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 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.
I received a NetGalley copy in exchange for an honest review.
This was a light and quick read, a wonderful Cinderella retelling with Geek Culture as the center. It brought out the finest points of a fandom, as something that brings many different people together, connects a child with a parent, and a story with a community that encourages one to be their best self.
Parental Guidance Note:
This is a YA novel, so there is some use of language. Mostly Sh*t and B*lls. Mostly the former.
Also two secondary characters are lesbians. You don’t find this out until halfway through the novel. It is only mentioned a few times. Once 50% of the way through, once when one girl asks the other out, and once with them hand-holding. It’s obvious that they’re a couple, but the relationship is very tame; there was nothing further than hand-holding.
This book really was very well done. I hated the characters that I was supposed to, loved the characters I was supposed to, and became concerned about the turn of events at the appropriate times.
I’m not going to cover the writing style or the plot, really. I just want to tell you about some of the highlights, in my opinion.
Let’s start with the romance. As it is a Cinderella retelling, there is clearly going to be a romance in this novel.
I really appreciated that the romance was based significantly more on the characters’ emotions than on the fact that they thought the other person was ‘hot’. Emotion-based romances are not as common in YA lit as they should be.
Given, this emotional-basis was due to the fact that the characters were communicating via text. However, even when the characters were together, there was a lot less, ‘this person is super hot’ and a lot more ‘this person is annoying’. They both were sensible when around each other, which was a major plus for me.
As such, the romance was very clean. A few tame kisses were the most that happened between any characters.
I really like the texting format of the two main characters’ communication. As I read I was thinking about how this was a bit reminiscent of ‘The Shop Around the Corner’. In fact, one of the characters mentioned it.
I liked the rotating POVs. Each person’s section was short, so you did not have to wait long to find out what happened to either one of them. There was a lot of communication between the two to keep you reading.
The first half of the book was fairly predictable, plot wise. Not in a bad way. By this I mean that it simply followed the story of Cinderella as you would expect. There was a lot of character development, and plot strands began to weave together to bring the two MCs together.
The second half of the book was where all the obstacles came in. The Evil Stepmother banning the Cinderella character came into play here, of course, but some other, more unexpected things popped up as well, leaving me wondering just when, a how, the characters were going to meet, let alone figure out that they had been texting each other.
The tone of the novel was very light. Even though, as a Cinderella tale, it could have gotten a bit serious and heavy, it really didn’t. The worst it ever got was when the character was banned from going to what, in this novel, stood in for the ‘ball’. And even then it was resolved quickly.
The ending had me laughing; it was an … exciting conclusion. Like always, the antagonists got what they had coming to them, and there was ‘happily ever after’ for the protagonists.
This Happily Ever After was realistic.
At least, the emotions and apprehensions involved were.
This was a wonderful Cinderella retelling that shows the best sides of Geek Culture. This book shows it as something that brings people together, a common interest that connects people who otherwise would have nothing in common. It’s friendship and a sense of belonging.
And perhaps that was the best part.