Thursday, January 3, 2013

Jack and Yani Love HP

Jack and Yani Love Harry Potter
by Mary E. Twomey
Recommended Ages: 14+

Here is a fun romantic novel about 20- and 30-somethings caught up in a swirl of "fandoms," from Peewee Herman to Fringe, from Anne Rice's vampire novels to Twilight, from a San Diego comic-con to a blog about candy bars, and of course, Harry Potter. Jack and Yani have been across-the-hallway best friends since the day she shared his calculus textbook in college. Though they have their differences—for example, she is a messy follower of pop-culture phenomena like Harry Potter and Twilight, while he is a neat freak who reads serious literature and can quote Kerouac while drunk—they complete each other. All their friends know it. They just haven't admitted it to themselves. Yet.

Then Jack throws a surprise 30th-birthday party for Yani, and she suddenly realizes that she needs to see about making her dreams come true before it's too late. And so Jack wakes up to a note telling him that she's gone on a road trip by herself, hoping to forget that she is in love with him. At first dragged along by their mutual friends, then spurred by his own desperate urgency, Jack chases after her in a madcap tour of fandom tourist traps.

While Yani fulfills her lifelong dreams and finds nothing but an empty feeling of loneliness, Jack survives Vominator videos, unwitting brushes with real-life celebrities, a whirlwind romance between two of his friends, several roadkill funerals, and a series of audiobooks that make believers of an SUV full of Harry Potter and Twilight doubters—all while traveling three-quarters of the way around the continental U.S. with something like the cast of The Hangover.

Sympathetic fangirls (and fanboys) are sure to laugh at their high jinks, go "Awww" over their romances, blush at a bit of naughtiness, and squirm with envy of their experiences at ComicCon and elsewhere. You may even feel a nifty bite of suspense now and then. Many of us will relate to the heady blend of pride and embarrassment, boldness and goofiness that true fans can feel when sharing their enthusiasms with strangers, or even with their not-so-enthusiastic friends. Some of us may even share fond memories of experiencing the Harry Potter audiobooks and videos together, and seeing the light of fandom dawning in each other's eyes.

I, for one, was impressed by the way the entries in Jack and Yani's joint candy-criticism blog jived with the stages of their soulful love story—to say nothing of their good taste in selecting Zagnut as the best candy bar ever. Like that delicious but under-appreciated treat, this book is nutty but winsomely sweet, bringing several distinctive flavors into a satisfying balance. This will be less surprising when you realize that this is not Mary Twomey's first novel. Here, for example is some information about her quartet of space fantasy novels. If she's not careful, she may find herself being followed by a fandom of her own.

MuggleNet thanks this book's author and publisher for making a free PDF of the novel available for review. If you would like to buy the book for your Kindle, please visit Amazon.

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