Geekerella, Ashley Poston – Book Review

Hello humans, ready for another book review? Geekerella came out a little bit before I started this blogging journey, so I missed the original hype for this book, though I’d seen it on quite a few blogs and it was still given quite a high billing on shop shelves. However, there are so many books in the world and so few hours I simply hadn’t had the time to get a copy! I was delighted to have my NetGalley request approved which meant I had no excuse not to get to reading. This is a heart-warming read and I can certainly see why it got the hype and popularity it did.

Geekerella Ashley Poston

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Find Geekerella on Goodreads

I haven’t read a lot of YA books in my time that are explicitly romance focussed, though most YA has a romantic aspect to it (one day I will write my platonic novel, one day). So I was expecting a very cliché fairy-tale retelling with lots of gazing into each other’s eyes and so on and so forth. I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised by how sweet this story was (without being sickly). I think levels of tolerance for romance is varied, so for some even this level may be unbearable, but for me, this felt like a good place to be.

This book has what I’ve referred to in my notes as ‘huge fanfiction vibes’ by which I mean you can see where the plot is going after about three chapters but you don’t mind because by that point you’re along for the ride. In part that is because this is a retelling (adding to the year of ALL THE RETELLINGS) which obviously means you know how it will end, but I could see how Ashley Poston started writing through fanfiction. I know some people would take that as criticism, but personally, I believe some of the most passionate and engaging writers are those who write or have written fanfiction in the past. Overall, the effect this has on the book is that it’s a comforting and comfortable read, with a simple enough plot that the personalities of the individual characters can shine through. The ‘fanfiction’ feel also helps to cover the fact that the entire premise is not 100% realistic, something which some romantic novels just expect you to deal with. However, the way this book is written encourages you as a reader to suspend disbelief to a certain degree, to believe in fairy tales and in, if not the impossible then the improbable.

I’ve touched on characters but let’s go into a little more detail. Our protagonist Elle is, understandably, the star of the piece. What I loved about Elle’s character was that she was so passionate about Starfield without excluding others. Rather than keeping her information about the show to herself she brings a new friend Sage into the community and shares her love of the show. I don’t want to go into too much detail about that dynamic, because I’m saving it for a blog post where I tear apart Ready Player One but suffice to say this was a well-written fangirl for sure.

Another thing I think this book does well is gradually developing the characters and friendships without feeling rushed or fake (for the most part). I think this is perhaps best shown in Darien’s character. This could have been a very flat, one-dimensional character (as Prince Charming is in the original fairy-tale let’s be honest) but instead, he has his own development and growth within the story, a lot of it happening outside of the knowledge of Elle. I liked that both characters were fully realised, it made it a more satisfying romance to have both sides of the story.

Even the side characters were interesting and had important moments within the story. Of course, I loved seamstress Sage, but I also enjoyed the two sisters and the stepmother, these are characters who have been approached by many an author in a plethora of different ways, yet in this book, they felt much more than just generic evil or nasty women. Good characters make for a good book (even when those characters aren’t morally good).

This is a comforting book, it’s simultaneously incredibly simple and profoundly detailed. I would describe it as the reading equivalent of watching a familiar film where nothing can go terribly wrong and even if it does, it’ll all be fine in the end (mine is Mamma Mia, what’s yours?). If you’re the kind of person who likes a retelling and a romance then this is the book for you.

My rating: 4/5 stars

I received a digital copy of this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What say you? What are some of your favourite romances? Let me know in the comments below.

J

 

 

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