I’m surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did.
Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.
Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. (Goodreads)
This was a delightful YA contemporary romance novel inspired by the Cinderella fairy tale. I was influenced by the hype surrounding the story shortly after it was published. Everyone said it was great. Back then, I avoided reading it because YA romance isn’t my thing, but since I started this year with a taste for romance, I decided to give it a try.
It surprised me. I had a basic idea of what the story is about but didn’t know what to expect. I can’t say I was immediately hooked, but the story grew on me as it progressed. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the main fandom in the story is based on Star Wars, but since I’m not a fan of Star Wars and don’t know much about it, I didn’t get the appeal of Starfield or understand some of the references to Star Wars. But that didn’t damper my enjoyment of the story. And though I don’t engage fully in fandoms by attending conventions and such, I could understand the characters’ excitement and love for their fandom.
Fandom is a new thing for me. I learned about the existence of fandoms when I started blogging but never fully immersed myself in any, even the Harry Potter one that I love. I just don’t know where to start. I do love the camaraderie of fandoms and the opportunity to connect with others who love a thing as much as I do and would love to attend a convention one day to see and partake of an event with people who share my joy and appreciation for creations I love.
Anyway, back to the story. I read the story for the plot: to see how issues will be resolved and how events will progress. I didn’t care much for the characters at first, but I empathized with them at moments when they hit low points, and I appreciate that Poston was able to endear them to me the more I read. Much of the supporting characters and antagonists didn’t have much depth, but I didn’t mind that. I read this purely for the delight and fun of it, which I think it did well.
But what I love the most are the bits of the story that are obviously drawn from the fairy tale but given a modern twist, such as the cosplay ball and costumes, the food truck called the Magic Pumpkin (I really loved that), and even Elle having to leave the ball at midnight. I love that other fandoms readers may be familiar with are mentioned to really ground us in the time the story is set in and make the story seem plausible. I also love the convention/ball parts where Elle observes cosplayed creatures/characters dancing with each other. That was funny.
And that’s what made this such an enjoyable read: It’s funny. Not laugh-out-loud funny, but there is a lightness to the story that sometimes cause a chuckle to bubble up. It made the book a joy to read and made me progress through it quickly.
The only major drawbacks I had were Elle and Darien not standing up for themselves to their parents. I understand why and I probably would have done the same in their situation, but I was annoyed by it. I kept wanting them to refuse to do as they’re told just to see what would/might happen. I also think some things conveniently happened to help the plot along, which I didn’t like but at the same time didn’t mind because it adds to the fairy-tale elements of the story.
As I read, I noticed something odd about myself. I’m usually good at imagining a story in my head — the setting, characters, events, etc. But as I read this, I found it hard to imagine Darien, the male protagonist, as an Asian guy. He kept reverting to a White guy in my mind. I don’t know why this happened. Maybe the author didn’t supply enough descriptions of him, I thought, because it’s not clearly said he’s Asian until much later in the book. Until then, I just inferred that he is from other references, such as his brown skin and that the original actor for Darien’s role is Asian and Elle was glad they didn’t whitewash that role. But I also began to think that it’s probably because I’m so used White characters leading stories I read that it’s become difficult to imagine a character of a different race as the protagonist unless I’m supplied with several specific descriptions of the character. I don’t know what caused this, but I struggled with imagining Darien’s character until the end. Even now I still can’t get a handle on his looks.
Overall: ★★☆☆☆ 1/2
It was decent. I liked it and enjoyed reading it and can see why the story is so popular.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
I say Borrow but if you are a huge fan of fairy tale retellings and love the Cinderella story, then this might be one you’d like to own.
16 thoughts on ““Geekerella” by Ashley Poston”
At first I also avoided reading this book because I thought it was going to be too focused on fandom and I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to relate that much. But then I read it and loved it! I wrote a review of it on my blog. 🙂 As much as I loved the book, I loved reading your opinions on it. I agree with the point you said about Darien and Elle not standing up to their parents. It didn’t really bother me with Elle but I kept wanting to see Darien say something more to his dad. I wanted to see them build a better relationship. In general, I also really liked how the book stayed close to the original fairy tale. Also Whatt?! StarField is based on Star Wars? I had no idea because I don’t know much about Star Wars either. Awesome review and happy reading ❤
I wanted the same for Darien too. I was hoping he and his father would have a much better relationship by the book’s end.
Lol! Well, some people say it reminds them of Star Trek, but it more fits the little bit I know about Star Wars.
Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
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This sounds like fun but not one that I will buy – might have to see if the library has a copy. I’ve seen it crop up a few times so I’m intrigued if nothing else! Great review.
Thanks! Yea, it’s not one I’d buy either. Was surprised I liked it.
hehe I didn’t get as attached to it cos I kept thinking it was referring to Star Trek lol 😉 Anyway, I’ve never been involved in any fandom either, even though I love a lot of things. I liked the parts drawn from the fairy tale too. And yeah I don’t know why they didn’t give a clear indication of Darien’s looks- especially because Asian is a very broad category and all people look different, so why not be at least a bit more specific? I ended up looking up fanart cos I was curious to see how other people imagined him tbh. Great review!
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Ah! Glad I’m not the only one who thinks that about Darien’s character. I almost looked for fan art. (Might still do so.)
Wait, she was referring to Star Trek?! Shows how much I know. I know absolutely nothing about it. I tried to watch it when I was really, really little but sci-fi like that isn’t my jam.
(You have no idea how shocked I am right now. Now that you say it, it making sense that it’s Star Trek. Oh boy.)
Yeah this one was surprising to me… honestly I avoided it when it came out because Cinderella retellings can be rather shallow (Cinderella was all about attending a ball after all) but soooo many of my favorite bloggers raved about it. And yeah I enjoyed it! I can tell we had a few of the same thoughts about the book… ♥️ Now I’m looking forward to writing my own review.
I’ll look out for your review.
Yea, totally didn’t expect to enjoy it so much.
Great review. I am going to read this now. Thanks ❤
Also hey, I am new here 😊
Hope you enjoy it.
Geekerella looks cute, but I’ve never been sure if I want to read it.
I have definitely immersed myself in the Harry Potter fandom. It’s amazing (and odd at times).
I think it will appeal to anyone who’s interested in a fandom because it would be easy to relate to the characters. It is fun and quick to read though cheesy in some spots.
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I went through the same thing with this. I went off contemporary YA for a long time, but the idea of this one drew me in and I really ended up enjoying it 😀 glad you did too.
Yea, I was surprised I kept returning for more.