Queens of Geek, by Jen Wilde
Description: (from Swoon Reads)
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, Jason 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.
Expected publication: March 14th 2017.
A review copy (eARC) of this book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley. Some things might change in the final copy.
I’m not usually fond of stories revolving around love or strictly about love stories. But this one is about such nice and geeky people, I had a really great time. I mostly loved all the discussions about society issues and subjects you encounter often when you’re active on the internet and want to understand other people better. Subjects such as intersectional feminism, body shaming and body positivity, being on the autism spectrum, bisexuality and more!
The strengh of this novel is in the characters, so here’s a little presentation for each of them:
The Main characters (The novel is told in a dual POV)
Charlie is a bisexual Chinese-Australian girl who has been posting vlogs on youtube for a while. She dyed her hair pink recently and the indie movie she was in suddenly became super hyped so she is invited to SupaCon in the US. She’s in her final year of high-school and brings her two best friends with her to the Con, Taylor and Jamie.
Taylor is neurodivergent (Asperberg’s syndrome), has social anxiety and is what she calls a “round” girl. She also shaved a part of her hair but what defines her is how she loves her friend and is the biggest fan of The Queen Firestone, a huge book series. In the same way Cat is in the novel Fangirl, kinda mirroring the Harry Potter fandom. She has a large audience on twitter and tumblr where she talks about Queen Firestone and about her life.
“How do they manage to do everything they need to do and go out in the world and be human without feeling the weight of it all crushing them into oblivion?”
The Side characters (or the love interests)
Jamie came to their school after the girls were already friends but their shared love of everything pop culture led to their friendship. I loved how supportive he was of them, and how he reacted to a “macho dick” (quoting him!) bothering and insulting his friends at the Con.
Alyssa is a brown girl with tattoos. She also films vlogs about women around the world, science and everything she’s passionate about. She is like Charlie’s “personal hero”.
“One of the fans starts running toward us, and then everyone follows. Suddenly I’m having flshbacks to the stampede scene in The Lion King.”
This is an #ownvoices novel, meaning Jen Wilde is autistic like Taylor and bisexual like Charlie. I found those info on her twitter bio (@jenmariewilde) but first on a review that I read on goodreads.
It was a short novel (184 pages on my ereader) but a lovely story, with a great cast of characters and important discussions. It was cute and heart wrenching at times. The diversity of voices felt like a breath of fresh air and I was sad to leave the characters so quickly. But it didn’t felt too rushed, maybe the end a little bit but that didn’t bothered me that much. The story is set during one weekend at a convention and how it will affect them, mostly revolving around their love life and acceptance of who they are. All the pop culture references where well placed and didn’t felt “too much” at all. It was kinda more “tell” than “show” for the case of Taylor but it wasn’t a problem, because she talks about how it is to be like her and I feel it is very important. Those were my favourite parts because she talked about her anxiety in a very open and true way, also talking about how to manage panic attacks. Leading to another thing that I loved in this book : girls supported other girls all the times! No rivalry or petty fight like you usually see in YA to create tension ; even during a cosplay contest, it was really nice.
I would totally re-read this novel once it is out, I had a lot of fun with these geeky romance and really felt like the author wrote this with the best of intentions. Her dedication at the beginning of the novel made me smile and I’d like to share it with you:
“To the weirdos, the geeks and the fandom queens. To the outcasts, the misfits and everything in between. The days of playing the sidekick are over. You are the superheroes now. You are my people, and this is for you.”