Contemporary Realistic Fiction · Review · Young Adult

Geekerella by Ashley Poston | Book Review

Geekerella by Ashley Poston, on a beige fabric, surrounded by two pink and purple hearts and a crescent moon

Series: Once Upon a Con, #1

Publisher: Quirk Books

Pub. Date: 2017

Genres: Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA

Pages: 320

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Geekerella‘s title is pretty clear that it retells Cinderella but makes her a geek, but it goes further by making her prince the star of the Starfield reboot, which is a space-adventure cult classic that Elle Wittimer was raised on. Elle is not thrilled because she feels the shallow idol of her stepsisters’ favorite show is going to ruin her favorite character who is the opposite. But she is willing to put that aside in favor of entering a contest that involves him if it will help her escape her cruel step-family. Secretly, Prince Charming, a.k.a. Darien Freeman, is a Starfield fan at heart who wants to get some control over his life and career. While they work through those struggles, they end up texting each other without knowing who the other is. Think A Cinderella Story (2004) or You’ve Got Mail (1998). Ashley Poston’s Geekerella is a delightful, modern update to Cinderella that is about fandom and believing in yourself.

In a true movie of her primary fandom, Starfield. This fandom surrounds the space-adventure cult classic (in the book’s universe) of the same name, which apparently focuses on the adventures and relationship of Prince Carmindor and Princess Amara. Elle has been attached to Starfield her entire life, and that’s likely thanks to her late dad who created the main convention, ExcelsiCon, of the fandom. Now her stepsisters’ favorite icon from a famous TV show is going to take up the role of Prince Carmindor, and Elle’s not having it.

Geekerella is written from both Elle’s and Darien’s perspectives, and every chapter alternates which perspective we’re getting. Elle lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and her stepmother makes her work in a local food truck and do every possible chore in the home. When she gets a free moment to be herself, she dives into the Starfield fandom, writing fanfic and blog posts on Rebelgunner. Her stepmother and stepsisters do all they can to climb the social hierarchy and work on their internet fame, and that fundamentally does not include Starfield.

I like how fandom plays into Elle’s life and family, and I like seeing her try to figure out how she can make her family heirlooms into a cosplay. It’s even better that it helps her find a friend who is very good at sewing. Her thought processes and struggles are believable.

Darien is a good-looking character who is in the middle of shooting the movie in Atlanta, Georgia, or somewhere near it. His insured abs are a running punchline in the novel, but there is a degree that I want to know how’s possible to insure a part of your body like that. I like that he’s a true fan of the movie, and I like how he gets into contact with Elle. Their text conversations are sweet too. I also think it’s refreshing that he is concerned about doing right by the fandom and original work.

The bits of fandom and interpretation of it that’s given in the book are great, but I didn’t so much fall in love with Starfield as I did Elle and Darien’s love for it. It was even better with Elle introducing another character to it.

I enjoyed the storytelling style, especially the pages that marked sections of the story with Starfield quotes. On a minor note, the writing felt like it was designed to be adapted into a movie. I noticed something similar while reading Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, but I’m not sure how I feel about it.

As a final note, I want to talk about the book design. I love the cover and end pages. The cover shows all of the main characters, including the protagonists and antagonists. The endpages are pink and show all these little things that are part of the fandom and the convention. It’s well-thought out by showing these details of the book in a way that reflects the book’s own respect for fandom.

I recommend Geekerella to those who like retellings of Cinderella and those who are involved in a fandom. I think it’s also a good summer read.

6 thoughts on “Geekerella by Ashley Poston | Book Review

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