Blurb from Goodreads:
When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.
Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.
Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
Queens of Geek is perhaps the most adorable book I’ve read in years!!! It was just too cute! Honestly, if you want to read a sweet, simply written, incredibly diverse book about romance and healing at a fantastically geeky convention then look no further. I did have a few issues with it, and these did drop the rating, but the book doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is always refreshing.
Jen Wilde has tackled important topics such autism, and anxiety disorder, without making them seem life ruining or completely tragic and hopeless. The story is told from alternating POV’s; Taylor, Tumblr famous in the ‘Queen Firestone’ fandom, and cosplayer extraordinaire. And Charlie, a pink haired, bi, Asian-Australian YouTuber, rising to fame after staring in a wildly successful dystopian film. Both are accompanied by their kind and funny, Latinx best friend Jamie.
I’m going to break my normal conventions and start with what I didn’t like, so that I can end this review positively, because despite its flaws, I did enjoy this book.
Firstly I have to say that there are only so many references to popular culture that you can make, as you always run the risk of your audience not being in on the joke, especially if your readers aren’t American/tuned in to Western culture. Now, I live in London and consider myself quite up to date with such things, but there were a few references that even I didn’t get, and which threw me out of the novel.
At times the dialogue felt a little stilted and forced, and I did find myself rolling my eyes sometimes, because there’s no way people actually speak like that, right? I’m fairly certain that they don’t, and again, my incredulity at some of things said (especially by Taylor) caused my focus to be pulled from the story.
Sadly, I couldn’t really connect with the characters. This doesn’t mean I don’t respect them, or like them, I just felt they were a bit flat, even though on paper they seem very multi-faceted and interesting, it didn’t really translate into the novel. I should’ve felt some sort of relatable factor towards Taylor or Charlie. Like Taylor I am deeply entrenched in fandom, and would love to go to a convention as cool sounding as SupaCan, and also have, and am currently dealing with an anxiety disorder… but I couldn’t see myself in her or relate to her much, with the exception of a few scenes about the way anxiety affected her every day life. Charlie is POC and bisexual, like me, so surely there should have been some spark of recognition, or oh! I can relate to that! moment. Unfortunately not 😦 .
It was also very hard to enjoy Taylor’s chapters as she cried and whined in most of them… I know that she’s very anxious and autistic, so the world can get a bit much… but it was very hard to take her seriously, and started to carry less and less weight when it occurred every chapter. Also a few of her Tumblr posts that were included after most major events in the book were slightly cringey, I found! Especially as I am someone who is very active on Tumblr and posts frequently. She came across as someone who would annoy me quite a lot if I happened upon her blog, though this is purely a matter of personal preference.
Strangely, there really wasn’t much of a plot either… It was mainly centred around the two romances, and the resolutions of both of these, which wasn’t quite enough for me, but again, I feel like that’s a matter of personal preference, and also don’t really know what else could have been included to flesh it out a bit more.
With that negativity out of the way, there are lots of things I did like about this novel! The setting was really cool. SupaCon seemed genuinely awesome, and Wilde did make the atmosphere very believable and extremely exciting and hyped. She also built the romances very well! One of my favourite moments of the book, was when Alyssa Huntington, YouTube megastar and Charlie’s long time crush, was talking about her passion for science, and how meeting a successful black scientist as a young girl helped to spark an interest and present a career in science as a viable option for her.
The representation was also obviously a massive plus, as was the celebration of fan culture as a wholesome, positive experience, without the stigma of ‘weirdness’ or ‘freakiness’ that is so often attached to it.
Like I said before, if you’re looking for a quick, cute read, then this is for you, but prepare to do a bit of skim reading, especially if you prefer books with a bit more a of a substantial plot.
rating: ★★★.5 (3.5 stars)
have any of you guys read Queens of Geek? How did you find it? Whether you agree or disagree with me, don’t be afraid to let me know what you thought in the comments!