Author: Ashley Poston
Date published: April 4, 2017
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. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi 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’s ever wanted, but the 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.
I’m not gonna lie: I was not expecting a whole lot from this book. My only experience with Ashley Poston’s writing was her first book, THE SOUND OF US, which was DREADFUL and not an experience I hoped to repeat, so let’s just say my expectations of this book were…low. HOWEVER I was very pleasantly surprised by this book and have a lot of positive thoughts about it. First, let’s get the negative comments out of the way though:
what i didn’t like
- The pacing was really weird. At first I didn’t notice it, but about two thirds of the way in I realized A LOT was going to have to happen to tie up this romance, and a lot did happen in the last third of the book, though not the way I thought it would. It bothered me a bit that there was SO MUCH buildup to the romance, yet we only get to see our main couple together for approximately two seconds before the book ends. That irked me a little bit even though I liked the romance and the author was obviously going for a more strict Cinderella retelling where they only get together at the end of the story anyway.
- I was so bothered by the texting. Specifically that Elle was texting someone she’d never met the whole time and falling for them!! This is probably just an “I’m an adult” thing, but I would be so concerned for her safety in real life. It stretched my believability a bit to believe that Elle and Darien just happened to text each other and think each other was pretty and also that they both happened to be teens. This would never happen IRL and as an adult who works with kids I was internally screaming to myself about how unsafe this was and how much I would not ship them IRL. But again, this is a slight me thing rather than an issue with the book or writing.
what i liked
- Both narrators. Usually when I read a dual-narrated romance, I favor one character over the other, and usually that’s the female protagonist in hetero romances. However, in GEEKERELLA, I found myself really looking forward to Darien’s chapters as well. I found both of them so relatable and wanted to hug them and tell them things would be okay. Both characters had distinct voices and were well-rounded and well-written just all around, which made them both very interesting to read about. Having two narrators also really added to the story and made it well-balanced and more suspenseful.
- The Starfield talk. STARFIELD definitely put me in mind of Doctor Who, which of course made me like the book even more. It was obvious Ashley Poston really thought about the trajectory and world of the show, and the world building of Starfield was great even though we only hear about it second hand. It also obviously added a lot to the romance as well and to both Darien and Elle’s characters. They had different reasons for being connected to it, but that connection made their connection and the story in general even stronger.
- Sage. Sage was one of my favorite parts of the book and I was so disappointed to realize that THE PRINCESS AND THE FANGIRL is not about her and Jessica Stone getting together, which would have been my ship. However, I did like Jess and want more of her queerness in that book. But also, Sage is such a good and understanding friend, plus her mom is adorable and supportive and great.
- All the family issues the book discussed. Family is important in both Elle and Darien’s lives, though for different reasons. I thought the author did a great job portraying Elle’s relationship with her dad to the reader. All the scenes with Catherine and the twins totally killed me though and made me so mad. I was glad Elle started to have a somewhat okay relationship with Cal at one point, though I kind of predicted that would happen because in Cinderella retellings there is usually one stepsister who feels empathy for the Cinderella character. Anyway.
- So much geekiness! I lived for all the geek references and was shocked by how many I understood. The LOTR references were all my faves and they made me want to watch the movies again since I haven’t in quite a while. I loved that geekiness and nerding out about things you’re passionate about was a big theme in this book because I think that’s something a lot of teens are shy about and it’s good to show them that showing your passion is okay and can lead to positive things in your life (though maybe not always a romance with a hot celebrity, but idk, it’s their lives).
Overall I was just really impressed with GEEKERELLA and totally charmed by the romance, the portrayal of nerd culture, and pretty much everything. Ashley Poston’s writing was really addictive and fun, and the whole story simply delighted me. I am very much looking forward to reading the companion novel to this book and hope it is just as good as GEEKERELLA.