Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi 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’s ever wanted, but the 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.
Like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl before it, Geekerella has been described as a love letter to fangirls, and I agree wholeheartedly. Although Elle didn’t deliver the utterly soul crushing familiarity that Cath did, her relationship with Starfield and its connection to her father hit pretty close to home. It made me very glad that my dad is around to discuss the merits of Star Trek over Star Wars with. Plus, it was finally a novel about fandom done right. So many books try to capture what it’s like to be a geek in today’s world and so many get it cringingly wrong. But there were tons of fun references just for us! I think I caught them all, except the video game ones–I was completely lost when it came to those, I must admit. I also loved how Poston subtly showed some differences in the fandoms that Darien and Elle were involved in. They weren’t making the same jokes for the exact same shows/books/movies the entire time. For example, Batman and Captain America were all over his chapters, but barely mentioned in Elle’s; clearly, she isn’t a superhero nerd. It was a great detail and added a lot of distinction to the characters.
I’d also like to mention how great it is that we have a POC and POV lead in Darien. It’s such a rare thing, especially in a book that isn’t about race at all. Plus, Geekerella doesn’t focus on his ethnicity except where it matters (such as when Darien mentions how inspiring it was to see himself represented in the original Starfield). And to top it off, Elle’s friend/Fairy Godmother, Sage, also provided some LGBT representation, in addition to just being an all-around great character.
That said, I do have a couple of complaints. One, I spotted a fair number of typos. Accidental as they may be (and petty to note, perhaps), they kind of jolted me out of the story. Two, although I expected Elle to learn not to be so judgemental of the non-geek girls who were fans of Darien, that didn’t exactly happen in the way I hoped. There was a tiny bit of pointless girl hate, and that bothered me a little.
All in all, I really enjoyed the novel. It is quirky, fun, cheesy, and very well-informed when it comes to fandoms. I personally connected to both Elle and Darien on a variety of levels, but I think it’s the kind of love story anyone can enjoy–Trekkie or no.
I want to tell him…what it meant to see someone who looked like me in command of the Prospero. I want to cut out my fanboy heart and show him that it bleeds like every other Stargunner’s. I want to tell him that the Federation Prince Carmindor saved my life.
– Page 41