Published by Swoon Reads on March 14th 2017
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Contemporary, Diversity, Young Adult, Romance, LGBT
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When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.
Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.
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 Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
I absolutely adored this book and all the characters that came with it. Queens of Geek follows three Australian friends as they travel together to a geeky convention over the weekend, creating a story of self-discovery while dealing with societal issues relevant to the current time. Readers get to read through the first person POV’s of Charlie, a Youtuber, actress, and bisexual Chinese girl dealing with a recent breakup, and Taylor, a creative cosplayer who is on the autism spectrum and has anxiety. Both girls deal with romances and figuring out important lessons about their character, body, and mentality, all the while sharing important – and empowering – message towards the reader. Suffice it to say, Queens of Geek not only impressed me with its highly relatable characters and setting, but also how several contemporary issues are addressed and the maturity of the characters (even with their flaws). As a high schooler, this contemporary really hit close to my heart on how the characters are portrayed and their struggles, as well as how they overcome them. This is definitely one story that I’ll be recommending for friends both in and out of the book community.
Charlie, Taylor, and Jamie are three close friends whose friendship is totally goals. They’re extremely supportive of one another, no matter how high the road bumps are (or any other obstacle they encounter). I thought that Taylor’s anxiety and autism was portrayed really well, and the best part was that although these aspects are a part of her character, they’re not the only part of her that the author writes about. She’s also an amazing cosplayer with a deep passion for a book series, a highly caring and empathetic friend, and has the same doubts and insecurities like all of us. As the group of friends approach graduation, Taylor thinks about them separating and how friends stop hanging out. This is a thought I especially can connect to, as my own high school experience is ending in a couple of months and my friends and I will be split throughout the country. Taylor also finds acceptance and camaraderie at the geek convention, as she finds other unique and quirky characters that share her interests and passions.
For the first time, I’m not totally alone in my weirdness.
My weird is normal here.
My weird is embraced, accepted, and expected.
You guys, I’m starting to love my weird.
Charlie, on the other hand, dealt more with the relationship side of feelings. After recently breaking up with her co-star, Charlie realizes that their relationship stopped being healthy and ruminates on the different aspects of the past relationship. It has been a tough break-up, further exacerbated by avid fans who ship them and the fact that the co-star is actually at the convention. However, Charlie instead looks forward from the break-up with more growth and maturity. After all, self love is the best love! While all this character introspection is happening, we also get to read about so many positive messages. Charlie recognizes how slut-shaming should not be condoned and the detrimental effects of staying in an unhealthy relationship, while Taylor advocates for body-positivity and loving you the way you are.
‘Girls can be whoever they want. Whether that’s an ass-kicking, sarcastic, crime-solving FBI agent or a funny, gorgeous, witty, beauty queen – or both at the same time.’
There are two extremely adorable romances that happen: Charlie starts crushing on a fellow Youtuber, Alyssa, and finds out that it’s a reciprocal crush, while Taylor and Jamie’s long-standing friendship crush sees some developments. Although the book happens within the span of a couple of days, given that it’s during a convention, the characters have prior history that makes the romantic development still believable and ship-worthy.
While there is not that much that happens plot-wise, per se, the book instead follows more on the relationship dynamics between the characters and personal growth. And honestly – that’s totally fine with me. I loved going through Charlie and Taylor’s thoughts, and the immense inspiration I got from their messages. That’s a huge reason why I recommend this book to pretty much everyone who likes to read. No matter what kind of person you are, this book is 100% guaranteed all the good vibes with empowering and strengthening messages that will fuel you up.
One word: EMPOWERING.
Queens of Geek takes all the tropes, stereotypes, and cliches you know and hate in contemporary books and blasts them out of the water. This book is awesome and it knows it. It has such positive messages and addresses important topics with great representation and thought. There’s such a lovable, aDORKable diverse cast whom you just can’t help but love. As a backdrop to these wonderful characters is a comic convention, which is soooo fun. Geek love for the world! You get awesome references to loved fandoms and fun situations that the characters get caught in. Downright relatable, Queens of Geek follows two different romances between three friends and turns it into a phenomenal exploration of diverse characters – and their own personal growth and discovery – whom any reader can connect with.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Thank you MacMillan for the review copy!
I also made a Twitter aesthetic for this delightful story.
This book is out in Australian bookstores for $16.99 RRP.