FAN-TASTIC OR FAIL?
Wait. That’s not it.
“FAN-TASTIC OR FAN-SERVICE.”
Geekerella by Ashley Poston was definitely both fantastic and full of fan-service.
My #ReadingWithoutWalls challenge, however is starting to look like a fail. Maybe that’s being dramatic. But while reading this I could definitely relate to Elle. I had flashbacks to my high school days of writing fanfiction and eventually my first convention in 2014. Instead of Atlanta, I was in New York for Comic Con and dressed in my first cosplay: Daisy Fitzroy from Bioshock Infinite. My friend cosplayed with me, as none other than Jeremiah Fink. Fitzroy and Fink. We were a pair, much like the duo that is Elle and Sage.
On the other hand, I stand by my choice. It wasn’t a complete fail. Elle and I aren’t alike in terms of looks or lifestyles. I am happy that I started with this book as my first book.
Side note: It did not take me fourteen days to read Geekerella. In fact, it took me about two full days between work and getting my life back together. How could it take that long with all of the cool geeky shit in this book? The cultural references were spot on and exciting. Plus, it’s quite an easy read.
Characters: From the protagonists to the multiple antagonists, I loved and loved to hate every character in this book. Of all the characters, I have to say, Lonny is probably my favorite. He doesn’t get much screen time, but every time he appears he contributes something. He’s not just background noise. Surprisingly Sage’s mom is another one of my favorite characters, solely for the reactions she elicits out of Sage. It’s adorable and believable.
Representation: From the get-go Poston makes a point that Hollywood has a serious white-washing problem, and thankfully Elle doesn’t stand for it. This problem is addressed multiple times in the narrative. From Elle hoping they don’t white-wash her precious Carmindor, to Darien noting that people think he got the role as Carmindor simply for not being white.
There is also some LGBT representation. The reference of a lesbian couple and the development of one. It’s done, in my opinion, very tastefully. None of the characters are sexualized and when the revelations are revealed it’s not a big deal to the people around them, because their personalities haven’t changed.
Oh the relationships! I’m not talking romantic either. First is Elle and Cal. Anyone who has even read a shred of this blog knows I’m a Meyer fan. So, of course while reading, I couldn’t help but think of Cinder and Peony. Peony, the one good sister Cinder had. Elle and Cal start off prior to Cinder and Peony’s relationship, but as the story progresses you know that’s where it’s headed. Hopefully, without one of them dying tragically.
There are so many positive female relationships in this book too. Specifically, Elle and Sage. Sage happens to be Elle’s surprising, but not so surprising, fairy godmother, pumpkin truck and all.
So, this was actually carried out with Darien, which I thought was cool. In fact, there’s a scene where Darien weeps over not being able to eat bacon and I definitely pictured Chris Pratt weeping in his #WHATSMYSNACK segments on Instagram. Which, if you live under a rock, and haven’t seen them yet, you should totally check them out. They’re gold.
But it was cute, and I think well done. Dieting is hard. But robbing yourself of cheat days is even harder. How much bacon and Orange Crush did Darien ingest after promotions for the film wrapped up? The world will never know.
Alright so, the only reason I approve of the texting strangers part, is because both characters didn’t blindly go into telling their life story to one another. Is it still problematic? Hell yes. Lord help us if teens start texting people they’ve never met and end up getting abducted by creepy adults. I’m praying that doesn’t happen, but I also appreciate that Elle and Darien are both aware they could be texting someone they shouldn’t be texting. I also appreciate that the people around them: Gail, Lonny, and Sage to name a few, know that they’re texting basically a stranger and keep an eye out for them. They also don’t just go along with it, but question them and the intentions of the person they’re texting.
Chole. While she isn’t the only villain in the story, she’s probably my favorite. That jacket scene hurt. I won’t spoil much else, but it definitely reminded me of the Disney Cinderella scene where they tear apart her dress. I thought it was well done.
It’s rare for a book to go without flaws. Usually if I think a book is amazing it’s because I didn’t notice some of the flaws in the books, which is why I like to go back and read reviews after the fact to see what I missed.
Geekerella, despite being good, didn’t fly past my radar. My number one pet peeve had to be missing words. I spotted at least three towards the end of the book. Three simple, missing words that took me out of the book three times. Not to say it’s Poston’s fault, but it is definitely poor editing.
Side Note: I’m not coming at the editing from a mean-spirited place. These are things I worry about in my own fiction. I have a novel I’m working on. I’ve read it as many times as I can. And sometimes when I read it again I spy a missing or mistyped word and it’s frustrating. So, whoever read Geekerella after Poston, didn’t catch the words she missed. It happens, but that doesn’t stop you from being sucked out of reading.
Other negatives? It was a tad cheesy at times. I blame this on long winded and over-the-top sentences. It’s something to expect out of teens, true. And seeing as the book is written in first person and from the perspective of two teens obsessed with Starfield, it’s to be expected, but sometimes hard to stomach.
My biggest dislike is actually the ending. SPOILERS AHEAD. The book ends with a blog post that’s been submitted to a magazine, journal, or even another website. I know this because under the title and Elle’s name it says “Previously published on rebelgunner.com.”
The article starts off well and fine. In fact the entire article is great. But then there’s the ending. “Starfield opens nationwide this weekend. The sequel is slated for next summer.”
And that’s it! After this nicely written and sweeping article it falls flat. “The sequel is slated for next summer.” There’s no, “so stay tuned my fellow stargunners” or anything like that. I would have preferred that she ended with the sentence prior to it.
“So, as the saying goes: Look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.”
Then it would have been perfect. At least to me it would have been perfect. But that last sentence almost made me throw the book. I remember flipping to the next page last night and getting mad. Yes, I know Poston uses that line to close out her acknowledgements, but I don’t care.
Anger over the ending aside, overall I enjoyed Geekerella. I thought it was adorable, nicely paced, and that the fairy-tale retelling was done well.
I’ll definitely keep a look out for Poston’s next work.
Until then I’m off to read one of the other books in my challenge.
One thing is for sure, I intend to look to the stars for the rest of the year. If I aim right, maybe someone will write a review about my own book.