Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Cinderella-Meets-Nerd Culture Retelling: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Geekerella by Ashley Poston | Goodreads

Publisher: Quirk Books
Release: April 4, 2017
Source: Publisher
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 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. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.
Are you a fan of fairy tale retellings? Do you swoon over adorable romances? Are you a passionate fandom member who loves to meet people just as nerdy as you are?

If you answered yes to even one of these questions, Geekerella is the Cinderella-meets-Comic Con-meets-Star Wars story you didn’t know you needed in your life.

I love YA retellings of classic tales, whether they revisit ancient myths, Shakespearean tragedies, or 19th-century novels. I love them, but I’m picky; I need wit and creativity, and I can’t stand books that simply scribble modern settings and technology over well-worn plots. At first, I worried Geekerella would end up rehashing the classic rags-to-riches tale that inspired it, but instead, this novel ended up becoming one of my all-time favorite retellings. Although Ashley Poston’s version of the tale does closely follow the plot of Disney’s Cinderella, it modernizes the details so smoothly and cleverly that I could not help feeling charmed. From vlog-famous stepsisters (one of whom earns a dash of redemption) to a funky fashion designer fairy godmother, from a sci-fi ball to a vegan pumpkin food truck, every character and plot point deviates from the source material just enough to keep readers questioning how the new elements will intertwine.

The premier modernization in Geekerella is, unsurprisingly, the overall aura of nerdiness. If you’ve read every fanfic about your OTP, if you love to cosplay as your favorite character, or if you regularly host Star Trek marathons, I promise you’ll relate to the main character and her love interest—and fight down anger every time Elle’s stepmother berates her for her “trivial” interests. Best of all, Elle and Darien’s shared obsession with Starfield makes them both dynamic characters bursting with passion and personality, a welcome respite from the animated movie (because, let’s face it, neither Cinderella nor her prince received as much character development as they deserved in the 1950 film).

Speaking of Elle and Darien, this review would not be complete without a mention of their romance in all its adorable, messy glory. Sparked by a wrong-number text, their relationship develops through anonymous messages about Starfield, loneliness, and life in general, culminating in a mad-dash, maybe-missed-connection at ExcelsiCon. The dramatic-irony twist? Elle is the blogger behind a viral post critiquing Darien’s being cast in the Starfield reboot—but Darien, of course, has no idea. Their story is perfect for fans of You’ve Got Mail, Jennifer E. Smith’s This Is What Happy Looks Like, or enemies-to-romance ships.

I only have one minor complaint about Geekerella: I wanted a bit more satisfaction and resolution regarding the end of Elle’s relationship with her evil stepmother. The story contains a short-but-emotional confrontation, but nothing as gratifying or meteoric as I found myself craving. I know the ending is truer to Disney’s Cinderella than a true showdown would have been—and it’s still ultimately empowering and rewarding—but I couldn’t help aching to see Elle stand up for herself just a bit more.

But still, I love, love, loved Geekerella. It magically encapsulates the joy and community of fandoms—a feeling that all fangirls (and fanboys!) know, but that’s almost impossible to capture in words. This novel unironically, wholeheartedly celebrates nerd culture, reminding me all over again why I love the YA community, the Harry Potter fandom, Nerdfighteria, and more. Above all else, Ashley Poston’s latest release is a manifesto for being an unapologetic fan of whatever you enjoy.

For me, Geekerella is without a doubt a story I enjoyed enough to fangirl about. And if you’re anything like me, I’m sure the same will be true for you.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I really enjoyed this, it was quite a light and fun read. Not to mention I love retellings.

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