Tuesday, May 15, 2018

REVIEW: Geekerella

Originally published last year, Geekerella is a YA romance novel by Ashley Poston. It’s something I heard a lot about from other book bloggers. I’ve heard of a lot of YA books tackling the fandom scene lately. I picked up one such book a few weeks ago but had to put it down. So how does this one fair? Hit the jump to find out if Geekerella is fantastic or fanservice.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Geekerella courtesy of Quirk Books.
Opinions are my own.

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.

After the first chapter of Geekerella, I was ready to put it down forever. We’re introduced to Elle, a hardcore fan of classic sci-fi television series Starfield. She’s seen every episode and reads fanfiction and writes a blog and is all ready for the big news about the new movie reboot. In this opening, Elle tosses around words like “true fan” that really grind my gears. Within the first pages, I hated her. I was done with this book. And then we met Darien.

Geekerella alternates between two first-person perspectives. One is of Elle and tells a classic Cinderella story in the world of geeks as she longs to attend a cosplay ball but has to deal with her evil stepmother and stepsisters. The other chapters focus on Darien, a soap opera teen icon who just got cast as the lead in the Starfield movie - these chapters are where the book shines.

Maybe I just have an easier time identifying with male characters. Elle is a geek and a blogger like me and Darien is a hunky TV star very much unlike me, but I still feel him and his struggles more. Darien is actually a true fan (pardon my French) of Starfield and struggles every day with the anxiety of doing right by the fans. I’ve personally seen geek culture from a fan’s point of view, like Elle’s, a million times - literally every day - but I’ve never really seen a story about a geek on the inside.

The stories of Elle and Darien are not totally separate. Early on the two get caught up in a case of wrong number and begin texting, bonding over their shared interest in Starfield. So it’s Cinderella meets geek culture meets You’ve Got Mail and it’s pretty great. So while Elle is blogging about what a terrible Starfield lead Darien is going to be, she is secretly falling in love with him. It’s super cheesy and adorably cliche but I love it.

As the two continue to get to know each other, so do we. By the end of the book, I fell in love with both of them - even Elle grows into a completely different person than she was in the beginning. First-chapter Elle is someone I would slowly walk away from at a con, but last-chapter Elle is someone I’d try to be best friends with. I went from wanting to put the book down after a few pages to tearing through the last chapters in no time.

Romance isn’t usually my genre, but Geekerella really got to me as more than a love story between two different kinds of fans. Not only do we see them fall in love, but we see why they love Starfield and really learn about the relationship between fans and pop culture. Elle’s stepmother sees it as an unhealthy obsession and Darien’s dad sees it as just another gig to make some money. But Elle and Darien really show that love transcends even this universe and science fiction can be more than just cheap entertainment. Geekerella is about more than two fans falling in love, it’s about a community and the love they all share together.

Geekerella is now available in paperback., so click here to order your copy today.