4.2 7
by Ken Baker

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While staring you straight in the eye, far above the tips of her Toms, Josie Brant would swear that she does not like Peter Maxx, the teen sensation who causes every girl within a 100-foot radius to scream at ear-shattering decibels. Even if Josie may completely, totally, and unequivocally be his biggest fan.

So when Josie finds out her best friend has won a


While staring you straight in the eye, far above the tips of her Toms, Josie Brant would swear that she does not like Peter Maxx, the teen sensation who causes every girl within a 100-foot radius to scream at ear-shattering decibels. Even if Josie may completely, totally, and unequivocally be his biggest fan.

So when Josie finds out her best friend has won a contest to meet Peter by stealing one of Josie’s songs, Josie is overwhelmingly shocked and upset—some of which flies out the window when Ashley introduces Josie to Peter as well. And suddenly, in a whirlwind of Tweets, IMs, texts, and phone calls, Josie finds herself in the middle of a flirtatious friendship that has the potential for complete harmony. But just when everything seems pitch-perfect, the paparazzi flashbulbs explode, along with any notion of a fairy-tale romance.

Author Ken Baker, E! Channel’s Chief News Correspondent, uses his inside knowledge to craft a novel authentic to the teen pop idol experience with sincere heart and humor.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Baker, a correspondent for E! Enter-tainment Television, makes his YA debut with a fun, pop culture–saturated romance filled with song lyrics, IM chats, text messages, and hashtags. Fourteen-year-old Josie Brant’s loner life is turned upside-down when her BFF Ashley wins a contest using a song Josie wrote. The prize is meeting 16-year-old singing sensation Peter Maxx, and when Josie does, sparks fly. Peter and Josie begin to communicate via Twitter and, despite their disparate lives, connect over their shared passion for songwriting and help each other deal with parental difficulties (including divorce, arrest, and death) and the pressures of fame. When Josie and Peter reconnect in Las Vegas, their worlds collide disastrously. As Baker alternately focuses on Josie and Peter’s points of view, it can sometimes feel as though he’s #tryingtoohard to construct believable, of-the-moment teenage characters (“ wished she could Tweet her fifty-nine followers the news. #Winning!”), but readers should still enjoy this heart-racing, behind-the-music story of love and being true to oneself. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"[A] heart-racing, behind-the-music story of love and being true to oneself."—Publishers Weekly

"The overall basis for the story is unique and charming, and this title is a good addition to libraries serving tweens and teens."—VOYA

"Baker's access to entertainment titans has given him much to draw upon in his descriptions of the lonely life of a teenage star. . ."—Kirkus Reviews

"This whimsical YA tome is about every young Belieber's biggest fantasy come true. A girl can dream? Yes."—Ian Drew, Us Weekly Senior Editor

"Baker gets inside the head and the heart of modern, celebrity-driven teen romance. You either are Fangirl, or she just texted you."—Kurt Schlosser,

"It's not about Beliebers or Directioners specifically, but all Beliebers or Directioners should get the book."—Ryan Seacrest, host of American Idol

"Fangirl may hospitalize you! It’s hotter than Bieber fever!”—Perez Hilton

"An irresistible wish fulfillment for all ages."—Jon M. Chu, Director of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

"We LOVE Fangirl. Once we started to read we couldn’t put it down!!! Josie & Peter forever! #bigfansofFANGIRL"—Kendall & Kylie Jenner

Children's Literature - Bonita Herold
Josie writes songs. Peter Max, a heartthrob, sings them. Sparks fly when they meet; cell phones heat up with constant back-and-forth. But is the romance doomed from the beginning? More than a year younger than sixteen-year-old Peter, Josie cannot leave the house without telling her overprotective mom and cannot drive anyway. As if that were not bad enough, even her friends think she is a nobody since her dad's arrest. Peter, on the other hand, is a definite somebody. He has fame, talent, riches, and a girlfriend with the same "qualities." What will his fans think if he drops Sandy and takes up with the likes of Josie? He is committed to his adoring public. Baker, E! Entertainment Television's chief news correspondent writes in the world with which he is familiar: tweets, shorthand, and jargon. Understandably, as technology advances, so does the way in which we communicate. While the story may appeal to today's teens, it will do so for a short time only. Several typos will most likely be corrected in the final copy. Reviewer: Bonita Herold
VOYA - Stacy Holbrook
Fourteen-year-old Josie Brant is an aspiring songwriter who loves music, especially that of sixteen-year-old pop idol Peter Maxx. Peter feels alone in his celebrity and unhappy that he cannot be a normal teenager. When Josie’s “BFF” wins a contest by singing a song Josie wrote, Josie and Peter meet, making an instant connection. Peter quickly leaves on his concert tour, and Josie is left to deal with her hectic life--including her father’s arrest for farming marijuana and her BFF’s betrayal. Amid this chaos, Peter starts tweeting, instant messaging, and texting Josie, falling for the “fangirl.” The two make plans to meet up again in Vegas, but their secret makes the Internet tabloids and Peter blames Josie for leaking the details. Told in alternating points of view between Peter and Josie, Fangirl connects with readers over something many can relate to--infatuation with a celebrity--and simultaneously gives a look into teenage pop-idol stardom. The main story line of Peter and Josie’s relationship is compelling; however, some secondary conflicts and characters detract from the story, creating an ending that seems rushed and unsatisfying. Fangirl features authentic dialogue through social media and texts and has many current pop culture references; these may not be relevant in the coming years but will help attract reluctant readers. The overall basis for the story is unique and charming, and this title is a good addition to libraries serving tweens and teens. Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 8–10—This lackluster novel has a promising premise but reads like a script from a made-for-TV movie. Josie Brant, a high school loner, has a secret infatuation with the famous pop star Peter Maxx. When her best friend, Ashley, submits a song Josie wrote to the "Sing it to the Maxx" contest, Josie suddenly finds herself meeting and impressing her crush. As the novel progresses, Peter, who is struggling between wanting to be a normal teenager and all of the responsibilities that come with being a pop star, reaches out to her and eventually asks her to come to his show in Las Vegas. Between having her father put in jail for growing marijuana and having the few friends she did have disown her, Josie decides that sneaking out to Las Vegas is the grown-up thing to do. She gets a ride from her punk-rock, Harry-Potter-loving, old-beyond-her-years neighbor. The language throughout the novel seems to be trying so hard to sound like teen speak that it goes into the realm of grating and unrealistic. Add to that the drive to Las Vegas when Josie's friend starts talking about the dangers of having sex too early, and readers are beat over the head with the awkward language and moral messages. The story wraps up with a too-good-to-be-true ending. Pass on this one and recommend Gordon Korman's Born to Rock (Disney, 2006) to students who are looking for a novel about what it's like to be a pop-star groupie.—Tammy Turner, Centennial High School, Frisco, TX
Kirkus Reviews
In what could have been an escapist fantasy romp, E! Entertainment Television chief news correspondent Baker delivers a tepid Hollywood romance. The protagonists are Josie, a 14-year-old California tomboy, and Peter Maxx, a 16-year-old Justin Bieber–like teen idol. Josie and Peter overcome the odds, their frenemies and their own anxieties to find chaste true love and a reliably tidy ending. Whole paragraphs of journalistic exposition befit Baker's reportorial background but translate awkwardly to narrative fiction; the stiff third-person narration is too distant to make Josie and Peter's alternating perspectives feel authentic. A relentless stream of pop-culture references (Coldplay, TOMS shoes, Formspring) feel less like real teen dialogue and more like an adult straining for relevance, anchoring the story to a very specific period in time that might render it already passe among trend-spotting teens. Baker's access to entertainment titans has given him much to draw upon in his descriptions of the lonely life of a teenage star, but the story's stale arc might be insufficiently compelling to hook readers not suffering from Bieber fever. Intriguing premise, flawed execution. (Fiction. 12-16)

Product Details

Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt


The moment she shuffled through the hotel’s revolving door, the pack of paparazzi converged on the pony-tailed teenager like she was a celebrity. Which, suddenly, she was.

“JOSIE! . . . JOSIE! . . . JOSIE!”

Short. Tall. Fat. Skinny. Light. Dark. Young. Old. All guys. All pointing cameras at her. All shouting.

“JOSIE! . . . JOSIE! . . . WHY’D YOU DO IT?”

Josie Brant only had to walk about twenty feet to the SUV, but it felt like a marathon being run barefoot on jagged rocks, every step more uncomfortable than the next.

The security guard tried to clear a path on the sidewalk, only to have it collapse into a thicket of camera flashes.


Peter: That word once filled her with so much warmth, comfort and inspiration. Now his name weakened her legs and pinched her stomach so tightly she could just barf.

A nervous rash formed on her chest, matching the clown-like circles that grew bigger on her cheeks with every dizzying wheeze.

Ugh. #SoNotWinning.

The massive buzzkill that was this oven-hot morning was as real as the heartbreak that crackled inside her chest. As real as the tear-smudged eye shadow that formed raccoon rings around her eyes. As real as the love songs she’d recently been so inspired to write. Now, she wished she could delete every damn memory. Forever.


Ten more feet.

With every flash, she imagined what story their pics might tell. Would she look like a fourteen-year-old small-town girl caught in a bad celeb romance, or just another cheap looking chick in a short skirt and black boots?

If only she had a baseball cap. Then she could slide it down low and hide her face. But Josie had left her tomboy hats—not to mention her anonymity —back home in Bakersfield. And home never felt so far away.

“Josie,” a chubby journalist with a British accent pressed. “Are you really a fame whore?”

Disgusted, she wrinkled her face and kept walking faster, inciting an elbow-to-elbow photographer frenzy that caused one guy to knock his bulky camera lens into Josie’s forehead. A line of blood to trickle down her cheek as if in a race with her tears.

For as long as Josie could remember, songs played in her head—even amid the chaos of her life. Especially amid the chaos of her life.

Silence can come when I die But till then I will speak Not a single lie . . .

The British reporter pushed closer, so close in fact she could smell his coffee breath. As she stepped into the SUV, the man asked, “So what is the truth, Ms. Brant?”

The crowd stood silent. Josie turned to face them. She inhaled and closed her eyes.

“The truth is,” Josie said, exhaling. “The truth is, I was just a fan.”

Meet the Author

Ken Baker is the E! Entertainment Television’s Chief News Correspondent. Ken has interviewed and reported on just about every major pop star in the world—all of whom he proudly has on his playlist. He lives (and writes) in Hermosa Beach, California. Follow him via Twitter @kenbakernow.

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Fangirl 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
gracehelen More than 1 year ago
Definitely a fast read, but also a great plot. Really makes you think how you're life would be like if someone you idolized for many years finally noticed you and actually made you a part of their life. Ken Baker has a talent in describing what everyday fan girls imagine would happen to her life. This novel was absolutely adorable, funny, and intelligent. Major props to you, Mr. Baker. You have really made my fan girl heart happy. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, and a fast and easy read. This book really makes you think about how your life could be if you were to ever be noticed by your all time favorite celebrity. Theres heartbreak, romance, drama, and more. A really great read for the average teen girl.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're thinking of getting this book. Get it. This book has romance and I love how Ken Baker writes and it reaches out to a teen audience and it can relate to them. This book is just AMAZING!!! I can't really explain how great it is, but all of it is just GREAT!!! I feel like the book just passes by and the summary part in the story comes so quickly that it feels like the book should be longer. I wish the book was a bit longer to talk about a little more of what happens at the end. So you should get the book!!! :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a amazing book. I love how she was just a fan but she still got together with him. Great twists though out the story. Fantastic!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thk its good writing but its very focused on which type of shoes she LOVES OH MY GOD and theres not really dialoug in the story. An eh read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago