From an objective view, I adore Chris Colfer, and I do think this was an enjoyable book. On a non-objective view, there were a lot of blips on the radar that made me raise a skeptical eyebrow.
The characters feel very much like the cast of a 90s after school cartoon- one of each stereotype, so to speak. Over time, they did get some more development and some more depth, but they started out rather flat. Their introductions were also kind of flat; each character got a chapter that introduced them and it felt a little repetitive and honestly a little boring, like the climb up the first hill of a roller coaster when you’re waiting for the momentum to get you going.
The most…I guess uncomfortable is the word for it- was the transparency of Chris Colfer writing himself both into Cash Carter and Topher. You could see elements of him in both, and it made me kind of feel embarrassed. I was a fan of Glee back in the day and I’ve followed Chris’s work and been so impressed, but I felt extremely self-conscious reading the book. I kind of felt patronized, embraced, and disliked simultaneously. At the end I was asking myself “is it bad to be a fan? Is it bad to be a part of a fandom? If I ever have a conversation with Chris Colfer, will he think I’m just a roaring idiot?”
I’m still struggling with how I feel about Stranger Than Fanfiction. If I didn’t know who Chris Colfer was, I would probably enjoy it wholeheartedly. It’s a quirky, interesting plot with some well meant emotional moments and a bittersweet ending. As a fan of Chris Colfer, I now feel…well, kind of sad. I still admire him a lot and think he’s incredibly talented and I’ll still follow his work, but if I ever met him I’d probably feel super self conscious and embarrassed because of the way fans are written in this book.