Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Published April 4th, 2017
When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.
Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.
I rated Geekerella 5/5 stars on Goodreads.
This review, like all of my reviews, is spoiler-free.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston tells the story of Elle, orphaned teenage girl living with her less-than-delightful stepmother and stepsisters who’s as devoted to Starfield as her sisters are to soy lattes. Elle keeps the memory of her parents alive by watching their favorite show, blogging about the upcoming movie adaptation, and advocating for her absolute disgust for actor Darien Freeman, who’s been cast as the next Federation Prince Carmindor.
While Elle couldn’t have imagined a worse Carmindor, Darien himself is trying to do his role, and his favorite character, justice. He’s loved Starfield all his life, but the mounting pressure and flurry of doubts raised by his soap opera career make Darien doubt himself and his talents. Fate and dramatic irony intertwine these two character’s lives, but the happy ending isn’t so easy to achieve.
Geekerella is the everygirl’s fairytale. Poston incorporated the classic Cinderella elements and images into the story, but gave them a fresh and refreshing twist. For example, The Magic Pumpkin food truck, as depicted on the cover, pays clever homage to the pumpkin carriage that transports Cinderella to the ball in the original fairy tale. At the same time, our princess Elle is obsessed with blogging and fandoms rather than winning the heart of the theoretical prince. The subtle infusion of the familiar Cinderella images pairs beautifully with the geeky culture we all know and love.
The dramatic irony surrounding the incognito relationship between Elle and Darien enhanced my experience as a reader because I got to see all the clues. Because I knew what was going on behind the curtain, I about lost my mind over all the times Elle and Darien didn’t come together, despite their infuriating proximity. Subsequently, I rooted for their relationship throughout the book and was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happened next.
Elle and Darien were starkly different narrators simply because of their different perspectives, but their idiosyncrasies were what made them authentic, original characters. Even without chapter titles, I could easily tell our leading gal and guy apart based on the language they used and how they described different things. I saw pieces of myself in both Elle and Darien, which also contributed to why I liked them so much. Relating to them was an easy task.
I also enjoyed reading about the fandom culture throughout Geekerella. I’m no cosplay expert, but Poston portrayed the Starfield fandom in a way that was easy to understand, even with little to no experience. She struck the perfect balance between explaining what the terminology meant and letting the reader fill in the gaps with his or her own experience.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Geekerella. It’s a quietly inspirational book that reminded me of why I loved princess stories as a little girl: they tell us that everyone can be a princess so long as you are true to yourself. Geekerella is a shot of confidence and reassurance that you can, and will, do whatever you decide is right so long as you have faith in yourself.
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Have you read Geekerella? What did you think?