March 1, 2022
What happens when a fanfiction writer and a pageant queen unexpectedly meet? The One True Me and You follows up and coming fanfic author Kaylee and pageant queen Teagan as they meet at a hotel that’s simultaneously hosting a pageant and a fancon. Both Teagan and Kaylee have goals for their stay: Kaylee wants to try out they/them pronouns…and kiss a girl for the first time. But when Kay’s hometown bully turns up, their goals for the weekend are becoming harder and harder to reach. Meanwhile, Teagan wants to win the Miss Comic Teen USA pageant scholarship and has to keep being gay a secret long enough to woo the judges. But when Teagan and Kay meet, sparks fly and when they suddenly find themselves facing exposure neither of them wants, it’s up to them to decide whether being their authentic and true self is worth the costs.
This story is so wholesome and entertaining! Kay and Teagan are such lively characters and their individual struggles somehow morphed together beautifully to let them both emerge victorious from this whirlwind weekend. England’s writing style is engaging and paints a visual picture which helps you set the scene in your mind. I also loved the juxtapositions we got in this story. Basically, you have the setting of the hotel where two worlds seemingly collide—a fancon that offers up the space to be your most authentic, nerdiest self and a pageant that makes you think of fake smiles, women being pitted against each other and beauty standards being perpetuated. However, I loved how England here really focuses on the misconceptions and stereotypes when it comes to what people associate with these two heavily connotated spaces. Kay basically has to hide in their hometown because their school bully Madison (who’s also in the pageant competition) has made it their mission to humiliate Kay. So when they get a chance to be themselves at this con, meet people they’ve known online forever and now actually see face to face, it’s the chance of a lifetime. Yet when Madison gets wind of them being there, everything unravels. There are so many discussions in this novel about what it means to be part of a fandom and how fandom can feel like family and this was really shown in how Kay’s friends protect them from Madison’s attempts of destroying them.
Speaking of fandom, my favourite part of The One True Me and You, though, was how authentically fandoms and being a part of one was portrayed. In terms of accuracy and description, this reminded me a lot of Alice Oseman —the way England writes about Ao3 (Archive of Our Own) and fanfic made it clear that they know what they’re talking about from personal experience. As someone who spent a majority of her teens on Tumblr and Ao3, it’s always such a pleasure to see fandom culture accurately represented in books even years after the fact. And here, we not only get to see Kay participate in GreatCon but also see their cosplay outfits, geeking out with fellow shippers and fanfiction writers and altogether have a great time being with friends who feel like family. I loved how this novel showcased the close-knit community that being in a fandom can offer and what it’s like to have a safe space to be yourself in.
This space of being yourself without any hesitation is fascinatingly juxtaposed with the second POV, Teagan and her world of pageants. Now, my knowledge of pageants is limited to my many rewatches of Miss Congeniality, but I loved how England, via exposing stereotypes, showed that pageants aren’t all bad or superficial. Teagan, for example, has made it her mission to use her platform as a pageant queen to help make the world a better place. Though she dislikes the rigid, unattainable beauty standards the pageants perpetuate and the racism that is rarely addressed, she uses her platform for good, participating in volunteer projects and raising awareness for important environmental and social issues. Teagan is also incredibly supportive of her fellow competitors and I loved how we got to see the community and friendship that comes with working toward the same goal and how your mindset is really what informs how you perceive of these competitions.
Now, as for Kay and Teagan’s romance, all I can say is that I was absolutely smitten. England doesn’t shy away from showing how misconceptions can cause mistrust and issues and Kay and Teagan have a lot to work through for such a short amount of time, yet none of the issues (e.g. Kay thinking pageants are superficial AF) were glossed over or swept under the rug. Neither Kay nor Teagan are perfect and sometimes they make mistakes or say the wrong things but it doesn’t feel like a bad thing, if that makes sense? Instead, we get to see Kay and Teagan openly communicate their fears and their goals and it’s paired with so much chemistry (and sweet tension leading up to an even sweeter moment) that made it the perfect mix of sweet and realistic. The climax of the story was also so well handled. The possibilities of the backlash both Teagan and Kay face if their true identity was revealed are always in the corner of your mind while you’re reading, but during the climax, when it all becomes a reality, the drama, tension and anxiety are skyrocketing and made me flip the pages at nanospeed.
Fast-paced, geeky and wonderfully queer, The One True Me and You is perfect for anyone who loves fandom culture, the opposites attract trope and stories that make you feel hopeful for a more inclusive, accepting and kind future. Perfect for fans of Oseman’s I Was Born for This and Dugan’s Some Girls Do.
The One True Me and You is available from Amazon, Book Depository, and other good book retailers, like your local bookstore, as of March 1st 2022.
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Synopsis | Goodreads
One small fandom convention. One teen beauty pageant.
One meet cute waiting to happen.
Up and coming fanfic author Kaylee Beaumont is internally screaming at the chance to finally meet her fandom friends in real life and spend a weekend at GreatCon. She also has a side quest for the weekend:
Try out they/them pronouns to see how it feels
Wear more masculine-presenting cosplay
Kiss a girl for the first time
Exclusive Cover Reveal: The Beach Trap by Ali Brady
It’s… a lot, and Kay mostly wants to lie face down on the hotel floor. Especially when her hometown bully, Miss North Carolina, shows up in the very same hotel. But there’s this con-sponsored publishing contest, and the chance to meet her fandom idols… and then, there’s Teagan.
Pageant queen Teagan Miller (Miss Virginia) has her eye on the much-needed prize: the $25,000 scholarship awarded to the winner of the Miss Cosmic Teen USA pageant. She also has secrets:
She loves the dresses but hates the tiaras
She’s a giant nerd for everything GreatCon
She’s gay af
If Teagan can just keep herself wrapped up tight for one more weekend, she can claim the scholarship and go off to college out and proud. If she’s caught, she could lose everything she’s worked for. If her rival, Miss North Carolina, has anything to do with it, that’s exactly how it’ll go down.
When Teagan and Kay bump into one another the first night, sparks fly. Their connection is intense—as is their shared enemy. If they’re spotted, the safe space of the con will be shattered, and all their secrets will follow them home. The risks are great… but could the reward of embracing their true selves be worth it?