“Look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.”
I’ve finally unleashed my true fangirl side in Geekerella.
Honestly, I was pretty skeptical, and wasn’t expecting much upon going in. I have read my fair share of Cinderella retellings and it does get repetitive over time, thus I was wondering if Geekerella would spice things up. And it did and took me aback.
GEEKERELLA by Ashley Poston
Genre(s): Contemporary | Age: Young Adult
Series: Once Upon A Con #1
Publication: 4 April 2017 | Read: 5 November 2020
No. of Pages: 320 (hardcover)
Click here to view Trigger Warnings ↴Physical and emotional abuse, bullying
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.
Geekerella is a retelling of Cinderella, with Elle who grew up with her life devoted to the sci-fi TV show: Starfield and actor Daniel Freeman who is playing the prestigious Prince Carmindor in the reboot.
“Never give up on your dreams, and never let anyone tell you that what you love is inconsequential or useless or a waste of time. Because if you love it? If that OTP or children’s card game or abridged series or YA book or animated series makes you happy?
That is never a waste of time. Because in the end we’re all just a bunch of weirdos standing in front of other weirdos, asking for their username.”
The thing I loved most about this book would be the element of fandom. BECAUSE FANDOM IS MY LIFE and probably yours too, dear readers. I grew up loving my favourite books to extremities, reading and writing fan fiction, spending way too long on Pinterest memes, fangirling with fellow fans, and essentially recommending those books to everyone I encountered in my path and thus, I could highly relate to Elle who was nuts for Starfield.
But in Geekerella, the fandom was not just all fluff and obsession, there was also an exploration of the meaning of fandoms, which I felt was something I could deeply resonate with. How being in a fandom gave you a sense of belonging, the lengths people go because of their love and passion, the community of fans no matter which fandom they belonged to – we all entwine our lives with fictional characters whom impact us immensely.
“Maybe we should start looking up together, ah’blena”
Not only did I truly treasure the fandom element of Geekerella, the characters are not ones I hold dear to me. I could relate a lot to Elle and just respected how her love for Starfield endured despite everything that went wrong in her life. She is snarky but also insecure and I loved how that side of her was also brought out in the book. And how she overcame that loneliness and persevered with her love for her fandom as a driving force. That was empowering.
And Darien. Okay yeah he was a bit cheesy and geeky but I loved that aspect of him which juxtaposed his exterior as an actor. Through his story, we looked at themes of expectations, about how Darien was pressured to conform to the image his team envisioned, his fans envisioned, despite deep down wanting to do his best for the true fans because he was one.
That being said, this story wasn’t perfect. Admittedly, the story was a little unrealistic, cheesy, predictable. I wasn’t that surprised at anything, wasn’t really anticipating much, more of taking a slow ride. However, I felt that despite how predictable it was, I still treasured the story because if were it not for that plot, I doubt that the magic of fandom would have shown as bright.
“And may the force be with those chimichangas.”
Ahhh Geekerella was such a fun and positive read, I was smiling all the way at the cute interactions between Elle and Darien, at all the pop culture references and use of Starfield references in their daily lives, and also at the little nods to the original Cinderella tale! Highly recommend this if you want a light-hearted and hopeful read.