The digital odyssey of unwavering obsession

By Jodie Humphries



In the age of digital connections and virtual obsessions, “Fandom” is a gripping fiction novel that delves deep into the intricate web of teenage fixation, exploring themes of love, identity, and the transformative journey of self-discovery in the digital age.

Meet Jo, a vibrant 16-year-old with an insatiable passion for music. Her life takes an exhilarating turn when she stumbles upon a rising boy band that captivates her heart. What begins as mere crush metamorphoses into an all-consuming obsession. In a whirlwind of transformation, Jo moulds her entire online persona around the enigmatic group known as Divergent.

But is it genuine love when it remains one-sided? As Divergent ascends to stardom, propelled mainly by the fervent fandom, Jo is immersed in, her adoration for the band spirals into an all-encompassing frenzy. She becomes a fervent digital disciple while her real-life connections wither away in the shadows of her thriving online life.

Blissfully unaware of the changes in her life, Jo’s family grows increasingly alarmed. As her obsession deepens, Jo’s online behaviour takes a dark turn, pushing boundaries she’d never consider in the real world. Her closest friendships fracture, yet her unwavering loyalty to Divergent remains steadfast.

Amidst the chaos, the Reds, a faction within the Divergent fandom, emerge as the epicentre of a mind-bending conspiracy theory. Their fervent belief is that two band members, Robbie and Eddie, are being coerced into concealing their romantic relationship by the band’s management. Jo’s allegiance to these theories verges on fanatical, transforming her into an online cultist whose fervour alienates those in her real life.

As years pass, Jo is heartbroken when Divergent announces a hiatus. She grieves the loss of live shows and fresh music alongside her fellow Divers in the digital realm. However, the Reds remain resolute, convinced that the hiatus will finally liberate Robbie and Eddie. When this liberation fails to materialize, tensions escalate between the Reds and other fandoms, igniting a digital battleground.

Isolated from her real-life friends, Jo forms a profound connection with her younger brother, Brad, who courageously comes out as LGBTQ+. Seeking understanding, Jo turns to her online community, only to find their obsession with Divergent blinds them to Brad’s struggles. The once comforting online world now offers no solace.

A seismic shift rattles the entire Divergent fandom when a revealing interview exposes the collateral damage of their obsessions, unravelling the very fabric of the band’s relationships. Jo and fellow Reds supporters are blindsided by the revelation of their unwitting complicity. It forces Jo to confront her own actions and their impact on her family, especially her brother.

In a bold move, Jo announces a hiatus from her online world, citing family priorities. Her online friends either fade into the digital abyss or respond with bitterness, betraying the community she once cherished. In the absence of virtual distractions, Jo reconnects with her best friend, Hannah, awakening to the extent of her transformation and the toxicity of her obsession.

As Jo’s withdrawal from social media deepens, she rekindles the authenticity of her real life. What began as a brief break evolved into a profound reevaluation, culminating in the closure of her sprawling online presence. Her announcement echoes in chilling silence and sparks hostility from the very friends she thought she knew.

From the ashes of her former digital existence, Jo discovers solace in a new, real-world-focused social media presence. Yet, that’s not the end of her journey; she channels her experiences into writing a gripping novel that unravels the labyrinthine web of fandom, obsession, and toxicity. Through her words, she aspires to guide young minds away from the treacherous pitfalls that ensnared her.

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Jodie was a contributor.