Queens of Geek
by Jen Wilde
Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for review consideration. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
View at the Traffic light:
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.
I will eagerly read every single book written about fandom in general, so you bet I was interested in Queens of Geek. This book addresses so many things I wished more fandom books addressed. Even though I love books like Fangirl and Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here, I’m also dismayed when books portray fandom as being predominately white, straight, and middle-class, because that hasn’t been my experience at all.
Queens of Geek follows two POVs: one belonging to Charlie, a Chinese-Australian vlogger who recently got her big hit by starring in an indie zombie film that broke big. She’s at SupaCon for work and publicity, which is great. . . except her ex and co-star, Reese, shows up, and she has to play nice for the fans. While she’s there, she strikes up a friendship, and potentially more, with Alyssa, a big YouTuber who Charlie has been looking up to for years. The other follows Taylor, one of Charlie’s best friends, who is on the autism spectrum and has an anxiety disorder. Charlie and Taylor are there with their other best friend, Jamie, who Taylor has not-so-secretly had a crush on for years. Taylor’s also excited to meet the author of one of her favorite book series that has encouraged and inspired her for years.
This book deals with quite a few serious issues, but in a light way. Charlie calls out her ex’s biphobia, Taylor helps another girl through a panic attack, Taylor and Charlie have a discussion about sexual consent, and both couples have multiple conversations about boundaries. Some of the conversations are heavy-handed and aren’t as graceful as they could be, but overall they’re integrated into the plot very well. It’s also just refreshing to see a character like Taylor get a happy story, where her anxiety does in some ways hinder her but her friends unequivocally support her.
Both developing romances are delightful and I enjoyed reading them both equally. The split POV is done very well where I could always tell who was narrating, but I loved both stories so much that every time the POV split I felt slightly disappointed. And then, of course, I would get hooked in that character’s story all over again. Queens of Geek also brings it with the pop culture reference, and this book is really as geeky as the title declares it is. Some of them seem a little old for YA, like a Ross and Rachel reference, but I also know that some of the more modern references went over my head.
I have a feeling one criticism that will be leveled at Queens of Geek is that Jamie is so supportive of Taylor and is too good to be true. And you know what? That might be a fair criticism, but I don’t care. Jamie does have his own history and interests outside of Taylor, which is important, but he supports her 100%. He’s not perfect, and he messes up a few times, but I am so, so glad that readers looking for a fun, geeky read will get to read a developing relationship like Taylor and Jamie’s.
Queens of Geek was such a fun, geeky, quick read. I enjoyed every minute I spent reading it, even though I did think some of the messages got a bit heavy-handed and sloppy at times(though I loved those messages), while other times they were better integrated into the story. There was so much good stuff in here about being true to yourself, too, and two great, supportive, burgeoning romantic relationships that were both adorable. 4/5 cupcakes.