Author: Ashley Poston
Genre: Teen, YA, Fairytale Retelling
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
It's always difficult when you read a book that is very similar to one you read recently. The immediate reaction is usually that the first book is better; only because it came first. The comparisons between Queens of Geek and Geekerella are so obvious they are not even worth listing. But in case you don't know here's the gist: teen geek girl with nothing decides to attend a con, do cosplay to try and win a contest and makes a friend and/or boyfriend along the way. And while I did like Queens of Geek better I don't think it's because it came first, instead it's for all of the following reasons...
Let's start with a quick list of things that drove me crazy:
- If you have a brick of a phone then it probably doesn't text
- 5'3 is not that short!! In fact it's usually considered the starting height for normal (take it from someone barely 5'1)
- Both characters start out whiny and annoying. I realize this is part of the point but I was very tired of it by 35% into the story
- Every teen in the history of the world knows that clothing drawers and behind pictures are the worst hiding place ever
- If you're going to correct everyone that it's not a costume but a cosplay (all the time) then don't call it a costume in your own narrative!! Ashley Poston needed a geek editor to pick this one up
- The legal lesson every single YA author needs to be told (it seems); if something is held in trust for someone until they are of a certain age then that item CANNOT BE SOLD by the person holding it in trust. This is law 101 and I can't believe how often this is screwed up in YA books
- Our lead man Darien is of a non-white skin colour. I wish I could tell you what skin tone but for some reason Poston decides to rarely reference his skin colour. This bugs me because I like to be able to picture characters and let's face it skin tone is an important part of seeing characters in your mind the way the author intended (just like you'd give them a specific hair colour, gender, height, weight, etc.). I did however appreciate that the focus isn't his skin tone just because. Yes, I get I've just contradicted myself and I'm sure I'll get torn to bits by SJW's... I just wish I had a better picture in my mind of what Darien looked like, that's all.
The really great things:
- The rich sci-fi world created as the geek culture for the book. Clearly Poston has thought this world through. It's so good that I want someone to write a book or create a TV show based on the fake geek-verse. I think I would enjoy it a lot more than the actual story in Geekerella
- The Pumpkin, dress and shoe are included and it doesn't feel lame or silly at all. Taking these very cliche things and making them feel like they bit in and are not forced is a hard thing to do. Props to Poston for incorporating them in a way that I didn't roll my eyes at
- Sage is awesome (the character, not the herb). I adore her and would totally bring her home and love her if she was real (my husband will have to learn to share because I really love her that much in every way you can imagine)
- The overall story of friendship is well put together. There is no insta-love, love triangle or any other ridiculous pretenses in this book.
- And this quote is just so amazing "So everyone who tries something for the first time's a poser? Come on Elle, that's crazy." Because the only way you become fan is by starting somewhere
Overall this book was just okay. It has some lovely little messages and tidbits to take away. I can totally appreciate girls between 11-15 swooning for this book and in 20 years talking about how it's a book that changed their life. There's something here, but it's just a bit too obvious for my reading tastes. I think this because as a geek child, when being a geek was not cool, I wish I had had this book. Maybe I would have stood up for myself more, had more confidence or not tried to blend in with everyone else even when I knew I didn't like what they liked. If this book helps even one teen having those thoughts then it's well worth being sold.
That said, there were a large number of pitfalls in this book. Overall my biggest issue is how very unrealistic the entire premise and main love story are. I know, I know, Cinderella is all about the nobody becoming a princess and I shouldn't be surprised; but it's all just very farfetched. This is where Queens of Geek and it's realness soar above Geekerella for me.
I would definitely buy this book for a geeky girl of 11-15 and would be very confident recommending it to someone that loves Cinderella (I may be the only geek girl in the world that doesn't like Cinderella that much...) and her rags to riches story. Without a doubt Poston takes us on a journey of a girl going from being afraid of everyone and everything to being a woman who is ready to tackle life no matter what it throws in front of her.