Fandom has become practically mainstream over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean your friends will always get your intense love of Doctor Who and Supernatural. So when it feels like no one understands you and your pop culture obsessions, just remember you’re not the only one who loves to quotes movies and attend comic book conventions and play video games. If ever you should feel alone, here are 7 YAs to convince you otherwise.
Life in Outer Space, by Melissa Keil
If movies are your scene, then Life in Outer Space is the book for you. Sam is a total movie nerd, spending his free time talking about slasher flicks and World of Warcraft. The movie references are plentiful, and the nerd factor is high. Sam’s pretty happy with his group of assorted misfits, but when Camilla, the statistical anomaly who breaks social barriers, enters the picture, his easy world is turned upside down. And like the best teen movies, this book is laugh-out-loud funny and full of classic teen angst.
Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl is basically a crash course in pop-culture obsession. Cath loves the Simon Snow books. But she doesn’t just love them—she loses herself in them, writing fanfiction about a world she doesn’t ever want to give up. But Simon Snow is coming to an end, and her twin sister is pulling away from their shared fandom and their intense bond, leaving Cath unsure about the future. I basically consider this book the 8th Harry Potter, as it teaches us Muggles how to adjust post-franchise. (But if 80s pop culture is more your speed, check out Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, which is full of music and comic book references.)
The Summer I Became a Nerd, by Leah Rae Miller
Comic books and superheroes have pleasingly transitioned from nerdbait into just plain awesome for everyone. But if your comic book love is strong, this is the book for you. Madelyne keeps her nerd-self super-secret, actively lying about it to everyone including herself. During the school year, it’s all pom poms and pep rallies, but during the summer, she becomes a raging comic book fanatic. When Logan discovers her secret, the two spend a summer bonding over comic books, live-action role playing, and first-person shooter games. So basically, they have the best summer ever.
Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona (Illustrator)
Okay, so Ms. Marvel may be a superhero—but she’s also a bit of a fangirl herself. Before the 17-year-old becomes a superhero, she’s just your average teenager from New Jersey. She’s obsessed with the Avengers because, well, aren’t we all? Except, of course, she’s fangirling over the real-life Avengers. She even takes it a step farther than your average fan by writing some of that classic Wolverine fanfic. She’s who we would be if the Avengers were real.
Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray
Beauty Queens is a feminist satire with tons of invented pop-culture references that everyone needs in their life. When the contestants of the Miss Teen Dream Pageant crash land on a deserted island, they have to figure out how to survive in the face of imminent death. It’s a book full of tropes, only the tropes are turned so far on their head they’re almost unrecognizable. In the end you’re left with a powerful story examining everything from slut-shaming to depression to gender identity with so many jokes you have to read it twice to find them all.
From What I Remember…, by Stacey Kramer and Valerie Thomas
From What I Remember is another great book for movie fans, with movie quotes at the start of each chapter and plenty more throughout. When valedictorian Kylie and super-popular Max wake up hungover and in bed together in Mexico, they have no idea how they got there…and it looks like they might be late for graduation. As the teens race the clock, more characters join them on their adventure, complete with big action sequences and quick wit. Just think of it as The Hangover: The Teen Years.
Famous in Love, by Rebecca Serle
Unknown high school student and aspiring actress Paige Townsen is thrust into the limelight when she’s cast as the lead in the movie adaptation of a massively popular YA book series. Then, before Paige even knows what’s happening, she’s caught up in a love triangle that seems strangely reminiscent of the one in the movie she’s starring in. There are paparazzi, movie sets, and so so so much romance. It’s like reading about the making of Twilight or The Hunger Games.