This is the story of Wiz Kids, a live-action television series that sounds like a cartoon. It's about a group of kids who are able to travel to different time periods with a porta-potty. Get it? And the main character is played by a guy named Cash Carter, who got the role when he was 12. It was originally panned, but developed such a big fanbase that the reviews turned around and the money skyrocketed, and eight seasons later, Cash is now much more juvenile and unprofessional but still the title character. Meanwhile, there's a group of four Wiz Kids long time fans. This show brought them together and they hope it'll never be discontinued. The thing is, after the summer, they're going to be heading away to different schools. Their names are Topher, Sam, Joey, and Mo. And you know what? Finding out who these people are is so fun, I won't spoil their problems. Let's just say one of them is having trouble leaving the family, another is struggling with their identity, another with their sexuality, and another with their desire to learn a profession that is not accepted by the rest of the family. To end everything, they've planned a final road trip, but Topher decided to take a gamble and ask Cash Carter if he wanted to come along for the trip. He knows he probably won't. To give you an even easier take, it would be like asking Justin Bieber if he wanted to go out for hot dogs. But the next morning, a limo arrives as the gang gets ready to hit the gas, and their road trip will change their lives forever, this time guaranteed.
Chris Colfer utilizes his knowledge of the celebrity world and profile with his experience as a pop-star for Stranger than Fanfiction, as well as the fact he went to college before he got the part of Kurt Hummel and became a sensation, and what he stirs up for us is I wouldn't call strange. I'd call sensational. I disliked nothing about this book. This is even a stamp of approval to show that Chris Colfer may be world famous, but he's a nice people person. I enjoyed Mosquitoland, which was another self-discovery road trip book, but it pales massively in comparison to this strange, delightful and suspenseful book.
Sometimes, a large bundle of characters makes it so I feel there's too many to keep track of, and if the book tries to make sure we know the difference between each character, then we'll lose the actual story. Very few books have both an amazing story and unforgettable characters. You guessed it. Stranger than Fanfiction is one of them. Cash and his band of Wiz fans are together like the new Teen Titans. I'm not kidding. Cash is Robin, Topher is Beast Boy (or, maybe these roles can be switched) Mo is Starfire, Sam is Raven, and Joey is Cyborg.
As for the idea of Wiz Kids, this is satire, which you can sort of tell if you understand the premise, and yet it isn't very far fetched. The fanbase reminds me of that of, say, Invader Zim, where there is an entire InvaderCON. A lot of world famous actresses get very caught up in the hype, and some of them have dramatic pasts they keep from the press. And acting and modelling is a job that gives you a big footprint in the entire world, and the internet can be a cruel place. Something happens to the gang that is so horrific I felt sick to my stomach.
The book is just as hilarious as Struck by Lightning. You could say this book is Struck by Lightning meets Teen Titans. But I like this book even more, and I think it's for this reason. Struck by Lightning broke my heart three times. This book broke it twice as many times. This book never has a dull moment and we feel as much joy and simultaneous despair as the gang as they drive with a television star smoking and taking pills in their back seat. And the ending? I hyperventilated. It was perfect. It couldn't have been more touching. I was worried the book would end abruptly with the characters not yet doing their full story, but I felt it was time to wrap it up and everything somehow felt like it had its reasonable share of time.
And yet as it was wrapping up, I teared up that it was goodbye to these characters even though I'd known them for less than 350 sensational pages. I borrowed it from the library, but this is a book that's worth your money. It doesn't waste a single page to throw in some great twist or dive into a specific character without it feeling like something's going on too long.
Stranger than Fanfiction is the best standalone book I've read in years. It is a real treat for everyone who loves the entertainment industry.