Book Review: The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs

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Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

Rating: 10/10

Originally posted on Roberta’s Literary Ramblings.

(Received as Early Reviewers copy from Librarything.com)

I love that this book exists! It’s a book that every fangirl should have in their library. Not only is it a fun read sprinkled with some awesome nerd references, but everyone can learn something from this book. I know I did.

I consider myself a fangirl, and have for some time, but I do remember the days when I would deny this term believing that it was for overly enthusiastic girls who squeal all the time. Someone would say the word ‘fangirl’ and I would roll my eyes. It took most of my undergrad years to actually realize that I was a fangirl and that I should wear that badge proudly. The female nerd community is a great thing to be a part of, and I can’t imagine life without the periodic nerd sessions that I have with many of my girlfriends.

While reading “The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy” I felt even more connected to this community than before. Even though we might be a part of different fandoms, there is one thing that all fangirls have in common, and that is an extreme passion for something that really speaks to us. Knowing this allows us to respect each fangirl’s passions. I have never been able to get into anime, but I respect the fangirls that love it as much as I love Star Wars and Dr. Who. They share the same level of passion as I do, just about something else. What’s not to respect about that.

I also learned quite a few things from this book. I learned more about some of the lingo used online and what some of the fandoms are called. (Is Star Warrior an actual thing now?) I even learned a little bit more about fanfiction, and it kind of made me want to write some of my own. And one of the best parts about this book—great suggestions for further reading and watching. I think I requested practically every book that Maggs suggests from the library, and I am super excited to start reading some fangirl awesomeness. (However, the first book of Tamora Pierce’s Immortals series is call ‘Wild Magic’ not ‘Wild Mage’.) I also learned about The Doubleclicks and they are amazing! They sing songs about nerdery and awesomeness. (They have a song about Mr. Darcy/Colin Firth that I can’t stop listening to.)

I loved so much about this little book, but I think I have pin-pointed the three most important things that Sam Maggs talks about in this book.

  1. Never feel that you are inferior. Sometimes, male nerds feel that you need to prove your nerd cred by asking questions about your fandom or simply discrediting you automatically. Never let that make you feel like less of a fan. Just because you don’t know the exact details of every major DC or Marvel character’s origin stories does not make you less of a fan. Maggs reiterates this multiple times, and for good reason. If you love it with a fiery passion, you don’t have to prove this love to anybody. The only time someone should be quizzing on your fandom is during Trivia Night.
  2. Fangirls have to support each other. Because of the above stated circumstances, we fangirls have to stick together and support each other. If you see a fellow fangirl doing some great work, be it in fanfiction, fanart, or their very own creation, support them. Share it with your friends, on social media, everywhere. Fangirls are more than just fans, we also act as a support group for each other. Always be respectful of fellow fangirls, cause we are all in this together.
  3. Feminism is awesome. There are so many misconceptions about feminism, and Maggs does a great job of debunking some of those misconceptions. Feminism is key in fangirl culture and every fangirl should wear their feminist badge just as proudly as their fangirl one.

This book is an essential for any and all fangirls, and it’s great to finally see this kind of book out in the world. Sam Maggs is funny and really knows her nerd culture. She’s gives some awesome advice about navigating this amazing world of fangirldom. A must read.

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