the book. It's been entertaining to follow them.
I love that Angel doesn't know her sexuality, she says she doesn't get crushes but she might be willing to go out with the girl. Angel is 18 and she doesn't pay too much attention to figuring out her sexuality, and it's fine, I haven't met any characters like her in fiction before.
I like Angel, but ironically her behavior made me super uncomfortable and it's the reason I'm confused about how to rate the book. But later about it.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci is the other protagonist. He's a singer in the most popular boy band in Europe (soon to be the world?). He loves music, he has wanted to be in a band since he was a kid. And he did it with his best friend Rowan and his pal Lister. But fame, constant pressure etc haven't gone without consequences. Jimmy has panic attacks and severe anxiety. He's prone to paranoia. The fame that brought money, amazing opportunities, also brought insatiable fans and pressure to perform more, do more interviews. He doesn't have me-time anymore. It's important that he realizes how privileged he is, but it doesn't make his struggle less real. And being trans gay in famous band brings all type of humans, trash humans including.

The other two band members are Rowan and Lister. Rowan is black straight guy, he's very caring and responsible. Rowan & Jimmy friendship is precious. I love that Rowan wears dresses to perform. Screw toxic masculinity, am I right. Lister is bisexual disaster and I love him. Lister loves partying, he won several The Sexiest Man alive awards by various magazines. Also Lister is an alcoholic. It's addressed and discussed in text. Lister is from single parent family, he grew up poor and having resources to support his mother is important to him.

The book has a whole cast of amazing characters. I loved Juliet and Bliss, who are friends of Angel. Mac is the epitome of straight white dude, it would be fun if it's weren't so painful and cringey. I love the casual use of they/them pronouns, it was literally just one sentence but it warms my heart.

Special shoutout to Jimmy's grandfather who's the best granddad ever.

• The writing is flowing so naturally and beautifully. It's so easy to read, the language the character use is very appropriate for their age. Alice Oseman gets all of the aspects of writing teen characters.

• The portrayal of fandoms, fandom culture, toxic and marvelous aspects of being part of the fandom is very accurate. I'm sure the book will be a fun read for both fandom and non-fandom readers.
Personally I've never been part of a band fandom or any real life celebrities fandoms, it was interesting to see that part of the Internet.

• In many aspects a wholesome book, I would call it a must-read of 2018 if you like contemporaries, fluffy, fun and serious.

• The idea of maybe giving as much love to their own selves as they give to the fandom. Love thyself.

• The religious themes, the religious main characters (Muslim & Christian).

And why haven't I given the book shining 5 star rating?
The issue mostly lies in the first 40% of the book. Real people shipping is gross. Imagining real people in a relationship, getting all intense about it is not okay. Supporting couples who are openly in a relationship is one thing, but creating those romantic scenarios and then getting furious when the people whom you are shipping with each other don't deliver.
It is harmful. It is dehumanizing.
Angel is a shipper of Jowan aka Rowan + Jimmy. It made me so uncomfortable reading about her going on and on about it, especially after reading Jimmy's pov chapters and seeing how much hurt that shipping is doing to them.
The author clearly doesn't approve of it. The whole story is based on it not being okay. Angel stops at once when she realizes that it's not going to be "canon" ever. I don't want to go into many details because spoilers.
Angel sees the harm that thing has done. But for so many pages I cringed and suffered. I can't bring myself to give the book high rating. It's that personal pet peeve that I just can't stand. Maybe if it wasn't as constant as it were, I wouldn't mind...

Is it a valid reason to not give the book a rating? Yes, because it's my review and my rating and my feelings and I can do what I want.
I don't want to give a book a low rating because it doesn't deserve it.

After writing at such length about good aspects of the novel, I'm sad my impression of the book has been ruined, but I want possible readers of my review be informed on The Good so they'll pick the book and give Alice Oseman their love.

I might come back to this book and this review and reconsider things, but not today.
Profile Image for clem.
526 reviews377 followers
April 17, 2019
"I was born for this, born to survive the storm, born to survive the flood”



I wonder if Alice Oseman will ever write a bad book. Seriously, it’s the third book I’ve read of hers, and each of them are unique and raw and fuzzy. I Was Born for this tells the story of Angel, a fangirl who’s about to meet her favourite band, the arck, for the first time. Through the story, we see her engage with other fans and think about what it means to be a fan. At the same time, we follow Jimmy, a musician of the Arck who’s prone to panic attacks and paranoia. We see both of these characters evolve in parallel as they question themselves and their lives.

"I don't know who I am. Everything I do feels like a lie."

It’s another real and touching read from Alice Oseman who keeps on hitting the mark on every occasion. She reflects on important points for our generations who often feel unheard by our elders and she understands us. She listens to us. She creates characters who look, and act, and think, and feel like us. It’s refreshing and at haunting at the same time.

"In an otherwise mediocre existence, we choose to feel passion."

I think the characters were incredibly well-developed. Oseman clearly knows who she’s writing and who she’s writing for. The plot was enticing which made the book incredibly hard to put down. The writing style was real, and it felt like you really were inside a teenager’s head.

"Friends come and go. Right? I've been through this already, so many times before. Friends are good for a while, but eventually, you have to move on 'best friends forever' is an imaginary concept. No one can be friends forever."

I felt like the description of mental illness and severe anxiety was well executed, although I don’t personally suffer from it in the same way, it seems to be what most of the anxious community goes through.

"Everyone's normal, everyone's weird, everyone's just trying to deal with their own life and keep calm and carry on. And hold on to something that'll keep them going. That's why people get into fandom and bands and stuff. They just want to hold on to something that makes them feel good. Even if it's all a big lie."

I only had one tiny minor problem with I Was Born For This: the end. While the entire story was hard to put down, the end dragged a bit and felt too close for my taste. I felt a bit let-down compared to the open ending we got in Radio Silence.

“Most adults see teenagers as confused kids who don't understand much, while they're the pillars of knowledge and experience and know exactly what is right at all times. I think the truth is that everyone in the entire world is confused and nobody understands much of anything at all.”

In overall, this book teaches that you need to take time for yourself, mental-health isn’t something to be neglected. In the end, health is the only thing that really matters and I was Born For This embodies that perfectly.

"I was born for this, born to survive the storm, born to survive the flood."
May 25, 2019
"That’s why people get into fandom and bands and stuff. They just want to hold on to something that makes them feel good. Even if it’s all a big lie."

IWBFT is now one of my favorite books of all time and my fav of the year. I love all the topics addressed in the book, and the fact that we have dual POV is even better.

Everything that I loved:

* Fandom Culture
* Boyband
* Online friends
* Diversity
* Anxiety rep

Basically I just love this book so much and everyone should read it!

"‘Anxiety,’ I say. ‘I’m anxious.’ ‘About what?’ I laugh and shake my head. ‘Not how it works. We’ve been through this.’ ‘Yeah, but, like, everything has a cause and effect.’ ‘Anxiety is the cause and the effect. Double-whammy.’".
Profile Image for Katarina.
842 reviews81 followers
August 6, 2021
idk man i just really did not vibe with it and i didn't like it whatsoever

first and foremost - the depiction of fandom in this is just awful. and i'm not necessarily talking from the aspect of the fans themselves (though a LOT can be said about that, because the versatility of fans and the nuances of fandom just do NOT exist in this book AT ALL, only to serve a point that isn't well-executed but more on that later), rather i want to talk about the absolutely abhorrent way every single one of the boys talks about their fans as a collective. they hate them. they downright hate every single one. and that's where the nuance is missing. i understand that each fandom has the weird, toxic, delusional, stalker fans. the obsessive ones. those who can, at times, even be dangerous. but the ONLY portrayals we see of fans in this book and specifically when it comes to their relationship with the boys is pretty much the downright crazy delusional kind. this gave me an incredibly awful feeling in my stomach as i read. angel and juliet could be the exemptions, but then again only because their interactions happen so far into the book that even they have stopped caring, but most of all every single interaction is just MESSY and BAD. it's up to the point where the only thoughts jimmy has about his fans is that they're going to kill him. the only interactions he has with them is where he's a dick. and look, i get it - he has paranoia and anxiety disorder. he is mentally ill. I GET IT. but man, that whole storyline ends up completely unresolved.

that brings me to another issue i'll quickly jump to, and it's that this book has NO resolution. NOTHING gets resolved. and i understand if this is like ~real life but, babes, this is a BOOK. does jimmy go to therapy and get better? how does the ark continue? how the fuck is this entire issue explained? does lister go to rehab? does he recognize and acknowledge that he is an alcoholic? what about lester's feelings for jimmy? DO THEY STILL HATE THEIR FANS? what truly are juliet's feeling about being kicked out? could she ever reconcile with her parents? how do we see her passion for stage design? what are angel's actual other interests? she is depressed, does she start therapy? NOTHING IS ANSWERED !!! AT ALL !!!!!!

anyways, i understand that the main point oseman tried to make with this book was that you have to love yourself and you should have different interests in life and shouldn't resort to parasocial relationships to be the one light of your life because it's unhealthy. and to an extent, she's right. she's accurate in portraying how fans don't really know the person they love. they make up their own characterizations and stories and relationships as if they're not real people but a television show. and that's wrong and bad and i personally cringe very deeply and avoid this like the plague. but WHERE'S THE NUANCE? fandom has pulled me from some very dark places. sometimes, i did live just to get to the next week for another episode of doctor who. things were THAT shit, mate. but it brought me actual online friends who i've known for a better part of a decade (or even a whole decade even !!!! thank you twitter !!!!) and i know if they have siblings and i've seen them go through highschool and graduate from college and get a job !!!!! i've talked them off as many cliffs as they did me, i've ranted in their dms and whatsapp messages and i've heard their darkest moments and issues they've had and angel not having done the same with juliet is unrealistic. it's unrealistic that angel is THAT selfish and THAT focused on the ark when she herself said she WAS CULTIVATING A FRIENDSHIP. i couldn't connect to that.

to continue on the characters - mental health and personal issues and struggles doesn't a personality make. there's nothing that makes any of these charaters stand out, other than the muslim rep. i don't know their journeys really, nor do i know their personality at all. they're only separated by their diagnoses and role in the band. that's literally it. even for all the talk of family, we don't really get a lot of familial moments with the band members who are almost always in conflict, or isolated in some other way (mostly by their mental health issues tbh).

literally every aspect of this book is just depressing and sad. there's no joy. there's no passion or drive or even love. everyone's miserable and participating in a tragedy contest. things just continue getting messy and chaotic and spiralling deeper and deeper. it was truly exhausting to read, and there was no catharsis or a feeling of satisfaction once i was finished. so much of it was predictable that it made for a very boring and disappointing read.

i could probably rant about this more but it's 2am and i'm just really fucking disappointed that this was my first journey into alice oseman. hopefully it only gets better from here? anyways for all the hype radio silence at least better fucking deliver or i'm revoking all of y'all's internet access. try me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for sarah.
404 reviews270 followers
May 29, 2021
I actually really really loved this book?

I'm not sure why that fact makes me so surprised considering Alice Oseman is one of my favourite authors, but for some reason I was honestly expecting this book to be mediocre. Maybe it was the fandom element (which I often find cringey in books), or the boy band thing (which I was never really into), but I lowered my expectations significantly before picking it up. Turns out there was no need because Alice Oseman can do no wrong.

I listened to this book on audiobook, which I would highly recommend. There aren't any special effects or extra narrators or anything, but it is simple and performed well. I was engaged the entire time while listening, and when I wasn't listening- I wanted to be.

I can't put my finger on exactly why, despite all the elements I usually dislike reading, I so thoroughly enjoyed this book. Maybe it was the characters, who all felt so real and flawed. Maybe it was the relationship dynamics between everyone involved- complicated and messy. Maybe it was the diversity that made this seemingly unexceptional book, well, exceptional.

I am so excited to read Loveless, the last of Oseman's novels I have yet to read. But I am also scared to read it because after that I will have to wait who knows how long until the next one.
Profile Image for Helena (helenareadsxx).
204 reviews195 followers
July 2, 2022
I am not one for reading books with bands in, I'm not really sure why but the boyband idea for me is usually a hard pass. However, Oseman did a really good job at highlighting the realities of fame and how it can affect those in the spotlight. Please do check trigger warnings as there is heavy material in here.
Profile Image for theresa.
302 reviews4,372 followers
December 28, 2021
loved this!!

the inside vs outside perspectives on fame and being in a band were so interesting to read and i loved the look at fandom too!
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