Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad’s old costume, Elle’s determined to win – unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons – before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he has ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake – until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?
Part-romance, part-love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.
You guys! THIS BOOK WAS SO CUTE!!!! It takes all the things that make a perfect YA book for me: nerd culture, light & upbeat feel, adorable romance, and fairy-tale re-telling. I just loved it!
The blurb calls it a love letter to nerd culture, and that is totally accurate. Poston is clearly a nerd in her own right. There were references to Star Wars, Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, Firefly, Supernatural, and everything in between. What I loved the most about it, though, was how willing Poston was to quote. Teens talk in movie quotes! Why are authors so afraid to do so? Poston had no qualms, often choosing obscure quotes that only hardcore fans would recognize. (“This day we fight!” I LOVE YOU ASHLEY! THANKS FOR THAT ONE!)
Geekerella didn’t shy away from acknowledging the more difficult aspects of fandom and nerd culture. Nerds often feel persecuted by the “cooler” folks who call us freaks, who say our internet friends aren’t “real” friends, who don’t understand the importance of getting your cosplay PERFECT. And sometimes we listen to those people. We doubt ourselves, who we are, and why we’re still obsessing over this stuff. It also touches on the idea of toxic fandom, though in a light-hearted way. Elle runs a Starfield blog, and as soon as the creators of the movie make a decision she doesn’t agree with (casting Darien as the lead) she attacks them online and starts kicking up a HUGE fuss. Crazy fans stalk Darien, leak photos, steal his stuff, kiss-attack him in public. Convention-goers tell Elle that girls can never be “real” cosplayers because they don’t know what they’re doing. I think this was a great look at what makes a “true fan”, and I wish I could force every angry Star Wars fan on the internet to read it. (Especially because they would be gagging over the adorableness, the girliness, and the lesbians. Suck it, machismo nerds.)
The story and the romance were cute cute cute. This is a very PG-rated teen romance, which I love. And while it wasn’t swoon-worthy, it was sweet and thoughtful, very much a first-love kind of thing. I love that Poston acknowledged that teen romances don’t last forever, and it can be scary being in one that you want to and make decisions as if it will, knowing it might not pan out. And just how scary being in that kind of relationship for the first time can be! It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but it’s worth it when he looks at you like you’re the only thing that matters. Or she.
This is a light, fluffy novel, meant for fun. The characters develop and go through difficult issues, but in a sheltered almost surface-level way. The things that happen are frequently unrealistic and silly, purposefully so. It’s quick and could easily be fished in one sitting. This is definitely meant to be a vacation read, not your next book club. If you’ve watched A Cinderella Story, you can probably get a pretty good idea of what sort of book this is.
I loved Geekerella, but I gave it 4-stars because there were a lot of little details that bothered me. Excelsicon being billed as a Starfield convention but ending up being a general nerd-con. When Elle found out her friend loved LOTR, the first question she asked was which guy she was into. As if that’s the most important thing? Ugh. So many details that were almost identical to A Cinderella Story. Little inconsistencies. I was looking at person X, yet in the next sentence I can’t look away from person Y. Just little things. Normally I don’t nit-pick, but it was a lot of little details that just bugged me.
Overall I adored this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a sweet, cute YA romance, especially when there’s fairy tales involved!