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.
*Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Queens of Geek will be released March 14, 2017*
Alright, everyone. I’m warning you now, this review is going to be long and include a lot of fangirling because
- one of the main characters is named Taylor and she was basically like me
- anything and everything nerdy is mentioned in this novel
- Taylor’s love interest is my actual dream guy and I could NOT handle his cuteness
- though this novel was cutesy, it also discussed important topics such as intersectional feminism, sexuality (including the topics bi-phobia), and sexism
I’ve had my eye on Queens of Geek for a while now. When Swoon Reads approved me to read an ARC of it, I was beyond thrilled. The best part was, they approved me the day before Valentine’s Day. (Which is technically Galentine’s Day and is way better than Valentine’s Day in my opinion. Just saying.)
So after getting all my work done on the morning of Valentine’s Day, I curled up in bed with Queens of Geek. At the mention of Jessica Jones on page one, I was already in love.
“History and experience have proven to me it’s very hard for people to understand, and all too easy for them to judge.” He shakes his head like he’s disappointed. “But how will you know how people react if you don’t open up to them in the first place?”
The way this book spoke to me on a personal level was incredibly eerie. Throughout reading the novel, I kept messaging my mom and my sister these quotes and traits, and they too could not get over the way it related to me so well.
It’s when I read novels like this—stories that tell me I’m not alone in my struggles—that make me want to fight harder for diversity. I’m lucky to be able to see myself in practically every story in the world, but for those who feel they are never represented, I couldn’t imagine the pain of it. It’s crucial for everyone to know that they exist. That they have a voice in a world.
“You can’t pick and choose whose equality you support. That’s not equality.”
That’s another beautiful thing about Queens of Geek. Wilde creates a realistic, diverse cast of characters. Taylor suffers from social anxiety and Asperger’s syndrome. (She also is a self-proclaimed introvert, wants to be a writer and knows all things nerdy, so you can see how we relate.) Charlie is Chinese-Australian and bisexual. Jamie is Spanish and nerdy and loves Marvel and Supernatural and photography. (We’re meant to be.) Charlie’s love interest is Alyssa, an African-American girl who is a Youtuber and actress, like Charlie. And throughout the novel, we meet men and women of every color and sexuality and it is so beautiful.
He’s got the whole Peter Parker thing down to a tee, right down to the camera hanging around his neck.
Alright. So I’m pretty convinced Wilde has somehow been eavesdropping on my conversations and decided to use my dream guy for her novel because PETER PARKER AND CAMERAS??? Sorry, Etienne St. Clair. You have been replaced. (But don’t worry, I still love you forever and always.)
Jamie is the sweetest friend and I just … I CANNOT HANDLE HIS CUTENESS. He was always considerate of Taylor’s feelings and anxieties. He was always supporting her for exactly who she was, never once trying to mold her into someone else. He only brought out the best in her, and she brought out the best in him.
I love everything about crushes. The butterflies, the possibilities, the giddy wonder of it all. But this is the first time I’ve liked a girl who might actually like me back.
Now, we have to talk about how cute Charlie and Alyssa are together. BECAUSE THEY ARE ADORABLE. Much like Taylor and Jamie, these two girls brought out the best in each other. They taught one another how to be brave, how to stand up for what you love and believe in. They are both, strong and confident women. Together, they made such an incredible duo that was swoon-worthy.
I show him Valentina, pointing to the part where it says she’s autistic, and his eyebrows shoot up. “That is so cool.”
“This is Josie, remember from Skyler’s signing? She created it.”
Jamie introduces himself, picks up a copy from the table, and buys it then and there.
BLESS THIS BOY. BLESS THESE CHARACTERS. BLESS JEN WILDE FOR CREATING THIS BOOK.
Another quality I adore about Queens of Geek is how it supports self-love, body confidence, women supporting women, and accepting our flaws. Wilde embraced all of the dark corners of our world, the storm clouds in our chests, and told us it’s okay. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be messy.
“We’re all messy. What kind of friends would we be if we demanded you only show us your prettiness? This isn’t Instagram, it’s real life. And real life is messy.”
This was an adorable novel, and yet so raw and real. I admire Wilde’s ability to write such an easy read, but still be able to discuss important topics such as sexism and homophobia. She didn’t ignore these issues that are still very relevant to our world, and I think that’s very admirable.
I’m surrounded by superheroes. And that means I must be one, too. And everyone knows that no matter what darkness they face, heroes are destined to win.
Queens of Geek showed me how to be my own hero and help me conquer a long-time fear. Jen Wilde, thank you so, so much for writing this novel. It has made me a better person. It has made me believe in love again. And I know Queens of Geek will help many others in a variety of ways.
Queens of Geek is easily one of my favorite books of the year, and probably of all time. I highly, highly, recommend pre-ordering this beauty and reading it as soon as it arrives at your door. I already pre-ordered my copy and look forward to taking pictures of it and gushing about it for the rest of my life.
But tell me, what are some of your favorite books you’ve read this year? What novel gives you all of those lovey-dovey feelings? As always, leave any recommendations, thoughts, comments or questions down below for me.