Title: Queens of Geek
Author: Jen Wilde
Distinctive qualities: Comic convention, nerdy and geeky cast of characters, bisexual Chinese-Australian main character, fat main character with social anxiety and autism, black love interest, Latino love interest.
Three friends. Two love stories. One convention.
Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
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 her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
Queens of Geek, an empowering young adult novel by Jen Wilde, is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a digital ARC of Queens of Geek!
“Haven’t you heard? Nerds are cool now.”
I had high hopes for Queens of Geek. It turned out to be different from what I expected, but in a good way. I thought it would be a lighthearted story about a group of friends’ adventures at a convention, but it was so much deeper than that.
“I fight every day, and too many times it’s just not enough and the fear wins. I’m so fucking weak and everything is so fucking intense and sometimes I really hate it.”
One of the main characters, Taylor, has social anxiety and autism. Being the biggest comic convention, SupaCon is overwhelming and very out of her comfort zone. Along with her worries for the future, she’s having a really hard time coping. <i>Queens of Geek</i> highlights her struggles and her realization that it’s okay to be weird and she shouldn’t want to change to be like everyone else. Her chapters were so relatable that I ended up with more than five pages’ worth of quotes, which is a lot for me. (I never write down quotes, unless I’m planning to write a review of the book. In that case, I usually end up with three of four quotes max.)
“This is so weird. How have I gone from shooting videos in my bedroom to talking to Alyssa Huntington while Stefan and Damon walk by?”
The other main character, Charlie, is completely different from her best friend. She is confident, unapologetic and a YouTuber and movie star on the rise. She goes to SupaCon with plans to let the entire world know that she is over her ugly and semi-recent breakup, which the media and her fans won’t let her forget. At the same time, she finds herself meeting her favorite YouTuber, Alyssa Huntington, whom she has a crush on and who seems to like her back. Throughout the weekend, Charlie realizes that she must come to terms with the media criticizing everything she does and choosing to be herself regardless.
The entire book is about accepting who you are, even when you are different from everyone else and they try to tear you down for it. Some parts could be really cheesy, but overall the story had an important message and a very enjoyable story.
“I don’t understand it. Don’t people know that when they say stuff, it affects others? Don’t they ever just stop and think, ‘Hey, if I said this, how would it make that person feel?'”