Author: Ashley Poston
Series: Once Upon A Con #1
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Retelling
Published: April 4th, 2017 (Quirk Books)
Synopsis: Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction 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 has 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.
This is my second full re-read and Geekerella is just as adorable and amazing as I remember. I listened to it on audiobook this time, and it was surprisingly good! Turns out, this is a story that is as good to listen to as it is to read! Seriously though, books like this are why I read contemporary novels at all.
“Never give up on your dreams, and never let anyone tell you that
what you love is inconsequential or useless or a waste of time.
Because if you love it? If that OTP or children’s card game or
abridged series or YA book or animated series makes you happy?
That is never a waste of time. Because in the end we’re all just a bunch of weirdos standing in front of other weirdos, asking for their username.”
Danielle Wittimer is an avid fan of the Starfield TV series, and is less than impressed when teen heartthrob and soap opera star Darien Freeman is cast for the lead role of Prince Carmindor in an upcoming movie adaptation. For Elle, Starfield is more than just a TV show – it’s the series she watched with her late father growing up and it is a link to him. She decides to vent her frustrations through a scathing post on her relatively minor blog, Rebelgunner – which unexpectedly goes viral as Starfield fans around the country are equally skeptical about the casting.
Meanwhile, for Darien, Starfield is his big break, but secretly, he’s as much of a geek at heart as the rest of the fandom and is forced to hide it for his public image. As part of the promotion for the movie, Darien, is scheduled to make an appearance at ExcelsiCon, which he isn’t too happy about, having sworn off cons a long time ago. He tries to contact the organizers to back out, but little does he know that the number he gets belonged to Elle’s father who founded ExcelsiCon and following his death, his phone has passed down to Elle. Following this texting mishap, they begin conversing regularly, recognizing a true Starfield fan in each other, but unaware as to who they really are – the writer behind Rebelgunner and the actor set to portray Carmindor – and there the Cinderella story ensues.
“Elle, we might not know much about each other,
and I might not be there, and you might not be here,
but I’m glad I share this sky with you.
Maybe we should start looking up together, ah’blena”
The story is narrated from both Elle and Darien’s perspectives and watching their friendship unfold was simply beautiful. What I loved most about this book is that at every point, I could so strongly identify with Elle’s opinions on fandom – I can count more than one instance where I have been absolutely outraged at some of my favourite books being turned into movies (and outright refused to watch the movies in some cases!). Darien’s inner monologues are just as relatable, and there’s a point where he meets his established co-star for the first time and is trying so hard not to fanboy – and it’s hilarious and such a natural reaction. Geekerella so accurately captures the essence of fandom in a tale that is truly heartwarming.
This is a modern-day Cinderella story, complete with an evil stepmother and stepsisters, a ball and glass slippers, intertwined with nerd culture and I count it among the best retellings I have ever read. Fans of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl are sure to enjoy this, and even if you haven’t read that, Geekerella is a book practically made for us fandom obsessed readers, and it is sure to put a smile on your face.
“Look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.”
The companion novel to Geekerella, The Princess and the Fangirl, releases today and I’m so excited to read it! What about you?
Other reviews in this series:
Book 2: The Princess and the Fangirl