Published by Quirk Books on April 4th 2017
Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.
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 Starfieldfandom 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.
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."
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve seen this book absolutely everywhere around the bookternet recently! Geekerella promised a swoonworthy romance with a healthy dose of fandom culture, and though I was left wanting a bit more from some elements of the story, overall, it delivered on those promises.
In Geekerella, we follow two different POVs. Our main character, Elle, has been a devoted Starfield fan her entire life. With a movie reboot of the fan-favorite sci-fi TV series in the works, she decides to enter a cosplay contest at ExcelsiCon in order to honor her late parents and her own love for the franchise. Our other main character, Darien (also a huge fan of the series, though he hides his geekiness to keep his “brand” consistent), has just been cast in the leading role of Prince Carmindor in the new Starfield movie. Through a series of coincidences, Darien and Elle begin anonymously texting, beginning a friendship that quickly turns into something more. The only problem? Elle thinks Darien is all wrong for the role of her favorite character, and Darien has no idea Elle is the blogger who published a biting criticism of him after his casting was announced. I thought the dual POVs were handled well. I never had any confusion as to whose story I was reading at any given point.
Geekerella utilized a lot of my favorite tropes in romances. Not only do we have the “pen pal” (in this case, it’s texting, but whatever), romance, but this is also a Cinderella retelling. I tend to be wary of fairytale retellings, but I think this is the rare book that gets it right. I always admire when classic stories are cleverly adapted to a modern setting, and the author definitely nailed that aspect. I do wish the side characters– especially Elle’s stepmother and stepsisters– had been fleshed out a bit more. I could never really understand their motivations; often, they just seemed like evil incarnate, with no other motive than to make Elle’s life a living hell. As for other retelling elements, I thought the Magic Pumpkin food truck was so, so unique and clever (plus, oh my gosh, I loved Sage and her role as the “fairy godmother” of sorts)! And, of course, the cosplay ball was awesome. I always love a good ballroom dancing scene.
Another thing I really adored about this story: it’s totally a love letter to fandom and fan culture. From the cosplay, to the con setting, to the quotes from Starfield at the beginning of each chapter, Geekerella really celebrates fandom culture and the people who make it so amazing. And, of course, there’s the nerd love! Not only is the main romance between Elle and Darien adorable, but there’s also a side f/f ship that I loved. Oh, and Darien himself is half Indian-American. Yay, representation!
I do wish the romance had been paced better. One minute, Elle and Darien were casually discussing the Starfield series, and the next, BOOM, they were in love. And maybe this is just me being overly paranoid, but I felt like there were some major safety concerns that went unaddressed??? Texting a stranger you’ve never once met, seen, or talked to seems pretty careless and unnecessarily dangerous, no matter what kind of *~gut feelings~* you have about the person they are (especially if you’re a minor!). But, I digress. I will say, I really enjoyed where the romance left off. I’ve seen some people say the ending left too many strings untied for their taste, but I personally love endings that are left the slightest bit open, especially in YA contemporary. I also think Geekerella reads like a bit of a younger YA, but this didn’t bother me.
All in all, Geekerella was pretty adorable, if a bit lacking in substance. However, what it lacked in substance, it made up for in heart! I would recommend this to any fellow geeks and fangirls/fanboys/fanbys out there. Definitely a fun, fluffy YA contemporary to pick up this spring!
Have you read Geekerella? If so, what did you think? If not, do you plan to pick it up anytime soon?
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