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Geek Girls Unite: How Fangirls, Bookworms, Indie Chicks, and Other Misfits Are Taking Over the World

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For every girl who marches to the beat of her own drum, Leslie Simon has your manifesto: a smart, expansive, and winningly entertaining celebration of comedy queens, film geeks, bookworms, craft mavens, indie chicks, and other all-star women. Following the breakaway hit book Everybody Hurts, Simon’s energizing look at today’s pop-culture and counterculture heroines—like Amy Sedaris, Tina Fey, Sofia Coppola, Regina Spektor, and Jenny Hart—is an empowering, eye-opening, and, above all, fun journey. Readers of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking and The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life will love joining forces as Geek Girls Unite!

208 pages, Paperback

First published October 18, 2011

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About the author

Leslie Simon

8 books61 followers
Hey there, I’m Leslie. Thanks so much for visiting my GoodReads Author Page! Wanna know more about me? Take a seat. This could take a minute.

- I’m a recovering Diet Coke addict
- I think John Green is a literary God
- If I could only listen to one band for the rest of my life, it’d be The Wombats
- I get excited every time I get to clean out the lint trap in the dryer
- I like to catch solo morning movies at the Arclight
- I look forward all year to Peppermint Jojo’s
- I laugh (a lot) at my own jokes
- It only took me three weeks to watch all 15 seasons—that’s 320 episodes—of Law And Order: SVU in chronological order
- I sleep with an eye mask and earplugs
- The smell of mustard makes me gag
- I know all the words to Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle

If you want to read more of my musings online, follow @redpatterndress and @geekgirlsunite. If you’d like to see me take pictures of coffee cups and the books on my nightstand, follow me on Instagram.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 203 reviews
Profile Image for Jessica-Robyn.
564 reviews40 followers
November 8, 2014
This did not go well. It certainly could have gone much worse, but it gets worse the more I think about it. Mildly offensive at best.

I'm sure Ms. Simon meant no harm. I'm sure she wasn't trying to insult me. But someone along the writing path needed to remind her of the sensitivity of her subject. How saying my jeans are "probably second hand or from Target" might be seen as an insult or how her humorous quips might be read more as jabs. How not all girls are the same and one geek is not like the others. We're not all unpopular, we're not all meek, we're not one thing. We don't all want beta boys, some of us don't even want a boy to begin with. These obvious flaws could have been rectified by acknowledging the differences.

Part of what makes a geek a geek is that we don't fit a mold, we don't all have the same spots and strips. Just because we like stuff doesn't mean it completely defines every aspect of who we are. This book makes some pretty bold assumptions and backs them up by saying that she has created a community of geek girls the "Geek Girl Guild" who she has interacted with.

"Women of all ages, backgrounds, and areas of geek expertise wanted to joined the sisterhood, making the first pledge class over one hundred strong!" - Introduction, page 5

(And yes, "joined" is a spelling mistake found in the book.)

It makes me wonder how many of those 100 women read this book after it was published and went "..Hold on a second." I will say that the most interesting part of the book for me was the quotes in the margins, some of which attributed to the non-famous, which I assume were taken from this group of women. These geek girls were happy, strong, and proud. Another positive were the small biographical paragraphs about various geek girls who have succeeded in there in field, change perceptions, or influenced geek culture. Those small elements were great to read and brought a smile to my face midst the frowning.

With that said however, lets talk about the frowning, and the scoffing, and the sighing, and the raging.

I went into this book going off the title alone. I thought that anything geek girl oriented might be interesting to check out. I was wrong. I could only force myself to read so much and in the end, to be completely upfront, I only read the sections of this book that applied to me and as I identify myself as a geek. I couldn't force myself to read anymore.

I read:
Section 1: Fangirl Geek
Section 2: Literary Geek
Section 7: Miscellaneous Geek (because that's a confidence boost)
Conclusion: Geek Girls Unite

The other chapters are more in the same and I assure you were skimmed through diligently for the sake of this review. But these are the sections I will be going in depth.

Brace yourselves, this is about to get ranty.

We are gathered here as the Geek Girls of the world. Those of us focused on in this book are labeled by interest: Fangirl Geek, Literary Geek, Film Geek, Music Geek, Funny-Girl Geek, Domestic Goddess Geek, and Miscellaneous Geeks, which are Tech Geeks, Fashionista Geeks, Political Geek, Retro Geek, and Athletic Geek.

The majority of this book, 99.9%, is about generalizing, quantifying, labeling, judging, assuming, and stereotyping who we are as people based off of a single interest.Now, this narrow-minded focus is bound to be exclusionary but things only get monumentally worse when Ms. Simon tries to apply humor to the situation. Her quips can easily be read as jabs, her silly throw-away pages easily read as insulting. At every turn there is another opportunity to judge and generalize, of course humorously. My glasses, my phone, everything is just another opportunity for a joke. To take one thing and boil it down to what that says about who I am.

Then there's is the FRENDIEMIES page near end of each and every section. Allow me to explain. Frenemies is a combination between "friend" and "enemy", or "frenemies". These pages are basically a list of people who you shouldn't like, or at least not hang out with based on your geek cred. Because you know, we're in middle school and these people are clearly not cool enough to be seen with.

Oh, you want some examples? Why, sure! Here some taken word-for-word from every section. Enjoy!

- Athletes.
- House guests who see your Sony PlayStation and ask if you live with a ten-year old.
- Anyone who cheated their way through high school and college English literature classes by relying solely on CliffsNotes.
- Members of the illiterati.
- Simpletons who are only familiar with the term "word-play" because it's the name of a Jason Mraz Song.
- Cheeseballs who still quote Napoleon Dynamite, Borat, or Austin Powers on a regular basis.
- Poseurs who admit to being "really into film after seeing one Wes Anderson movie.
- Investment bankers, stock brokers, and various other Wall street douche bags.
- Girls who wear leggings instead of pants.
- Women who wear fragrances by celebrities.(except for those -approved by the author in a footnote.)
- Know-it-alls who immediately launch into a "but is it art?" discussion after walking through a contemporary art exhibit.
- Eccentrics who wear holiday or Cosby sweaters unironically.
- Self-proclaimed artists who use paint-by-number kits.

My word, these people are clearly just so beneath us. Let us banish them from our cool table and make them sit with losers at lunch!

Suddenly geek girls are exclusionary, mean, would rather judge then share our knowledge, rather jump to conclusions then laugh, and willing to completely judge and shun a person based on a single trait.

This pisses me off. People like what they like! Why is it necessary to be mean to each other? Geek girls know better then anyone that people who don't accept others for who they are aren't worth being around. And the fact that Ms. Simon is encouraging this sort of behavior make me angry.

Let us not forget the previously mentioned Geek Love Checklist section. Which tells us traits to look for in the perfect geeky man. These pages manage to squeak by from my acceptance that I'm reading the same quality that can be found in your average $1.99 teen magazine. Till of course I saw this:

"The Perfect Match For a Literary Geek Girl...
Only reads one book at a time and thinks someone who's 'in the middle' of numerous titles displays commitment issues."

Which made me think this: Screw. You. Asshole.

...Remember how I told you that geek girls can be sensitive? The majority of us grow up being told what is normal, what is cool, what makes a girl desirable. If a guy said that to me, I'd get up and leave. Because I am a geek girl and I don't like elitism.

Then there was a bunch on small things that bugged me.
- The mislabeling of Harry Potter fanatics as "Muggles".
- The 18 Twilight references in the Fangirl section.
- The section dedicated to Twilight called "The Twilight Zone", which never even mentions the actual Twilight Zone.
- Reading through the entire Fangirl section and not a single mention of "fandom", online community, or Firefly.
- Reading through the Literary Geek section and not a single mention of "Young Adult", varying tastes, or a little word called "genre".
- The page title, "TAP THAT SASS"
- The fact that the book lacks focus in the audience it is trying to appeal to.
- The way that the Literary Geek section list books and information only about adult fiction and some early juvenile fiction. I found this annoying because these were not the books that geek girls love universally. These books are books everyone should read eventually, but you have to hold an interest for them and they have to be at your reading level. When going through all the adult fiction it was like reading a list of books for a college course.
- The section on the Political Geek Girl; has this lovely little snippet:

"They strive to be advocates and activists; thus they often possess a pretty rigid set of values and ethics. (Some might call them stubborn or obstinate. Not me, of course, but some.) In an ideal world, everyone would see things their way." - page 172.

And so, so much more. I'm starting to get upset so I'm just going to stop there.

I am a fangirl of epic giggly and badass proportions, fashion is my passion, music and film are my mistresses, and global politics is my dirty Sunday gal. But most importantly I am a literary geek who should warn all other such geeks to keep this book off their to-read lists. Not only is it not worth our time and money, but it is not worth the possible insult. As a girl, I refuse to be generalized. I am proud of who I am and that girl is not the geek that Ms. Simon thinks I should be.
Profile Image for Shannon.
129 reviews9 followers
January 20, 2014
What I learned from this book:
Geek girls are white
Geek girls are straight
Geek girls listen to indie/alternative rock
Geek girls may not be hotties but they sure are funny
Geek girls are around 35 years old, considering the overwhelming references to 90s culture (Parker Posey, Sassy magazine, Sonic Youth)

Well shit, I just described myself. So I might have also inadvertently described the author, Leslie Simon. However, I would never write a book about stuff I like in the guise of a manual/manifesto for outsider girls looking for validation that they're not so alone and uncool as they think.

This book profiles a lot of interesting and talented women. It suggests both geek girl pioneers and new avenues for further exploration. But it also uses snarky quips and stereotypes to pick apart the commonalities between geek girls. Epic fail.

What kind of book about UNITY would...

...constantly comment on the physical appearance of talented famous women, calling them tomboys, flawed, average-looking, as if these (subjective) traits give them indie cred (message: geeks have to look a certain way, and it's not beautiful)

...warn geek girls that they "may be banished to the 'friend zone'... I mean who would you want to suck face with - Diablo Cody or Amanda seyfried?" (Message: guys don't like geek girls) (this whole statement is revolting, as she's stereotyping these women as well as patronizing guys)

...take jabs at what are not believed to be legitimate ways to be geeks? Because if you're a lit geek girl you better not be caught reading a bestseller romance or celeb biography. And if you're a fangirl geek, watch out for athletes. "They'd deserve our sympathy if they weren't so dead set on making us feel like overweight, acne-ridden, socially inept losers." (Message: there's one right way to be a geek, you need to fit the mold)

This advice is not about being a geek, it's about being an elitist and a hater. Being a geek should be about celebrating an obsessive interest. Uniting as geek girls should be about supporting each other. Instead each chapter offers up a CosmoGirl-type quiz where the author graduates the worthy into an exclusive club.

A book proclaiming geek girls are taking over the world should encourage you to be a comic book geek AND an athlete. Don't pigeonhole yourself. Read what you want. Like what you want. Do not tear down others who like something you don't. Don't dismiss girls that lack encyclopedic knowledge of their interests, because we all started somewhere. Don't expect a geek to look, sound or think like you. Step away from this book. Go out and love things, find other girls who love things, connect, learn, and geek out together.
Profile Image for Dana.
70 reviews20 followers
October 21, 2011
Being a "Geek Girl" myself I was so excited to discover this book. Sadly, it was majorly disappointing. It was stereotypical and didn't even really go into depth about "Geek Girls". I think the most annoying aspect was the "perfect match" checklist after each chapter of what type of guy "she" is compatible with.....that pretty much ruined the book for me right there. The only redeemable qualities(why it is two stars instead of one) is the links(still not that great) and illustrations.
Profile Image for Ciara.
Author 3 books341 followers
February 6, 2012
i didn't expect to love this book, but i did expect it to be kind of a cute, fast read that would amuse me for an hour or two. instead i got a poorly-designed pile of girl hate packed to the gills with pop culture references that were out of date before the book was even published!

each chapter represents a different kind of geek girl, from sci fi/gaming nerds to bookworms to film geeks to "domestic geeks". this was the first time i ever heard that taking a page from martha stewart made one a kind of "geek," but by the time this chapter rolls around, the entire premise of the book has kind of fallen apart, so let's go with it. once simon pulls out the big guns for explaining world of warcraft, "dr. who," & "tank girl," she doesn't seem to have a lot of juice left for making a compelling argument that having an interest that shapes your life choices (ie, enjoying cooking so you end up having a fair number of dinner parties) qualifies a person for "geekdom".

she also attributes the famous "i only know that people call me a feminist whenever i express opinions that differentiate me from a prostitute or a doormat" quote to daria morgendorffer, when it was in fact coined by rebecca west. not that i magically expect people to just know that, but a quick google search would clear it up, & seriously--that quote has been around for decades. surely simon knew that the writers of "daria" didn't come up with it, right? (plus, prostitutes can be feminists too!)

simon spends a lot of time tearing down other women in this book. each chapter includes a (supposedly funny) quiz that the reader can take to see if she fits the mold of the geekdom in question. the quizzes are multiple choice & each question includes an answer that amounts to, "OMG, this is gross & i don't know what you're talking about!" if you repeatedly choose that response, your descriptive score at the end refers to you as one reality TV starlet or another (paris hilton, heidi montag, etc) & includes comments like, "i know your body is 70% plastic," or, "stick with what you do best...remind me what that is again?" it's just unnecessary. i don't like girl hate even under the best of circumstances, but when it is woven into what basically amounts to a handbook for how insecure, pretentious girls with poor social skills can feel superior to people less obsessive than themselves, it's especially off-putting. simon uses the word "poseur" over & over & over again, if that gives you any indication how relevant this book is going to be to anyone over the age of 15.

each chapter also closes with a list of attributes each geek girl should look for to find her perfect man. because we're all single, right? & looking to remedy that? via heterosexuality? & we'll put potential suitors to a test to make sure they have the same geeky interests we do?

don't get me wrong--clearly, i can be obsessive. i guess my main obsessions are harry potter & the babysitters club. & yet, not only do i draw the line at any & all forms of cosplay, i really don't need my boyfriend to know who madamoiselle noelle is before i can date him (she's jessi's ballet teacher). i have my interests, he has his, & believe it or not, the relationship functions even though we have never partaken in a "dr. who" marathon (thank god).

simon also falls down on the job by trying to be all things to all women. she includes a section about how awesome "sassy" magazine was, like she's trying to appeal to women my age, & then she turns around references all this teenage culture stuff (complete with dating tips specifically for teens) that was totally foreign to me. i imagine that the stuff about "sassy" & references to, say, the movie "kids", were equally foreign to the average 14-year-old reading the book.

& please, don't even get me started on the essay about how paul feig's TV & film projects are downright revolutionary for turning schlumpy dudes like seth rogen into heartthrobs. yes, she actually says that it is "revolutionary" for a less-than-perfect male specimen to be cast as the lead in a movie that will include a romance. as if this isn't something that dates back to the dawn of humanity. as if it isn't actually a huge problem called a DOUBLE STANDARD that women always have to be thin, perfectly groomed, well-dressed, smart & successful without being intimidating, etc etc etc, before they can be seriously considered as romantic material, while dudes can be schlubby as all get out.

i could probably write ten more paragraphs about everything that's wrong with this book. ultimately, it's not like i hated it or thought it was the most offensive trash i'd ever read or anything. it was just obviously written for a paycheck & therefore it lacked any semblance of internal consistency regarding the message, the audience, or even the theme. simon seemed to go to great lengths to not take sides when it comes to politics (suggesting that "political geek girls" will surely thrill to the message delivered by meaghan mccain--right, not so much), & therefore took it for granted that the best way to appeal to a female readership was to tear down your traditional "pretty" girls & make a fuss over how OMG megan fox is so vapid & dumb & tina fey is so smart & amazing!

i think this book is kind of the encapsulation of everything that is wrong with pop culture. i also wonder how embarrassed she was over writing a paragraph about how steve jobs is hotter than bill gates, only to have steve jobs die literally the day after the book was published. well done.
490 reviews74 followers
February 24, 2012
It's not like I had high expectations of this book or anything. It's for middle schoolers. I think. So it being simplistic and stereotyped was expected. "I'm 13! What do I like? Who am I? Is there a quiz? OMG a quiz yay. what about BOYS. BOYS YES" sort of thing. And it lists things you might like. How bad can it be, really?

But this should be kept far far away from those middle schoolers because it will FUCK THEM UP. I'm serious. How this book was written, it's just snobby bitch affirmations. Full of girl hate. Sometimes some nongeek is namedropped just so they can be made fun of, outta no where! I'm like, geez okay maybe Lauren Conrad and Megan Fox don't like or do the same things you do but do you have to call them stupid sluts? That's just unneccessary. And each chapter has a section on "Frenemies" that lists out people that are "poseurs" and do things that are uncool like uh, quote Austin Powers and read Nicholas Sparks books. Frenemies who should be made fun off because apparently that's what geek girls do to unite.

And uh, for something to be funny it actually has to be funny. You can't just say something mean and expect it to be "snarky" and cute just because you wear glasses and like Bikini Kill. Jesus. I feel more womanly sisterhood reading cosmo.

It's too bad because take out all the complain-about-my-life-and-people-lamer-than-me stand up comedy bits and it works perfectly fine. It's just that well, it takes a fine touch to meld "people suck!" and "people are awesome!" in a way that sounds genuine, wise and funny. anything sloppy and it's, "my friends and I are awesome and YOU SUCK!" and this is sloppy.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
137 reviews99 followers
April 15, 2013
First things first: This is NOT a feminist book. This is a disgusting little novella that traipses around pretending to be feminist. This book is pro-perpetuation of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl myth. This book thinks it's really cool to objectify females from various 'domineering' females and discuss their physical traits like they're major aspects of their value as individuals. This book is all in favour of diets that aren't drudgery. Simon generates 'stereotypes' for each of the genres of 'geek girl' she's defined. Certain characteristics will automatically exclude a female from a category; for instance, having a medical condition that renders an individual unable to physically laugh will mean that they are 'frenemies' of the Comedy Geek Girl.

According to Simon, it is totally awesome to be a 'geek' - that is, super interested in a discipline of choice - as long as you're not fat, queer, butch, outspoken, transsexual, (dis)abled. So long as you continue to ascribe to the hetero- and cis- and gender binary-normative regulations of the past. So long as you love to giggle and wear skirts. The list of limitations goes on and on, and I want to shred this book to pieces with my bare hands or set it on fire so that it doesn't reach another library patron's hands under my watch.

By the way, Leslie, listening to Dave Matthews doesn't classify you as a lover of esoteric music. Bubble = burst. Next time, try learning about what it means to be a feminist, rather than just googling 'girls in film' or 'how to be an indie girl' or reading Hipster Runoff.
Profile Image for Amber.
65 reviews52 followers
August 9, 2015
Contrary to popular belief, very little ends up irritating me to the point of straight up anger when I'm reading. However, one of my biggest pet peeves in books -- or in life, really -- is when something labels itself as outwardly feminist and empowering to certain subsections of women, but then turns right around and shits all over other women. Case in point: this very book.

Simon dedicates each chapter to a different group of geek girldom, advising of some of their more telling features, pointing out some of the bigger celebrity names that represent said group, and other various other tidbits relevant to the section. This is all well and good until the many not-so-subtle jabs toward any girl who isn't outwardly geeky start popping up. Each chapter starts out with a short quiz to see if you fit the mold of that particular group (the answer is always c, by the way), but if you end up choosing mostly b's, you end up getting your intelligence insulted by way of Simon calling you shallow through the lens of another female celebrity who she deems unworthy of calling themselves a geek. Isn't the point of the whole book about embracing your freak flag? Why aren't some women allowed to proudly wave it?

Furthermore, it seems as if there are a lot of contradictions within the geeky sects; for example, Simon writes about how the fangirl geek worships Twilight and other assorted television shows or movies, but then later in the literary and film geek sections, trashes these very girls for liking Twilight, etc. What if a film geek happens to enjoy the Twilight series for its interesting use of the blue filter, or if the literary geek finds herself drawn to The Hobbit films to finally put her imagination on the screen? I also found myself insulted by the "frienemies" sections, as if meeting all -- or any -- of those qualifications makes anyone automatically ungeeky. I currently have 12 books checked out from the library and am planning on getting an MFA in literature, but find leggings so much more comfortable than regular pants. Apparently, however, the fact that I have this preference pushes me into the frienemy section.

Additionally, can we not with ending each chapter with what the ideal skinny white cis boy would look like for our ideal skinny white cis geek girl? The whole purpose of feminism's third wave is opening the movement up to more than just one specific type of woman: not all women are straight, not all are cis, not all are white, etc. I'm also perturbed by the implication that all geek girls are not conventionally attractive, which Simon does by pushing "ungeeky" female celebrities under the bus.

I wasn't expecting great cultural analysis when I picked this book up from the library, but I expected it to be a cute little read about making myself and other girls feel good about what makes us tick, but I was not expecting to be bombarded with anti-"mainstream woman" rhetoric. And, let's be real, when you start calling Ayn Rand a leader of the feminist movement, even though she considered herself to be very staunchly anti-feminist, how can we trust you on calling your own book feminist?
Profile Image for Rachel Craig.
228 reviews
August 25, 2013
I was excited to read this book!...and then it got snarky and Mean Girls-ish against people who aren't geeks. As someone who appreciates geek and not geek friends (and as someone who isn't a geek about everything), that made the book a bit hard to read. Some stuff was funny, but the over-generalizations of being geeks and again, the meanness, just got to be too much. Also, it felt like some sections, like the Film Geek, Funny Girl Geek, and Music Geek sections were lacking in history. They should've gone back thirty years and covered female jazz singers, or movies with strong women casts, like Stagedoor and The Women. If you want to read this book, proceed with caution.
Also, it had an awkward Cosmo-ish vibe, with inane quizzes that add to the over-generalization vibe of the book, and the love matches, which were stereotypical AND heteronormative. No love for gay or bi geek girls? LAME. The links were decent, at least. Not great and certainly not enough to save this book, but decent.

P.S. Why were history geeks left out? I know plenty of girl history geeks and am one. Lame, Leslie Simon through this writing comes off as a poser instead of a true geek. I guess that's what happens when you read a book from someone who also wrote "Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture.". Gag.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Michelle.
25 reviews1 follower
March 4, 2012
At first when I saw "Geek Girls" on the shelf, I got super excited because, hey, I'm a geek (nerd)! It looked interesting and appealed to me!

After reading "Geek Girls", I was disappointed. It's a cute little book that basically defines the major geeks in life: fangirls, book nerds, film geeks, and music geeks. Examples of famous women past and present are given in each of these categories to show how they fit the geek label.

What wasn't necessary was the "Geek Love" parts for each section, which listed a profile each type of geek girl would most likely date. It just didn't fit with what the content should have been about. Also, I wondered why Simon shoved practially everyone else into the mix: home ec, fashion, retro, sports, politics, and comedy "geeks". I got the impression that the message was, "Oh, and to not let anyone feel left out, all other girls shall be put into this book too." I know I was (and still am) a nerd (not so much a geek) growing up and I know there were definite lines separating cliques. There is no way fashionistas, domestics, and jocks would be labeled as "geek" or "nerd".

Also, some of the suggestions for magazines did not fit for the types of geek girls, particularly the "lit geek (nerd)". I myself consider myself to be a book nerd and after checking out the magazine lists for my type (Slate, The Believer, Utne Reader, Mental Floss), I thought they really didn't have anything to do with books. Maybe a little section on book reviews and releases, but nothing absolutely dedicated.

"Geek Girls" is a good for a quick but fun read and is not to be taken seriously. If you're looking for a serious study into girls/women as nerds/geeks, then this isn't the book you want to read.
Profile Image for Crystal.
306 reviews
March 2, 2017
Ehhh, not great, but not awful. This was written in 2011 and it's surprising how dated a few of the references already seem, but it was interesting reading how music, literature, athletic, and other geeks are defined. I think music might be my biggest geekdom (although I have no idea how you skip Lilith Fair when talking about women in music, and the write-up about Liz Phair was horrible).

A pretty fun read to skim through. I found myself happily nodding along to some of the descriptions, but also cringing. Then I realized this was written by an MTV staffer, and things made a bit more sense.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
289 reviews
January 22, 2012
I am a geek. I've embraced that fact from the first day I went to visit my grandfather and he told me stories about WWII and his early life in PA. While other kids were reading Amelia Bedelia (and, I read her too!), I was reading about fighter jets and pilots and Tuskegee Airmen...collecting WWII stories was my first foray into geekdom.

Fast forward to a few years later, I begin an adventure in SF. I've collected books, movies and actors (yes, if you keep stats on actors on paper like IMBD, in 1985, before said website was even thought up and before the interwebs were created for mass use, you are, in fact, collecting actors), I collected dolls...er action figures (I still have my Yoda action figure, no you may not buy it from me) and I still have my Mulder and Scully Barbies (no you may not have those either!), rocks and posters. Starting my adult years I began to collect recipes and glassware. I think that it is being a collector that makes any person a geek. I don't think that Leslie Simon, author of Geek Girls Unite, disagrees at all.

The book is broken up into chapters focusing on various types of 'geeks’ (fangirl, literary, film, music, funny girl, domestic and miscellaneous) and each of those sections follows the same format: a quiz (where the answers are always 'C'...don't know why that is), a character sketch, descriptions of famous geeks of that ‘genre’, ‘frenemies’ (which is an hilarious look at those in that particular community that give the rest a bad name...) and concludes with ‘the perfect match for’ section. It's this last part that cracks me up the most, it's like Geek girls meet Cosmo mag and my friends and I had such a fun time checking off the list and then adding our own.

I like how Simon uses the introduction to make sure that we understand that while she make poke fun at this or that and that while we may do that too, we are all in this together. She says...

It's time for us to reclaim the connotations of being a "geek" and hold tight to the term as a source of pride and distinction. In other words, embrace your quirkiness! Celebrate your idiosyncrasies! There is power in your geekiness! Trust.


Here's the most important thing, though: just because our passions aren't the same," that doesn't mean we aren't united in our geeky affection for what ever it is that makes us happy--even if it feels like society sometimes pits us against one another. ...being a geek should unite--not divide--us. If one good things comes out of this book, it will be that you get to know your geeky sisters (and cousins) so you can recognize these fabulous ladies when you see them, start a conversation, and realize that our differences are actually what bring us closer together.

I remembered the above when she defined, with a little bit of sass but all truisms, the terms that I have used to refer to myself (geek, nerd, dork, dweeb, weirdo) and when, on more than one occasion, I found myself falling into the 'frenemies' category. We, even those of us who only scratch the surface of someone else's obsession, must love each other and unite in order to conquer the world.

This book is just informative enough that teenager girls, who feel their inner geek, but can't find an outlet, can learn more and identify with others and those of us who already know what we are can laugh in delight. I mean I have at one time or another been totally in love with David Tennant (my Fangirl Geek Girlness), James Franco (my Literary Geek Girlness), Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Mark Ruffalo (my Film Geek Girlness), Jack White (my Music Geek Girlness), Andy Samberg (my Funny-Girl Geek Girlness)...and, I've crushed on Hungry Girl, Anthony Bourdain, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and John Stewart. I liked that Simon talks about Athletic Geek Girl as a person who doesn't necessarily play or want to play sports (it goes back to that collecting thing I mentioned earlier) so I felt comfortable about falling into this category as well.

This book is part encyclopedia, part humor, part commentary, part major to-do list (as in I must now watch _____ or create a mix-CD of ________, why haven't I done that before?) and definitely a call to arms to all geek girls out there.

It is, after all, "a geek's world; everyone else is just living in it."

This book isn't really 280 pages on the Nook...seriously like 70 pages are footnotes. Each footnote gets its own page so you can click back and forth effortlessly. I'd like to also note that this book is glitchy moving from the last page of a chapter to the first page of the next one...not really sure what that's about, but I'm sure it can be fixed and I will wait to go to B&N before archiving and unarchiving et cetera, I have an irrational fear of deleting things that I shouldn't!
Profile Image for Traci.
854 reviews40 followers
January 5, 2013
I've always considered myself a geek. A nerd. An uncool person. I wasn't popular in high school or college. I've never had what I would consider "a ton" of friends. When I saw this book in the library, I was instantly drawn to it, thinking I'd found my bible of sorts. Well, I was wrong.

According to Simon's definitions (because you must first define what a geek is, especially as there are concerns that a geek and a nerd are really the same thing), a geek is "a person who is wildly passionate about an activity, interest, or scientific field and strives to be an expert in said avocation." She then goes on to provide some geek girl archetypes, such as the The Fangirl Geek, The Literary Geek, The Film Geek, The Music Geek, The Funny-Girl Geek, and The Domestic Goddess Geek.

Each chapter begins with a short quiz, as you test your geek knowledge of each subject. (Hint, the answer is always "C".) Simon gives a brief overview of what the subject is, what the typical geek girl is like, some historical geek girls in said subject, what to watch for in frenemies, and finally, a list of best websites, books, music, films, etc that relate to each subject. There are cute and funny footnotes along the way, as well as quotes from famous and average geek girls in the side margins.

So why the disappointment, you ask? Well, I'm not stupid. I knew I wouldn't fit into most of the categories here, but I had expected to find soul sisters in the Literary Geek Girl chapter. Evidently, though, the author means "literary" in the strictest sense; there aren't any authors/works mentioned that are, what I would call, ordinary. Look, I love books and reading. I mean, I LOVE them. But I'm not a literary snob, and that's what I took away from this book. I have no interest in reading David Foster Wallace or Jonathan Franzen. I did read Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five but wasn't overly impressed (I probably just didn't "get it"). I enjoy reading lots of different types of books, including what I consider "fluff" - Regency romance or humor or just plain silly. I found myself thinking that I just didn't relate to the Literary Geek Girl after all.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the chapter "Miscellaneous Geek" and read the following: "Much of being a geek is feeling like you don't quite fit in, so it's only natural that this book should include a chapter for geekettes who didn't find kindred spirit in any of the above caricatures." (emphasis is mine here). AHA! Perhaps this is why I found myself skimming the last two or three chapters of this book; the descriptions just felt too over-the-top/fake/hipster-centric! (And keep in mind that this book is less than 200 pages...)

I went back to the definitions at the beginning of the book, and after re-reading them, I think it's safe to say that I am not a geek. I am, however, a nerd, "a person who excels academically and who thrives on such educationally induced pastimes as memorizing UNIX manuals and correcting your grammar. Such persons may not possess the most advanced social skills, but they are armed with a huge heart and an even bigger brain." Yeah, that sounds much more like me - well, except that I have no interest in programming, and I actually have mad social skills.

Overall, this book is OK. But keep in mind, as the author finally admits, that these are caricatures. Don't take anything in this book as gospel, and you'll be just fine.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
145 reviews
May 6, 2016
Giving this book a single star because I can't give it something lower.

I was excited to read this book. I thought I would find a collection of stories and examples of how being a Geek Girl is an amazing thing and how despite our differences how really the same all of us are. My excitement quickly went from disappointment to anger.

One of the biggest mistakes author Leslie Simon makes is taking on the tone of all-knowing. As if she is Head Girl of each of the fandoms she writes about, even when she's making claims that are simply incorrect. I think the hipster-like attitude of "I'm a bigger, better, fan than you" is one of the most harmful things when it comes to fan girls coming together and unfortunately Ms. Simon comes across as being the ultimate fan of everything. She claims to have gotten a lot of her knowledge from her self-made sorority (Geek Girl Guild) but she never lets their voices shine through.

Ms. Simon also claims at the beginning of the book that fan girls should set aside their differences and come together. (It doesn't matter if someone likes gaming and I don't, we're still both enthusiastic fans. We can relate.) Great message. Sad that she spoils it by adding a piece to the end of each chapter called "Frenemies." AKA here is a list of people this particular type of fan girl loathes: athletes, twihards... So girls, unite with other fans, unless that fan can be lumped into a particular kind of group and then avoid them,

This book is written for young teenage girls. It reads like Seventeen Magazine, complete with quizzes (The answer is always C.) and a list of the boys that are suited best for each time of fan girl. (Looks like my husband an I will have to divorce. He's listed as incompatible with my brand of geek according to Ms. Simon.)

This is a book worthy of Regina George, not a Geek Girl looking to be empowered by other women who are fearless to be enthusiastic about what makes them happy. My only condolences is that Geek Girls are intelligent enough to see this book for what it is - trash.
Profile Image for Sleepless Dreamer.
842 reviews199 followers
December 3, 2016
I feel a bit guilty rating this book, to be honest. I stumbled upon it, realized I dislike it, but finished it solely because I am so behind my 2016 reading challenge and I need all the help I can get.

So yeah, this wasn't my cup of tea (which is kinda funny cause tea isn't my cup of tea either). It's not my thing because I don't see who the audience is supposed to be. I love the underlining message, that the people that feel like they don't belong can and should unite. That said, this book felt exclusive and stereotypical.

I mean, what's the difference between loving music and being a music geek? Where would you draw the line? Why? We should focus on loving everything and celebrating everything instead of trying teach young people to categorize themselves (because who else refers to themselves like this).

Also wow. So many things were so problematic, from the lists of frenemies to the boys to how limited it made geek girls look and ugh.

Wiser people have expressed my thoughts about this book so I'm going to wrap this up now. I'm happy to finish another book (fuuuuck I'm not going to be able to read 70 books in a month).

What I'm taking with me
• I'm not a geek because I don't want to create a border between me and the rest of the world.
• I did like the recommendations, they were great.
• The drawings were cute.
• Didn't buy the explanation in the beginning about why it's only girls.
Profile Image for Starhistnake.
43 reviews
January 8, 2012
This book should probably have been named "A Field Guide to the Modern Geek Female". It's a bit lacking in detail on that front but it seems a more fitting title than "Geek Girls Unite".

I am also disturbed that there is quite a bit of tearing down of other 'non- geek' females through out the course of the book. Admittedly most of the females mocked I don't admire and have said cutting and cruel things about them myself - but I've not taken the time to publish them and I generally try to work out why these women would even be the way they are. It creates this sense that she isn't so much advocating bringing women with different tastes and perspectives into the mainstream but turning the mainstream culture into the Other.

Basically, she lost me when she started being mean to other people. I'm not interested in your revolution if it involves nastiness to others to become bigger. So what if some of the gals name checked are rude and nasty themselves? What's wrong with being the bigger person and setting cattiness aside?

Taken as a bit of fun, this isn't a bad book. I was just expecting something deeper and more serious. And a bit more of the actual 'unite' part.

Profile Image for Alisha Marie.
827 reviews76 followers
February 13, 2012
Okay, so here's the gist of it: I'm a geek. Happily. And I've been looking for books that embrace geekiness in every shape, way, or form. While Geek Girls Unite did this to an extent, I felt that this book was kind of stereotypic as well as surface-level. It wasn't nearly as clever as a book on geekiness should be.

One of the major things that bothered me about Geek Girls Unite was that it seems to cater to those who are just one-dimensional geeks (and I say that in the most loving way), but most geeks don't just fit into one mold. Not all geeks are solely computer/technology geeks, math geeks, music geeks, film geeks, or book geeks, but rather are two or more of these things. Surprising as it may seem, people can be wildly passionate about two or more things. I, for one, cagetorize myself as both a literature geek AND a music geek. I don't get why you would have to be one or the other.

So, if you're looking for a fluffy, cute, and somewhat stereotypic look at geekiness, pick up Geek Girls Unite. If you're looking for an in-depth, quirky book on geekiness and what makes a certain geek, keep moving.
Profile Image for Sandy.
867 reviews9 followers
October 18, 2011
Simon talks about geek girls, you can be geeky about just about anything really, and then goes further into detail about Fangirl Geeks, Literary Geeks, Film Geeks, Music Geeks, Funny-Girl Geeks, Domestic Goddess Geeks, and a catch-all chapter at the end. Inside these chapters on individual geeks she has a little geek knowledge quiz, some background knowledge on the types of people interested in this area and how it got started, some famous pioneers in this area, some "frenemies" to watch out for, current rising heroes, a geek love match, and some suggested movies, books, etc.
This book confused me because it was about breaking the stereotype and rising to power, but then it was full of stereotypical information. It seemed to really contradict itself to me and frustrated me.
Profile Image for Ashley.
48 reviews25 followers
February 8, 2014
It was at this quote, I quit reading this book:

"Patti Smith, on the other hand, was not one of the lookers, but her overwhelming stage presence and protagonist musical style made her utterly captivating, endlessly powerful, and oddly attractive". (pg 96)


There is nothing "unifying" in the author's tone about geek women and fandom. Which is a shame, because she's nabbed a fantastic title and written a shit book. I feel like this would only be a title worth reading for someone who wanted to pose as a geek. It's like she wiki'd and wrote all the talking points of geekdom.

I do hope that someone does one day write a proper book on women and fandoms though. Shame this wasn't the one.
Profile Image for Jan.
289 reviews1 follower
November 17, 2019
Fun to be had as you read this! I'll be quite honest; I missed a great many of the social and cultural references because I've grown a bit "older," but that's actually fitting. Teens and young adults are the target audience, so they'll recognize the numerous celebrities, foods, and fads within the pages. Not fitting in? Smarter than stylish? Well, when true to oneself, these don't matter. This book is a playful, always affirming, declaration that smart young women come in many forms. They have their own styles, likes, dislikes, dreams, and talents. They are now creating a hip new world for themselves and others. That's exactly what such a book should address. A former student recommended that I read this, so I approached each page imagining her reading it, telling me why she likes this book, and how it reflects her. I am touched that she recommended this to me. Again, I missed a good amount, but I honestly laughed aloud numerous times while scrolling through the pages. Smart girls grow to be smart women, and we all benefit when these women take on leadership. Read this! Enjoy it!
Profile Image for Summer.
289 reviews11 followers
December 28, 2018
Liked: author's obvious enthusiasm, disdain for Dane Cook
Disliked: abundant and often unnecessary footnotes, lack of substance in material

I felt like this should have been geared towards 13 year old females but I don't think that was the intention. This book was just one giant listicle- I hope it didn't take her more than a week to write.

Also, I'm not sure I learned in any way how "geek girls are taking over the world". Additionally, I imagine this book wasn't great when it came out, but it definitely doesn't hold up seven years later.

P.s. The Hunger Games is not a supernatural story. All those weird animals are bioengineered.
Profile Image for SHUiZMZ.
199 reviews1 follower
July 10, 2017
This book pretty much ruled. I look at it for me, as a male geek, sort of like delving into the mind of female geeks and learning what is important to them in geek culture, as well as some do's and don'ts for guys. I really enjoyed all the resources within it, good for either sex. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Parinita.
Author 12 books35 followers
April 5, 2019
I wanted to love this very much. A few bits were super interesting and informative. However, the geek girl snobbery (in that geeks are better than those who aren't) and defining the parameters of a certain type of geekiness in order to be considered a True Geek were really off-putting.
96 reviews
February 3, 2021
This book was published in 2011 so it is a little dated. A lot of things have changed in the world but it was a quick fun read. It was interesting to read who Leslie Simon considered to be geek goddesses, also to consider how drastically different some of them are perceived a decade later.
Profile Image for Femke.
491 reviews6 followers
December 16, 2019
Extremely dated, but also totally not about geek girls uniting. It sounded so good but it was so bad.
Profile Image for Christy.
47 reviews
April 23, 2021
Mostly just a series of lists of what “typical” geek girls should like. Not very interesting.
Profile Image for Malda Smadi.
23 reviews7 followers
December 23, 2012
Remember the time when everything dull, negative, and lame was associated with being a geek? You know, back in high school when you would kill yourself rather than be seen talking to or befriending a geek? Or how you were too jealous to admit you wanted good grades so you mocked the geek instead? Or how geeks were too weird for you? How you just couldn’t understand why they weren’t interested in boy bands or school dances when that was all you were obsessed with?

Well… The times. They are a-changin’.

So fast-forward X amount of years (depending on when you graduated from school) and behold this great book for everyone who is a closet geek, a confused geek, a geekophobe or simply a geek needing direction. Leslie Simon leads the lecture with insights to the different types of geeks around in the world today. From the Fangirl geeks to the Literary geeks and even to the Miscellaneous geeks who are into technology, there’s a geek sitting beside every one of us and if we’re not careful, they just might seem interesting enough to get close to and poke. This book will help you find your ground with topics you can indulge them with while you enter that awkward moment right after you have poked them. (Please don’t poke a geek.)

Apparently, what we once referred to as being "geeky" or "nerdy" isn’t factually correct. As a rough paraphrasing from the book, there are 5 kinds of “different” people you mistakenly thought was a geek:

The Geek: A person who is passionate about an activity or interest and strives to be an expert in said avocation. Person does not necessarily sacrifice social status to participate in area of expertise; instead, person will often seek like-minded peers.

The Nerd: A person who excels academically and who thrives on such educationally induced pastimes as memorizing manuals and correcting your grammar. Such persons may not possess the most advanced social skills, but they are armed with a huge heart and an even bigger brain.

The Dork: A person who is delightfully oblivious of present-day trends, slangs, and references.

The Dweeb: A person who is mistaken for being highly intelligent when, in fact, person is usually technologically and academically inept.

The Weirdo: A person who exhibits particularly strange, nonconformist, and eccentric behavior and mannerisms.

So for whoever is a confused geek or a borderline weirdo (like myself), I highly recommend you go over this book guide. I scored “geek” in 4 mini quizzes leaving me completely unaware of possessing such great powers. The book is exceptionally humorous and informative with many many recommended readings, albums, movies and websites to follow.

I better get started on my Music geek homework!
Profile Image for KC.
37 reviews
September 3, 2016
Kind of disappointing. This book uses stereotypes to try and un-stereotype geek women.

My biggest pet-peeve with this book was the sole focus on women who identify as straight. Why have a "Perfect Boyfriend" section? There are geeky females out there who have the perfect match with a person of the same gender!

In the introduction there is a little note encouraging women to respect one another despite differences in interests, yet each chapter includes a frenemies list.

I was pleased to see the inclusion of women of color (e.x. Rosario Dawson, Olivia Munn, and others)throughout the book. Sadly, none of the drawings reflected this diversity featured within the writing.

The information on books, movies, video games, etc. in the text was pretty basic level stuff. You may uncover a title or two you may have missed, but chances are if you identify as a geek girl you are probably already aware of what Doctor Who is.
Profile Image for Alison.
1,295 reviews12 followers
November 26, 2011
Is this book for girls who want to find their geek clique? Well, they won’t be able to tell from the quizzes, since the right answer is generally very obvious even if you haven’t figured out that it’s always C. Is it for girls who want to read about themselves and their chosen clique? Maybe, but when I turned to what I thought would be mine, the “Literary Geek Girl,” I found out through the “character sketch” that I’m going to have to become completely immune to fashion and popular music and also go back in time to undo all that Cliffs-Notes-ing I did of really terrible books, and I’m just not willing to do that. Is it actually for boys, considering the “geek love” sections seem directed at the boys (very specifically boys, too) who want to win over a geek girl’s heart? I don’t know.
Profile Image for Jen • Just One More Page.
252 reviews91 followers
October 16, 2017

It pains me to rate this so low. I wanted to love this so badly. Really, the history aspects were interesting and informational an overall fascinating. But there was WAY too much name-dropping-referencing and half the content in the entire book I didn't understand just because I had NO IDEA who was being talked about.

And plus I just can't forgive how half of the Fangirl Lexicon is just plain inaccurate. As someone writing a book about geeks for geeks and describing geeky lingo, that's kind of inexcusable. (And WHY THE FUCK was *Twilight* of all things the mainly referenced object in the Fangirl section?)

Edit: From three stars to two. I forgot how I felt mocked more than once with the completely stereotypical assumptions and descriptions the book is filled with.
Profile Image for Emily Dill.
85 reviews6 followers
May 24, 2017
I was excited to read this book and normally love anything about "geek girls" and girl power. However I was completely turned off by a lovely little sentence about Christians and conservatives being "mean-spirited, bigots", etc. Way to irrevocably insult an entire fanbase. I'm Christian and conservative and can assure you I'm not a bigot, and I in fact think that the author seems more mean-spirited than I am, based on the constant insults hidden throughout the book directed at anyone different or "non-geek". Megan Fox, athletes, men, Lauren Conrad, Paris Hilton, Taylor Swift fans - way too many people insulted here to name, not to mention some pretty insensitive comments toward the geek ladies themselves. I wanted to enjoy this book but found it insulting and narrow-minded. But maybe I'm just mean, you know, being a Christian and all. *eye roll*
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