Queens of Geek // Jen Wilde
“In one brief conversation, she made me see that there’s nothing wrong with me.”
Actual Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐
Synopsis [From Goodreads]:
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.
If you’ve got Queens of Geek sitting on your TBR or you’re debating on if you should read it or not, I’m telling you right now to pick it up. Queens of Geek is such a fun, life-filled story full of geekiness and friendship and diversity; this book shouts that it’s okay to be who you are from the rooftops.
There are parts of Queens of Geek that don’t usually work for me, I don’t usually like fandom heavy books and dual POV’s can be pretty hit and miss for me but in this case I loved them. I loved both Taylor and Charlie’s chapters and I never found myself bored with either one and I really liked all the fandomness in Queens of Geek because it felt so real, I’ve never been to a convention before but I’d like to imagine that it’s like SupaCon. I liked all the references and that all the characters got to adore and be a part of fandom without shame.
The story takes place over the course of one weekend and it alternates between Charlie and Taylor’s points of view, I mentioned before that I don’t usually like dual POV’s but I thought it really worked for Queens of Geek. Taylor and Charlie both have really interesting and unique stories that stand really nicely on their own as well as working well when they’re blended together, with the dual perspectives we get to see two different sides of the convention – one from a more creator based view and one from an attendee based view. Queens of Geek is not a long book so the story moves rather quickly but it stills packed with so many cute and important things, I also thought that Wilde’s writing had a really nice upbeat and snappy flow. Queens of Geek is honestly hard not to read in one sitting.
One of my favourite parts of Queens of Geek was the characters, Wilde manages to make the main characters so lifelike and vivid (and diverse!) in such short pages; Charlie and Taylor didn’t feel like characters on a page but rather people I could meet on the street or see around campus. I really liked both of them and thought their character arcs were really interesting, I related to Taylor quite a lot in particular. There were a few times during her chapters when she was dealing with anxiety or her weight where I found myself going “fuck … same tbh”. Taylor is so geekly adorable and passionate about what she loves and she also happens to be a chubby girl on the autism spectrum with anxiety but she doesn’t let these things solely define her, in fact throughout Queens of Geek she embraces these parts of herself. Throughout the book we really get to see Taylor grow, she gets to meet another girl on the autism spectrum and see herself represented in a comic, she helps a girl she’s only just met through her first panic attack and Taylor confronts comments about her weight. It was just so nice to see a character that by the end of the book, really loved all of the parts of herself. Even though she was going to have terrible days she was also going to have great ones – being fat, being on the autism spectrum and dealing with anxiety were just as important to her who was as a person as her love for queen firestone was.
I can’t forget about Charlie because I loved Charlie, even though I personally related to Taylor more I didn’t enjoy Charlie or her arc any less. I actually found Charlie’s story to be quite powerful, she’s a bisexual Chinese-Australian who also happens to be a famous youtuber and an up incoming indie movie star who prior to the events of Queens of Geek goes through a very, very public breakup after her boyfriend cheats on her. She has very little privacy and has to deal with so much, like comments about her race, sexuality and the effects of a very unhealthy relationship. On top of all that she’s forced to place nice with her co-star/ex for the sake of her career. This girl goes through A LOT okay, but she doesn’t let any of these things drag her down and I loved that about her; Queens of Geek for Charlie is a lot about who she is as a person and her own healing/building back up until in the end she takes charge of both her career and her life. Charlie’s story is so important and there’s so many passages in it that made my heart so happy, like Taylor seeing herself in that comic, Charlie gets to see herself as the hero; she gets to be the first Chinese-Australian actor on a sci-fi show, she’s set to be the leading actor in the sequel to her movie and she gets to see herself in a video game kicking zombie ass and it matters. Charlie gets to see herself represented and she gets to be the representation for other kids like her. Queens of Geek also actively talks about bisexuality and confronts biphobia head on as well as how an unhealthy relationship can affect a person and it’s so lovely. This book may be full of geekiness and heart-warming romance but it doesn’t back down.
Queens of Geek literally has “two love stories” on the cover so I should probably talk about the relationships at least a little bit. There are two absolutely adorable relationships in this book and an even more amazing friendship. Even though it is a little bit insta-lovey I really liked Charlie and Alyssa’s romance because they were just so sweet together. I loved that they both had massive crushes on each other and that their first date was so dorky and I think both of their characters work really well together. The only negative that I have isn’t about the relationship itself but rather that I wish Alyssa had gotten a lot more fleshing out, she honestly does not get a whole lot of attention which is sad because I really loved what we did get to see of her. The same goes for Jamie who does get a little more fleshing out but I just wanted more. I’m a sucker for the whole ‘best friends to lovers’ trope so I LOVED Jamie and Taylor’s relationship, it was so sweet and caring and supportive, even though they really liked each other they were best friends first. I also want to mention the friendship between Charlie and Taylor (and Jamie) because it’s SO AMAZING and lovely and they all support each other so much, their friendship reminded me of my own friendship with my friends because they were always there for each other. Charlie puts off publicity stuff to be there for Taylor when she needs her and Taylor and Jamie continuously support Charlie throughout SupaCon/the dealing with Reese hell. Bonus point for all the girls helping girls throughout this book.
The word count of this review has kind of run away from me so I’ll wrap it up now, I don’t mean to gush but I just think that this book is so lovely and I haven’t even touched on everything. Queens of Geek has so many important passages about relationships, anxiety, body-shaming, equality and diversity and being who you are. By the end of this book my face hurt from smiling so much, it’s so upbeat and full of life and most of all fun. I highly recommend this book and I think it’s so worth it.
Final note, because I don’t want to miss any of the representation in this book I’m going to put a little list below. I also believe there is some #ownvoices rep for a few of these:
- Taylor is a chubby girl on the austim spectrum and she deals with anxiety throughout the book
- Charlie is a proudly bisexual Chinese-Australian who deals with the effects of an unhealthy relationship throughout the book
- Alyssa is black and a wlw youtuber who is also studying in a STEM field, she also has experience with a past unhealthy relationship
- I believe Jamie is latinx
- There are other LGBTQ+ characters and characters on the autism spectrum mentioned as well as a character that deals with their first panic attack
- The story contains and highlights healthy, supportive relationships and friendships
| Swoon Reads | Published March 14th 2017 | 288 Pages | Goodreads |