Geekerella is one of those contemporary YA reads that immediately brightens up your day. It was not only fun, but it had great explorations of themes and it is one of my favorite Cinderella re-tellings.
Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield. And a Starfield cosplay contest with the grand prize to go to a ball and meet the leading actor for the reboot is too good an offer to pass up. But not because Elle is just another star obsessed fan, this is a chance for Elle to escape her stepmother.
Darien Freeman is the star of the rebooted Starfield movie and this comes with perks, participating in his favorite TV show, but also cons – the public persona and role has to play. But not everyone is happy that he’s been cast, some of the fandom think he’s just a pretty face – but then a chance encounter with a girl gives him hope that he can do justice to the legacy.
First off, Katherine Locke, author of Girl with the Red Balloon recommended this to me after she found out I loved Heart of Iron. So THANK YOU because this was such an uplifting and fun read for me – actually, audiobook read for me and that was such a smart move because the narrators are perfect here.
The fandom culture is 120% amazing in this book. It feels authentic and not over done and for those who are fans, it all just feels so real and lifelike. Part of this has to do with Poston’s ability to write unique narrative styles. Elle and Darien jump off the page. I think that’s one reason why the audiobook is seamless.
The Thematic Wins
What really won me over, were the themes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Elle and Darien as characters. They’re nerdy and a bit awkward, but totally sweet. They remind me so much of parts of myself and they stick with you long after you’re finished reading. But I loved how this book makes you think about the price of being a celebrity and a public figure. Because this is dual POV we are able to see Darien’s perspective and how it is for him to be a big name and the ways in which his life has changed is a huge part of his character.
And Elle’s life as a blogger is also a part of this. Their interaction as star and someone who could critique is a driving force behind the book. In this way, I loved the introspection and couldn’t help thinking of how it works in the book reviewing world of author and reviewer. It’s always tricky for me to deal with author interactions and the overall role of reviewing.
Additionally, the theme of personal connection struck close to home. I generally have the idea sometimes that I should only rely on myself or do everything myself, but we all need allies. Even more importantly, we need friends and support systems. If we get hurt or betrayed, it’s important not to let that make us bitter and close our hearts. This is such a crucial lesson for everyone of all ages, which is why I think this book can appeal to many audiences. I especially got all heart eyes about the ways in which the Geekdom community can unite – the ways in which it can give us a place of belonging.
The Retelling Aspect and Ingenuity
But I couldn’t end this review without commenting that the interplay between Cinderella and this re-telling is spot on. I love reading re-tellings to see where the author deviates or how they integrate those elements in so that they don’t feel rushed or like token events, but Poston nails it. And on this note, the ways in which Poston mirrors the lessons in Starfield, the fandom, and the book to the themes is icing on the cake. But it’s another reason why this book, on a thematic level, not even emotional level (cause it hits all the spots for me in that way), works for me.
The ending is all fireworks and amazing moments of tears in public places. If you’ve ever felt like you need to do it alone, or if you’re part of a fandom and it feels isolating, or if you just want a good story that will be uplifting and tear your heart in all the right places – this book is for you.
Have you ever felt like isolated for being a fan of something?
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