Title: Geekerella: A Novel
Author: Ashley Poston
Genre: Contemporary, Fairy Tale, Re-Telling, Young Adult
Publisher: Quirk Books (4th April 2017)
ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN ONCE UPON A CON . . .
When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her step-mother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all – not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.
Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws hear, closet nerd 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.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
GEEKERELLA by Ashley Poston is a young adult re-telling of the fairy story Cinderella, but set in the world of the fictional fandom of Starfield. The story is split between Elle, who grew up in the Starfield fandom as a young child and who now runs a blog, and Darien, the actor playing the main character in the new Starfield reboot and a fan of the original series. The producers of the Starfield reboot sponsor a cosplay contest at ExcelsiCon, and Elle sees it as a way for her to escape a seriously dire situation even if she is unimpressed with the reboot. Darien meanwhile is trying to deal with feeling more and more like a fake, as he hides his own history with Starfield, until he meets a girl who reminds him what he loves about the series and fandom.
This book was big on BookTube (it was the Booksplosion book of the month for May 2017) and on book blogs at the start of the year, and I was curious. In principle, I love books that are about fans and fan culture – it is such a rich and varied subject, and I’d like there to be more written about it both fictional and non-fictional. Anyway, on paper this book sounded like something that I might be interested in, like FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell sounded like a book I might love, unfortunately I had the same problem with both books.
I wanted to love GEEKERELLA because I loved and enjoyed how it celebrated fandom – how awesome (and not so awesome) it can be. GEEKERELLA has a lot of the same love and feelings of FANGIRL. If you love one then you will love the other. Unfortunately, no matter how many of the right boxes GEEKERELLA ticked in terms of fandom, like FANGIRL, I don’t love it. I like it. I like what it does. I just . . . The romance element of the plot is entirely predictable, and whilst I’m sure that’s the selling point for romance readers it just leaves me cringing. Will the next chapter, the next page, the next sentence be what I’m both hoping for and dreading? Reading this, I got myself so tense I just couldn’t bear to read any more, and the more I put down this book the worse the feeling got the next time I picked it up to attempt to read more. I read this book at a crawl.
Having said that, I do think that there is a lot to like about GEEKERELLA. Poston tells an interesting, if mostly predictable, story that fans of romance will love. I really enjoyed Elle’s friendship with Sage, and Darien’s complicated relationship with Gail. I also enjoyed the fact that Poston splits the narration between Elle and Darien so we get to see events unfold from both of their point of views – I enjoyed getting to know both of them. I also liked how Poston both conformed to and broke free from the conventions of the original fairy tale to make a story that was at once both familiar and new. Although GEEKERELLA was not really my cup of tea, I do recommend that you check this book out if you’re a fan of fairy tale re-tellings and the romance genre.