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What: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Who: Swoon Reads

When: April 26th 2017

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Pan Macmillan Australia for review.

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, Reese 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.

3cats2Queens of Geek was, in one word, cute. If you’re looking for a light, fun, and quick contemporary YA novel with diverse characters then Queens of Geek is definitely for you.

One of the things I liked most about Queens of Geek was the fact that it was set at a pop culture convention. I was at one of those about two weeks ago, and I go to roughly three of them a year. Cons are a big part of my life – something that makes me happy, makes me feel accepted without judgement, and they’re just fun. So I loved reading about characters who feel the same way I do about cons. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where a character attends one, let alone a whole book set at one so this element was lovely to read about.

I probably related a bit more to Taylor than I did to Charlie, simply because I don’t vlog, and I’m not famous (which Charlie is). I could relate to Taylor because she’s absolutely obsessed with a series of books – Firestone – and is mainly at the con to meet the author. I could totally understand the way she talked about the books and the movies, the way they helped her become who she is and were a comfort and rock during hard times. Even though her anxiety presented itself in different ways to mine, I could empathise a lot with the emotions she felt – even when they went against what she wanted to do.

I really liked Taylor’s romance with Jamie because it’s friends to lovers, which is one of my favourite romance tropes. I loved how Jamie never made Taylor feel ridiculous or inadequate because of her feelings, and that he was so respectful of her, her body, and her decisions. He was just an all ‘round sweetheart, really, and I think it’s important to have boys like this in YA so that readers know what a loving, supportive partner looks like.

Charlie was a difficult character for me to love. I feel like she counted herself as a really awesome friend to Taylor, but actually spent about five minutes with her through the entire book because she kept blowing her off to spend time with her crush, Alyssa. I get that she wanted to spend time with Alyssa, but I also wanted to read more about Charlie and Taylor’s best friendship because it seemed liked it was going to be such a big part of the book, and it wasn’t.

The fact that Charlie recognised her faults was amazing. At one point in the book, she partakes in some slut shaming, but then straight away she realises what a shitty thing that is to do. I would have preferred it to not have been in there at all (I despise slut shaming), but the fact that it was actually addressed as something that’s problematic, harmful, and wrong was a positive side to it.

Charlie’s romance with Alyssa was adorable. Especially because it’s f/f and also interracial (Charlie is Chinese Australian and Alyssa is black). It probably moved a little too quickly for me to fully invest in it, but I loved that they were open with each other, and that Alyssa understood Charlie’s feelings about how having a new relationship could affect her career (a lot of her original popularity came because of her relationship with her boyfriend), but also wasn’t willing to hide her sexuality because of it. I loved how they talked about their pasts, and their relationships, and their sexualities. These conversations made them a lot more fleshed out.

Overall, I really liked Queens of Geek, but it just didn’t quite hit the mark for me. The emotion wasn’t really there, and there were some moments when the conversations and scenes felt a little stilted. I will still recommend it, however, because there were a lot of things to like about it, and it’s also super diverse (including #ownvoices autistic rep with Taylor’s character, and bisexual rep with Charlie’s).

© 2017, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warnings: ableism, bi erasure, biphobia, reference to bullying, reference to romantic cheating, use of ableist language, anxiety, panic attack, sexism, racism, slut shaming, and fat shaming in this novel

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Posted on: May 8, 2017 • By: Chiara

20 Responses to Review: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

  1. Ahh I’m glad you did like this one! Even if it still fell a bit short for you. I do get that the romance was rushed in places, *nods* I agree. Taylor and Jamie were adjfsakld adorable though and the bookish geekiness REALLY resonated with me.🎉 Also I loved how diverse it was!! It’s really rare to find a book with an ASD girl so yaaas that this exists.

    • Chiara says:

      Me too! It is a bit of a shame that I didn’t fall head over heels but I definitely liked it, and have so much appreciation for it, as well. The bookishness was EVERYTHING. And I loved that Taylor’s ASD was ownvoices, as well :D

  2. I personally loved this book so much! It was so cute and well written and I loved how relatable and geeky and awkward it was! It was a 100% me and I could not relate more! Thanks for this lovely review as per usual Chiara!

  3. Lovely review, I’m glad to hear you overall enjoyed this but did not fell head over heels with it either. I kept reading high praise about this book and was a bit nervous to get into it now – the struggle with books that are too hyped, I guess. I’ll definitely read it soon, but get into it with a bit less expectations. Also, yay for such a diverse cast!! :)

    • Chiara says:

      Thanks, Marie! I know how you feel on hype. I swear it works the opposite way for me and I end up not loving the book because I expected something out of this world *sigh* I’m glad to have brought this book back to the real world for you, haha. I hope you liked it! And yes, the diverse cast was amazing :D

  4. I really love this review. I’ve seen a lot of reviews that have been 100% good and honestly it was kind of making me nervous to read it in case I didn’t love it…but your review has actually made me feel much better about reading it🙈 ! I’m so excited to get to it as soon as I can!

    • Chiara says:

      Aw, thank you so much! I know the feeling of not trusting all the glowing reviews, haha. Hype never ends up well for me. I hope you liked it if you got around to reading it, Kirsty!

  5. Ahhhh I loved this one <3 I do agree the conversations felt a bit stilted sometimes, but it was so cute I didn't even care haha.

  6. shooting says:

    Sorry the emotion wasn’t quite there for this one – but it does sound like the perfect summer read. I love books that focus on characters similar to me – aka nerdy people! I’ll have to try and read this one sometime soon.

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

    • Chiara says:

      I think this would be a good, fun summer read! And yes, it’s so nice to read about people with the same passions and interests as you :D I hope you like it if you get to it, Lauren!

  7. I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t quite live up to your expectations. I haven’t read this one yet, but I have heard some interesting things about it, and am so glad to see that it features diverse characters and that the overall plot of the book just seems like it’s so much fun. The whole cute and nerdy thing that it has going on really makes this one stand out in terms of the synopsis, but I can see how it not being quite as relatable as you had hoped might stunt the enjoyment of the book overall. Great review!

    • Chiara says:

      Even though it didn’t make it as a favourite I am still so thankful for its existence and I definitely did enjoy it overall! The diversity was lovely, and the pop culture convention setting was delightful. Thanks, Kelly!

  8. Kelly says:

    I loved this one Chiara but couldn’t agree more actually. I think when you break down the issues raised through both narratives, it could be seen as a little too perfect. I loved how well received the representation has been, it’s probably the pinnacle for most authors when readers are relating and finding themselves within the characters they’ve created. Thank goodness for Jamie though, he was such a wonderful support for Taylor wasn’t he. I adored them together.

    Wonderful review Chiara, so glad you were still able to enjoy it despite those few niggling issues <3

    • Chiara says:

      Yeah, it was a bit too perfect but sometimes you need a book where that’s the case! I do love the rep in it, and I’m glad the book community is embracing this book – it makes me very happy! Jamie was absolutely gorgeous, and I really think we need more characters like him in YA, instead of the alpha males we so often get.

      Thanks, Kelly! I’m glad too ^.^ <3

  9. verushka says:

    I am enjoying the cuteness of this one. I just genuinely think some days, that’s all you need, and this with the con especially? Sounds lovely!

    • Chiara says:

      There is a lot of cuteness in this book, which is nice! Diverse books often tend to be quite dramatic and dark so it was refreshing to read one that mainly focused on fun, sweet things :D

  10. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, dear Chiara! I too adore that it’s set at a con – we honestly don’t have enough of those stories, given what a huge part of many readers’ lives they are these days. Also, HELL YES FOR DIVERSE NERDY CHARACTERS GETTING A ROMANTIC PLOTLINE. I feel like too often diverse characters can be regulated to stereotypes & tropes, but it’s so incredibly important that diverse characters are shown as a) super-nerds at a con, & b) lovable enough to have their own romantic plotlines. I’m so pleased with this book for that reason alone, tbh. <3

    • Chiara says:

      Me too! The fact that it was set at a con was a huge draw-card for me, and one of the reasons I love it so much. SO many of us bookish people attend cons and yet this is the only book I can think of that actually has bookish people going to a con! Yes, it was so lovely to have romance for characters that are often delegated to “issue books” (which are important, of course, in their own right but we need to branch out!). <3

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