Monday, March 27, 2017

Geekerella by Ashley Poston (Review)

Release date: April 4th, 2017
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 320

Description (from Goodreads):

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 can already say Geekerella by Ashley Poston is going to be among my top 5 books of 2017! It made me laugh, it made me cry, and most importantly, it reminded me why I love being a fangirl so damn much.

For me, and I imagine for a lot of readers out there, Geekerella will read like 320-page long love letter to fandom. It is a story about two fans, and more generally about being a fan and what fandom can bring to your life. It is incredibly romantic and relatable, it has a diverse set of characters and a lot of heart, and I think all and all, it is everything (and much more) I could ever want from a contemporary young adult novel.

Elle is the "Cinderella" of this story. Her father died when she was younger, and she is now living with her stepmother and two stepsisters. This family she has been forced to become a part of has not made her life easy, but she knows that things could be much worse -- at least she has her anonymous friends on the Starfleet forums.

The television show and the fandom at the heart of Geekerella is called Starfleet. It's a sort of Firefly-esque science fiction drama Elle was introduced to by her father, and I think the memory of watching the show with him makes it even more important for her. Starfleet was their "thing", and now that he is gone she feels responsible for keeping said "thing" alive. 

Darien has been a Starfleet fan too for years, and when the opportunity to star in a reboot movie of the show shows up, Darien is not quite sure how to react. Sure, he is really excited, but at the same time he wonders whether he can ever do justice to the fictional world and characters loved by so many. 

When Elle hears about the casting of Darien she feels furious. How can a teenage heartthrob like that be selected to such an iconic role? Sure, he is nice to look at, but that is not enough. To voice her concerns, Elle writes about the casting to her blog, thinking no one will read it anyway. Little does she know that among her numerous readers is Darien, the new star of Starfleet.

As a result of her blog post, Darien and Elle start to exchange messages. Elle, of course, has no idea who she is messaging with. I absolutely loved the messages they send for each other (it kind of reminded me of You've Got Mail, since for half of that Tom Hanks knows he is messaging with Meg Ryan) and it is an absolutely joy to read how they gradually get to know each other just through the messages they send. since this is obviously a Cinderella retelling of sorts, you kind of know what is going to happen towards the end, but that does not really matter since Poston makes the process of reaching that end so much fun to read about.

I found it extremely easy to relate to Elle and simply loved reading about her. Especially the way she gets comfort from fandom is something I find myself feeling every single day. Darien seems like such a good guy, and I would honestly pay big money to read more about him and Elle.

While the story of Elle and Darien is to die for, I want to go back to discussions about fandom, because those discussions are really the aspect that made me fall in love with this novel. The convention scenes, the discussions about the role of fandom in people's lives, and the realization that something fictional can teach you about real life are all resonated with me so much. 

I am a fan of a lot of things, and sometimes people ask me why I take something fictional so seriously. The realization Elle reaches -- that these fictional stories have taught her about love, science, etc -- is something I have realized too. And while the stories and characters are fictional, they can sometimes feel more real than the people around us.

If you are a fan of anything I think you are going to love this one! 

Geekerella is one of those books I would want to wipe from my memory JUST so I could read it again for the first time!


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