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Going Geek

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A girl forced out of her comfort zone finds that being true to herself is the best way to live her life, in this second novel from the author of For the Record.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school should have been perfect:
amazing boyfriend
the coolest friends
the most desirable dorm
But it’s far from it. To her dismay, Skylar’s not going to rule senior year because she’s stuck in Abbot House, a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing. Living with a group of strangers everyone thinks is lame is bad enough. Worse is that Skylar wasn’t exactly truthful about how she spent summer break in Los Angeles—and her little white lie is causing her once rock-solid romance to crumble fast. And when it turns out that Skylar’s best friend is the one responsible for having her booted from Lincoln? It’s an all-out war.

Stepping out of her comfort zone never felt so scary—or necessary. But everything is different now. Including, maybe, Skylar herself . . .

304 pages, Hardcover

First published September 13, 2016

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About the author

Charlotte Huang

2 books269 followers
YA writer, music fan, wanderlust sufferer. My debut novel, FOR THE RECORD, is out NOW from Delacorte/Random House!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 94 reviews
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 19 books2,395 followers
August 29, 2016
I was trying to figure out what it is I liked so much about this book, and I realized it's that this is the kind of character arc I always wished was impressed as a great one IRL. I remember a friend asking me shortly after we'd started at different colleges "So who's cool?" and meaning it in exactly that high school way of hot and popular and influential and whatever, and me thinking that it was such an absurd question to be asking. Like, WTF is that concept, even? I can tell you who's interested in and passionate about stuff I think is fascinating, I guess? How's that?

So, this is the story of Skylar learning that varied interests and passions are cool as hell, rather than what she thought "cool" was before she got kicked out on her ass out of everything that was (by more traditional definition), and it comes with a cute ship and a lot of great secondaries and a diverse cast and does not strike my personal boarding school pet peeve of spending like half the book describing that school's traditions. God bless.
Profile Image for Karen (^ v ^).
417 reviews34 followers
October 16, 2016
3.5 Stars
Ok serious stars were lost because holy shit the main character was SO annoying in the first 150 pages of the book, I almost gave up reading it 3 times. Seriously, I get that it was her character and she was slowly developing a small sense of humanity but oh my god she was SO self absorbed with being 'popular' having the perfect image because moving into the 'loser dorm' sucks ass because everyone there is OBVIOUSLY a loser and a nerd and disgusting because they're not popular. Also can we talk about Leo and the reason he broke up with her, like really? REALLY?

Our main character, Skylar definitely began to pick herself up near the end, actually showing some compassion for her fellow dormmates in her new dorm who are actually, well what do you know, PRETTY FREAKING AWESOME. Ugh I'm sorry, Skye is exactly the type of person who gets on my nerves. Declan was pretty cute, I appreciated how patient he was considering everything. Oh yeah and Whitney was a complete bitch. These people are like the upper class of upper class, like there is an issue with her working as a waitress upper class.

What saved the book was DEFINITELY all the dorm girls, Jess, Opal (and Remy were SO ADORABLE), Bettina, Yasmin (aka my spirit animal).

I think if I've taken something out of this book, thank god I don't go to an American boarding school because all these social and political heriachies and importance of fraternities and social 'calenders' and segregation. *shudders*
Profile Image for Kelly Hager.
3,101 reviews130 followers
August 28, 2016
It's Skylar's senior year at her exclusive boarding school but things are not going as planned. Her family is having financial problems and when her friends and boyfriend learned that she spent her summer working, they disappear. And she's now stuck in the loser dorm.

It's not a spoiler to say that the girls at Skylar's new dorm are actually pretty awesome, right? You know how stories like this go. But the way that Skylar manages to turn everything around and have a great senior year anyway is an absolute blast.

I love everything about this book and definitely am excited to read Charlotte Huang's debut novel (For the Record). I knew I was going to enjoy reading this (I have a weird fondness for boarding school stories) but I had no idea I'd adore it this much or find a new favorite author.
Profile Image for Kiana.
952 reviews45 followers
May 6, 2017
Going Geek is no literary masterpiece. It’s not even a great novel as far as YA books go. It’s all surface-level storytelling, with little to no nuance—kind of like your average high-school-based movie (if you’ve seen Mean Girls or High School Musical, those will probably give you a pretty good indicator of the character depth and predictability in this book). But you know what? Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from reality and lose yourself in a pleasant, familiar story that reminds you how being yourself is cool and other people’s opinions don’t matter. And, really, that description isn’t giving Going Geek enough credit: it’s using old, tired tropes, but it’s written with a degree of skill and honesty that puts it above similar movies and novels. This book could have been lazy and lackluster, but the author injects naturalism and spark into the narrator and her journey, and that does a whole lot for the story.

In all fairness, even if the book is a tad superficial and ridiculous—the bitchy mean girls aspect felt unrealistic as hell, especially near the end (but I stayed as far away as possible from those girls in high school, so for all I know they could really be that superficial and cartoony)—it felt way less inauthentic than I expected it to. Especially where the protagonist, Skylar, was concerned. She starts out as a spoiled popular kid and her tragic beginning to senior year (she has to switch dorms! Her boyfriend breaks up with her! The horrors!) are sure to have some readers rolling their eyes. But I have to say, her reactions actually didn’t seem that far-off from how the average pampered teenager might behave. Sometimes characters and plot developments are pointlessly stupid because the author doesn’t know better and writes them poorly, and sometimes they’re stupid because teenagers just happen to be melodramatic and clueless. Going Geek falls into the latter category. There’s a self-awareness to the way the characters’ ridiculousness is written, and by the end of the story, Skylar has matured enough to see her former pettiness.

Despite Skylar’s character arc being done a thousand times before—shallow popular girl is rejected by her friends and forced to hang out with the “geeks” and discovers the geeks are pretty cool after all—I thought it was given the proper amount of time and respect. Too often in stories (YA and otherwise) I feel like writers get lazy, having their characters change attitudes overnight, as if maturing is as easy as flipping on a light switch. I was dreading and anticipating the moment when out of nowhere Skylar would turn perfect and understanding—but that wasn’t the case. Her development happens organically and over a long period of time, so it doesn’t feel unnatural or sudden when she finally stands up to her former friends or sides with the “geeks.” The various personalities in Abbot House, the dreaded “loser” dorm, that Skylar befriends are a bit glossed over and tend to blur together but I suppose that was somewhat inevitable considering the amount of characters in a 300-page novel (but it’s important to point out that none of them ever feel like caricatures). And to top it off, we have a love story that takes its time and is actually important to the protagonist’s arc rather than hastily tossed in because all YA books need a love story to sell (or so the publishers seem to think). Bonus points to Huang for making the first boyfriend a likable guy who the protagonist continues to be civil with after the breakup, rather than a shallow, cheating scumbag.

I’ve always had a thing for boarding school stories, and this book was a treat on that front, as well. It tapped into all the classic boarding school fantasies, with the brick buildings, secret hangouts, and student camaraderie. (At one point, it even appealed to my inner fantasy geek with a secret passage.) The different dorm cultures and school regulations all felt real and were given enough explanation and page time without overwhelming the story. A little bit of the dorm stereotyping felt unrealistic—aren’t housing assignments mostly random, so how could they really reflect on one’s personality?—but for the most part everything is handled in just the right amount. There’s enough time spent in the various dorms and dealing in school traditions to indulge one’s inner boarding school fantasy, but the setting always remains incidental to the story and never takes center stage.

And—perhaps a bit of an aside, but it’s a subplot, so I feel justified in bringing it up—finally, a book that acknowledges that the college application process is a part of senior year! I’ve read more books about high school seniors than I can count, but I can think of less than five that really address college in anything other than an offhand comment and that’s always annoyed the hell out of me. (The second half of senior year might be a big party, but the first half sure isn’t.) Going Geek not only discusses colleges, it does so in a realistic way. (Who else is sick of reading about every fictional character going to Stanford or Berkeley? The book slams that theory down within the first few sentences about college and points out that those are “astronomical reach schools”, and from that moment on it had my complete respect.) Skylar is forced to consider her future throughout this story and it’s an accurate depiction of the “what the hell do I want to do with the rest of my life?” struggle that almost all seniors face, and while there are no definite answers, she takes baby steps in the right direction. The college thing never plays a giant role in the story, but it is definitely present and on Skylar’s mind and that is more than most books do when dealing with seniors. It was another little touch that made a familiar story feel authentic.

I have next to no complaints about this book—it’s a nice, lighthearted treat that’s smarter and deeper than your average YA fluff. Maybe I’ve read too many overstuffed, padded books lately, but this felt like a total relief: it’s clean, sleek, and moves steadily along, and sometimes that’s all I want in a story. Sure, it’s predictable, simplistic, and a bit silly, but it never falls into idiocy. There are some great messages about branching out and not worrying about how others perceive you, nicely charted character development, and charming interactions—and it’s set in a boarding school to boot. Subtly or originality might not be high on Going Geek’s agenda, but for a sweet, empowering story, it delivers, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Lori.
541 reviews321 followers
September 25, 2016
Going Geek is like Mean Girls in boarding school…except Skyler isn’t quite as likable as Cady Heron. I was pretty anxious to read Charlotte Huang’s followup after loving her debut. I thought Going Geek was a fun read, but I didn’t love it as much as For the Record.

This book is filled with catty and spoiled girls. I find those sorts of characters entertaining in small doses, and Going Geek was probably the perfect dose. I’m happy that Skyler gets separated from her old dorm friends right away because I think I would have grown tired of them quickly.

Skyler was almost too much for me at times. In the beginning she’s very spoiled, self involved, and privileged. Her inner dialogue about school cliques and her new dorm mates was pretty cringe worthy and bordering on infuriating at times. BUT Skyler is a incredible example of fabulous character growth. She learns important lessons about herself, her friends, her school, and life. She turned into a very likable character by the end of the book. Once she started accepting her new role it was so easy to root for her. I really ended up liking her.

Going Geek also has some wonderful supporting characters. Skyler’s new dorm mates were like a big family. I really enjoyed reading about each one. They were a very diverse group too. That’s always a huge plus for me. I also really liked the boarding school setting. I don’t know about you, but I love a good boarding school. Going Geek was an engaging, fast read. Add it to your Fall TBRs if you want that back to school, Mean Girls feel.
Profile Image for Stephanie A..
2,321 reviews64 followers
June 17, 2018
This is kinda like the high school version of "The House Bunny," if instead of a house mother it was just one of their peers who ended up stuck there against her will. It is very charming to watch her friendships with the other residents grow as she helps said residents thrive socially. Not to mention that the picturesque boarding school setting, with its opening description of "looking like an Ivy League college," makes me swoon.

A minor drawback is that I came in expecting Skylar to be far more grating and full of herself, and instead I fell in love with her on page one and empathized enormously with why she wanted to pretend to everyone (yes, including her boyfriend) that her life was just the way it always was and not the depressing, hard reality of waitressing at a private beach club you used to belong to in order to afford your education.

Which meant I didn't actually want her to change, may have cried at the unfair hand she was dealt on top of everyone she cared about at school unreasonably abandoning her, and never fully stopped hoping she would get the rest of her old life back (maybe minus Whitney, on whom I wanted full Gossip Girl level revenge by the end). I had absolutely no patience for the grating presence of Weirdo Art Boy / Busted-For-Drinking-Because-He-Was-Too-Pathetic-To-Have-Hobbies Declan.

But nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing how she eventually landed on her feet, made the best of her new situation and found untapped skill as an event planner, so I tried not to let it detract from the story too much. I'm just saying, I would have absolutely voted for her spending more time in Remy's company instead.
Profile Image for Resch Reads.
1,066 reviews33 followers
March 18, 2018
*Book Received in Exchange of Honest Opinion/Review*

This book was extremely close to being DNF-ed, but I decided to continue reading and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. At first, Skylar was annoying, pretentious, self-centered, and egotistical. I was appalled by her behavior, hence the almost dismissal of this story. But I gave it a little longer and Skylar not only redeemed herself but blew me away in terms of character growth.

Skylar's "friends," well lets just say I understand where her terrible attitude and treatment of people came from. It has been a while since characters got so under my skin. I forgot how catty and awful girls in high school really are. I can totally relate to the struggle Skylar was having in finding herself. When you 'lose' your identity, what is left? Who are you when everything you hold dear is stripped away?

In the Abbot house, the girls are unique, playful, accepting and exactly what saved the story. Between these girls and Declan, I couldn't put the book down. But mind you, I had to be patient to get past the first 100 pages to find the goodness. After that I was dying to see how things would play out. 

In a fun turn of events, Skylar's journey of re-evaluating her life leads her to something far better than what she previously had. Skylar's personality does a complete 180, which was badly needed. It ended up being a light-hearted read that left me with a smile on my face.
Profile Image for Lana.
1,063 reviews
January 28, 2018
Despite the light and fluffy read that this is, it also deals with some heavier topics like figuring out what you want in life, who you are, and most importantly: what makes a friendship healthy? Skylar starts out as an incredibly spoiled and snobby rich kid but she learns quickly and I really enjoyed seeing her grow throughout the novel. It's a very cute book and even though it's predictable, I didn't read this for its originality. It delivered what I wanted it to deliver and that's having a bit of fun while reading a not so heavy contemporary. I chuckled at the different girls that Skylar's new dorm had and I honestly really grew to love these girls. Highly enjoyable read!
Profile Image for Lori Goldstein.
Author 6 books431 followers
February 21, 2017
This is the perfect book for every teen (and adult) who struggles to find their "thing." When the main character's epic senior year is derailed and she loses her "cool" friends and her boyfriend, on top of family problems, she does what most of us would want to do: sulk. But then she starts to pick up the pieces and pull herself back up, caring about things she never even noticed before. Set against the backdrop of a tony East Coast boarding school, this is a fun and poignant look at growing up and finding yourself. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for SB Senpai  Manga.
1,242 reviews
September 24, 2016
Want to see all the negative aspects of a typical slice of life YA story with few of the positives? I highly doubt you do, but man this book was like a drinking game. Take a shot each time the MC can't get used to her new school, meets a quirky side character, has parents that just don't get them. I think that's what they had in mind, since you can only experience this whilst drunk.
Profile Image for Favour.
207 reviews1 follower
October 23, 2018
She's not perfect, but she has enough determination and drive for me to ignore how snobby she was in the beginning.
Profile Image for Stephanie Ward.
1,176 reviews116 followers
October 1, 2016
3.5 Stars

Going Geek is a heartfelt young adult contemporary novel that readers of all ages can identify with. If you read my reviews, you'll know that this genre isn't my usual cup of tea. I'll occasionally read and review them, if they sound promising. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book, but I ended up enjoying it more than I thought. I really liked Skylar as the main character - especially as she faces all these new challenges at her school. She's down to earth and determined to do things how she wants. I loved watching her go out of her comfort zone and adjusting to the new situations throughout the book. Especially when it comes to the heart of the story - figuring out who you are in the world. It's something everyone has experienced (or will!) and it makes the book very easy to relate to.

The story may not be completely original, but it the rounded characters and the fantastic details and descriptions really made it stand out for me. I easily connected with Skylar and fell into her world as if I was there alongside her for everything that happens. I'm a huge fan of the first person point of view, and this book fits the ticket. Skylar is the narrator and the story is told from her perspective, so we get to know her character on a very personal level. No other writing style can get this deep of a connection with the narrator (in my opinion), and it really makes or breaks a book. If this had been done in any other writing style, I don't think I would've enjoyed it as much. Overall, this was a light & fun novel that fans of the genre should definitely get their hands on.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ashley Blake.
Author 13 books3,978 followers
May 28, 2017
The thing I love about both of Charlotte's books so far is that she has this beautiful ability to write an unlikeable girl that you root for passionately. And she takes all of these cringe-worth ideas and quirks about that unlikeable girl and, over the course of the book, showing us how with a little perspective and self-reflection and open-mindedness, we see how those quirks can so easily be strengths. This book was such a fun look into the culture of a boarding school and I just loved Skylar. She is my favorite kind of character--messy and flawed and, and all of her spunk doesn't change when she opens her mind to new ways. I think this is such a great book because it's a fun, sexy, fast-paced commentary on the value of opening oneself up to the world. It's easy to stay in our bubble, and at times, ignorance is bliss, but, it's still ignorance and we miss out on so much. This story has a great diverse cast, too. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for E. Kottaras.
Author 2 books96 followers
November 5, 2016
I love stories where the main character undergoes a journey of self-awareness, and GOING GEEK is exactly that. Skylar is forced to terms with her own prejudices and expectations of what is "cool," and even more so, she has to figure out who she is and what she really wants from life - in terms of her group of friends, her partner, and her academic career. I absolutely loved FOR THE RECORD, and GOING GEEK was just as fantastic. Real characters with real problems - but also a fun setting with some really awesome scenes where Skylar and her new friends are fighting the system (yeah!) My kind of book!
Profile Image for Leah.
1,052 reviews58 followers
September 14, 2016
While it took me a little while to warm up to Skylar's rich girl attitude, once I did I was hooked. Going Geek is such a quick read and so perfect for these last lazy days of summer. Huang breathed life into characters I would love to know in person and that for me is huge. Although I could have done with less of the Mean Girl-esque drama, I really enjoyed this one and look forward to seeing what she does next!

For the full review and more, head over to The Pretty Good Gatsby!
Profile Image for Alli.
26 reviews2 followers
March 18, 2017
I decided to read Charlotte's book in order of release for the ONTARIO TEEN BOOK FEST and I have heard of her books before so I was excited to read them. Here's my review of GOING GEEK.
I have always been wary of boarding school type of books where a rich girl is in a school with other rich students. These types of books just aren't my favorite to read because they are kind of hard to read... mainly because the characters are so stuck up. BUT GOING GEEK... it wasn't like that (entirely). Skylar went through a time where all she cared about was status. Her status in the school was so important to her and her friends had to be the BEST of the best. They were all from families of wealth. After a summer of big changes where she needed to work, earn her own money, and come to the realization that her family life would be a little different income wise, she went back to her boarding school.

When she went back to school she wasn't super comfortable with her new status. She lied to her friends about it because they are the type of friends that would not accept her newfound "scholarship" and inability to pay for school status. She had to pay for her own books instead of putting it on a credit card like her counterparts. After being in the same dorm for the past three years she was suddenly moved to a different dorm with different girls.

In her fourth year at this school she was able to find friends that really understood her and did not judge her for money. She was surrounded by supportive people that were able to push her to her highest potential and find a leadership role that she needed and really missed.

These types of coming of age stories with the character finding themselves are some of my favorite contemporary books to read. They are always so inspiring to read because a character that is a teen is able to realize that they can be themselves. They don't have to put on an act and when I was in high school I absolutely loved reading these kinds of books because I was always too shy to put myself out there and be myself. Skylar's growth throughout the school year that GOING GEEK takes place in is evident from the beginning of her boyfriend breaking up with her.

I loved her newfound friendship with Opal. She is a character that is comfortable with herself and is strong with her opinions. She knows what she wants and what she believes in. I love that Opal is so confident in herself. She was a perfect friendship to inspire a change in Skylar.

DECLAN. I always love the artsy guys in books. Haha. Declan balances Skylar's personality perfectly. The thing about this book, though, is that Declan isn't the main focus. It's focus is on Skylar and her "finding herself" change instead of the love interest.

The whole story with the Social Calendar and Whitney and Lila was very cringe-worthy. I HATE things like that because they put these people that are in that "group" to a higher level than the other students, which is what Lila and Whitney liked about the Social Calendar. The whole idea of a Social Calendar is so petty! It's an organization that puts on a dance EVERY MONTH? What even? Haha. Needless to say, I really enjoyed the book. Charlotte's writing is so easy to follow and it's light. GOING GEEK and FOR THE RECORD aren't hard to follow.

This review was originally posted on A Bookish Alli http://www.abookishalli.com/discussion-review-going-geek-by-charlotte-huang/
Profile Image for Liralen.
2,754 reviews160 followers
August 22, 2017
Going Geek might be fairly described as a mix between two classic setups: former Pretty Person finds true happiness with underdogs, and underdogs unseat the Pretty People.

I suspect that part of me is still trying to find my boarding school experience in a book (never going to happen, for complicated reasons), and this really wasn't that book. Skylar's school is a prep school to the max: students who come from serious wealth and who care who comes or doesn't come from similar wealth; pressure from the administration to succeed in certain ways and make a good showing at certain universities.

And then there's Skylar, who does well enough but not brilliantly, whose family was wealthy but is facing some difficulties. Instead of her senior being a top of the social pack sort of thing, it becomes a what is really important thing and a who are my real friends thing.

It comes down to the Social Calendar, which I guess is a bit like a prom committee, but...if the prom committee was allowed to determine the details of every single social event put on on campus. It's a little weird—Skylar has boys in her room and so on without worrying about it, but try to organise a tea party with the dorm? Heaven forbid the dorm should make any plans without running them by the witches on the Social Calendar. Honestly, that ended up being my biggest problem with the book: I had a hard time believing that so much power would be given to such a limited number of students. Understand, please, that it's not that the Social Calendar has to approve, say, the formation of a new student group—they also have to approve every single event, whether or not it requires money or the use of reservable spaces, that any group wants to put on.

I don't know. Other than that... Skylar is a little exhausting at times, though I guess that's intentional. I don't care about the romance (but I almost never care about the romance, so that doesn't say much). I do love that, as Skylar starts to figure out where her talents lie and what she wants to do with them, she doesn't land on one of the YA staples (e.g., photography or music). I do wish there were a little more reflection about her first three years at this boarding school, because...it seems like she learns more, and makes better friends, in a couple of months than she has in three years, which feels like it could be a Complicated Thing in a way that it's not. So...mixed bag.
Profile Image for Jenia.
Author 2 books25 followers
November 23, 2016
A girl forced out of her comfort zone finds that being true to herself is the best way to live her life, in this second novel from the author of For the Record.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school should have been perfect:
amazing boyfriend
the coolest friends
the most desirable dorm
But it’s far from it. To her dismay, Skylar’s not going to rule senior year because she’s stuck in Abbot House, a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing. Living with a group of strangers everyone thinks is lame is bad enough. Worse is that Skylar wasn’t exactly truthful about how she spent summer break in Los Angeles—and her little white lie is causing her once rock-solid romance to crumble fast. And when it turns out that Skylar’s best friend is the one responsible for having her booted from Lincoln? It’s an all-out war.

Stepping out of her comfort zone never felt so scary—or necessary. But everything is different now. Including, maybe, Skylar herself . . .

GOING GEEK was the first novel that I have read by CHARLOTTE HUANG and once I did, I wondered to myself why I haven’t read her earlier than I had? I have been hearing quite bit about her debut novel, FOR THE RECORD Which I am now excited to read. After reading this one, I am blown away by the characters and the story. It felt so real to me and a type of story that you can see yourself happening in real life. Everything that they were all dealing with, it sounds just like high school and the most of things that Scarlett went through. I fell in love with most of characters, especially with Scarlett and Declan, out of all of the characters in the novel, the two of them were my favorite. I needed to know how it would end for them. Most of all I was curious about the way things would end for Skylar.

Skylar went under main character change in this novel, you could tell by way she thought, and how she started doing things in different way than she did in beginning of the novel. What I loved the most about her was fact that she didn’t give up, not a single time. Despite what her old best friend tried to do, and how she tried to turn all her old friends against her. It didn’t stop her. Skylar was on a mission, the one that she wouldn’t stop till she got what she wanted to. I stil couldn’t believe what Whitney done, get her kicked out and than practically turned against her because her other best friend Lila showed up? Besides you can have more than one best friend. I guess she wasn’t a true friend with everything that she put Skylar through. I felt like Skylar was better off without her anyways. Who needs friends like these anyways? I hoped that Skylar would find wat to bring her down.

Now Declan, he’s the type of guy that every girl wants. The way he helped Skylar and was always there when she needed him, the two of them belong with one another. I was just waiting for Skylar to realize that. I just wish that she would realized it sooner than she had. I had a feeling that maybe there was a chance that she might go running back to her ex and end up breaking his heart. I was glad to find out that she didn’t. I loved the scenes between Declan and Skylar the most, you could tell that there was a connection between the two of them. I was rooting for them, hoping for their happy ending.

I loved every page. It was beautiful and filled with so much emotion. I could feel everything that Skylar was feeling. I was on edge of my seat till the end.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Rachel Consoli.
431 reviews2 followers
June 16, 2020
This book is frustrating because I absolutely and utterly despised the main character and all her “friends” for almost half the book, but then the other half was cute and enjoyable so I settled on my 3 rating. Literally everything in this book feels SO high school in the most aggravating ways. Also her counselor was absolutely horrid and seemed to revel in Skyler fucking up, but if she’s just now figuring out college you’ve failed at ur job lady. And there was ZERO comeuppance for her friend and that new bitch other than them losing the calendar, but nothing. There was a bit of a moment of them arguing after the hearing, but not nearly enough to satisfy me for how horrible she was. While I’m glad Leo came around in end since he’s “such a good guy”, I was infuriated with how he acted to begin with. Did Skyler lie stupidly? Totally and I get why he was insulted since he’s a commuter due to finances, but to pull the whole “I need space” shit and then tell everyone that you broke up was such bullshit!! And then to immediately date someone else?!! Wtf! I’m glad she gave him what for and didn’t go back to him because he was a completely obtuse hypocrite and I did not appreciate. Overall once it got cute it was a fun story. I think it’s another case of me being too old to fully enjoy it, but it had some fun bits and I’m happy with the journey that Skyler went on and became a much better person thank god.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lexi.
412 reviews16 followers
March 26, 2018
This isn't the book I thought it would be when I started it. I read about it in an article about YA books dealing with geek culture. I guess I expected it to be more about fandom, gaming, and other typically nerdy pastimes. Instead, it centers on a popular girl who gets thrown in with a group of quirky social outcasts with weird obsessive interests. Cute story, but with some major flaws. Firstly, there were so many characters, it was hard to keep track of who was who. The quick flashing from scene to scene seemed a little breakneck at times and it had the tendency to interrupt the overall flow of the narrative. The main character was also supremely unlikeable for the first half of the book as well, which isn't a problem in and of itself, but it did make it harder to get into the story and relate. Not sorry I read it, but I can't really say it was my favourite. 3.5/5
Profile Image for Elizabeth Mathis.
469 reviews53 followers
September 19, 2016
A girl forced out of her comfort zone finds that being true to herself is the best way to live her life, in this second novel from the author of For the Record.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school should have been perfect:
amazing boyfriend
the coolest friends
the most desirable dorm
But it’s far from it. To her dismay, Skylar’s not going to rule senior year because she’s stuck in Abbot House, a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing. Living with a group of strangers everyone thinks is lame is bad enough. Worse is that Skylar wasn’t exactly truthful about how she spent summer break in Los Angeles—and her little white lie is causing her once rock-solid romance to crumble fast. And when it turns out that Skylar’s best friend is the one responsible for having her booted from Lincoln? It’s an all-out war.

Stepping out of her comfort zone never felt so scary—or necessary. But everything is different now. Including, maybe, Skylar herself . . .

Rating: 3.5/5 Penguins
Quick Reasons: for having money problems, MC is awfully snooty sometimes; absolutely adored the rest of the characters; girl hate/best friends to frenemies; adorable romance; decent character growth; great build-up of friendships/relationships; small snippets of snark

Huge thanks to Charlotte Huang, Wendy Loggia w/Delacorte Press, and the crew at The Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending me a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

I didn't notice in our brief meeting earlier, but she has the most grating voice I've ever heard, like she's trying to force it down a register while simultaneously choking on a ball of cat hair.

At the beginning of this read, I was super annoyed with Skylar. For having to deal with family drama and financial pressures, she came off as a hugely spoiled brat. She was whiney. More than that, she complained--all the time!--about pretty insignificant problems. I was not, in truth, impressed. I spent a good chunk of this read praying to my book penguin queen for ANY amount of character growth, because I wasn't sure Skylar would be willing or able to change.

I pushed past my annoyance, however...and by the midpoint of this book, FINALLY began to see changes happen. I attribute this growth to the rest of the characters cast here--the friendships and relationships built into and surrounding Skylar were, in my opinion, the best parts of this read. Sure, there are other important morals touched upon--toxic friendships; bullying; standing up for what you believe in; putting yourself out there. These all play such key roles in this journey...but it's the focus on friendships, and on acceptance, that stood out most to me. So Skylar's growth was not necessarily due to a shift in her way of thinking (not at first, at least), but instead the changes in who she surrounded herself with.

"I don't totally get it, but you know how it is with people from your past. Sometimes you regress into old roles."

There wasn't, overall, a ton of action to the plot. In terms of the plot mountain, in fact, this read was pretty one-dimensional. However, the moments of snark were super entertaining, and I really enjoyed following Skylar on her journey to self-discovery and self-acceptance. Watching her find her feet--and then a way to stand strong on them--proved both endearing and empowering. There were also some very beautifully written scenes...which helped show that Charlotte Huang knows how to set the stage and craft gorgeously unique imagery for readers.

In the end, I really enjoyed this book, and will probably be picking up more of Charlotte Huang in the future. The beginning was a bit rocky for Skylar and I...but the ensuing friendships MADE this book for me. I'd recommend this to lovers of contemporaries, flawed but adaptable characters, and vibrantly detailed scenery. For now, it's on to the next one!
Profile Image for Kelly Gunderman.
Author 3 books76 followers
September 20, 2016
Check out this and other reviews on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

Going Geek is the first novel that I've read by Charlotte Huang, although I have heard amazing things about For the Record. When I heard about this one, I was excited to read it, because I thought it sounded like an incredible contemporary (and okay, that cover is so pretty), and I was curious about it. I love books set in boarding school settings!

Skylar was really looking forward to her senior year at Winthrop, a prestigious boarding school where she has been the queen bee, along with her friend Whitney. She is excited to return, especially after her summer, which was spent waiting tables at the country club instead of lounging around reading movie scripts with her mom, looking for the next big hit.

However, one letter changes everything - Skylar will no longer be in Lincoln, the dorm she had been in since she was a freshman. Unsure as to how this has happened, she just knows that it is going to be a difficult year without all of her friends. When she finds out that she is going to be in Abbot House, the dorm with all of the "geeky" kids in it that is practically off the map, she is crushed. When she gets the news that she will have a roommate, she doesn't know how she is going to take it.

To make matters worse, Whitney has invited her best friend Lila to come to the school for their senior year, and when Skylar ends up getting booted from the dorm, she wonders if it is because Lila has taken her spot. To add to it, Lila also plans on fighting Skylar for her position on The Calendar, which is the most popular club at Winthrop - the one that determines which social events will be allowed to happen on campus. Oh, and when it gets out that Skylar lied about her summer? Yeah, her perfect boyfriend dumps her, too, leaving her all alone and essentially friendless.

While everything seems like a nightmare for Skylar, she eventually comes to learn who her best friends are, and what's really important.

The quirky cast of characters in this book made it even more enjoyable. Along with the "popular" girls, you get to meet some of the more "uncool" members of the school once Skylar gets moved to Abbot House and gets new roommates. These roommates include Opal, who loves yoga and has been trying to get a yoga class going for ages, and Declan, a boy who doesn't live in Abbot House, but is still considered somewhat geeky by those in Lincoln. As Skylar slowly stars to make friends with these and other characters in the book, it's amazing to watch how she grows as a person and gets her priorities in order - she stops caring so much about things that used to be important to her, and starts caring about the real important things, including real friendships.

Going Geek felt like it had an air of high school politics going on it, what with the Calendar and the whole petitioning for social events thing. While that's not usually my thing, it did work here, making for an interesting read.

When I first started reading, I did question whether or not I was going to enjoy this; I do like contemporary YA novels, but for some reason, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get into it. I did think that it started off a little slower than I would have liked, but we get a good bit of background and introductions into the characters. Well, a few chapters in, I found myself pretty hooked on this - the story itself was sweet, and the writing what really shone through. If you're a fan of contemporary YA novels, then this is one that you won't want to miss!

Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Robyn.
240 reviews1 follower
August 9, 2017
This book was recommended for me because I liked Shannon Hales' Real Friends which I enjoyed for its sweet, honest look at friendship while growing up. When I started reading Going Geek I hated it. It seemed like just another patronizing "spoiled girl learns to be nice" book. I have a thing about finishing books though, so I kept reading. By the time I was half way Huang's writing had me hooked. It is wyhat I thought, but better. Lively pacing, fun (if stereotyped) characters, encouraging resolution. There is a smattering of foul language, if that kind of thing bothers you, but I thought it sounded like any high school I've ever been in so not a big deal for me. I will recommend it to my 14 year old, too.
Profile Image for Day.
678 reviews36 followers
August 1, 2018
Wow, I was truly surprised on how much I loved this book. Didn't expect it at all. The story was more than I thought it would be. And the characters were amazing. Each one was unique and what made this book extra great for me.
Then there is the main heroine. In the beginning of the book, she was so so unlikable. I was scared that I would not like her. I liked her transformation. I especially liked that it took time for her to grow as an character. It didn't happened suddenly.

I cannot stop gushing how much I liked this book. Weeks after reading it, I still think about it and wonder how are the characters doing. That doesn't happen a lot with me so yeah, best book of the year and definitely will pick up more from this author.
381 reviews1 follower
September 23, 2018
I did not enjoy this book. It was too predictable, and that made it super boring. It was hard for me to focus throughout this book, and I wanted to skim through it. Nothing super major happens. The girl lies to her boyfriend, he finds out and needs space, she's sad, and tries to get him back. Like it was literally her fault, so I couldn't feel bad for her. She wasn't fitting in as well as she thought she would in her little boarding school, and making friends was a struggle. It was just childish and mediocre for me.
August 15, 2021
At the start of this book I found that skylar seemed selfish but I also felt bad for her cus Leo completely left her by herself and including her best friends. She slowly considered others feelings throughout and tries her best to support everyone, including the Halloween party showcasing her friends balloon artwork! I love Deccan as he truly loves skylar and to the end is so cute! I love how they played squash together and skylar stood up to Leo after her president of the calendar speech. Her strong and passionate characteristics makes me love this book even more!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jeff Raymond.
3,092 reviews180 followers
July 25, 2017
A girl heads back to her boarding school. She goes to a boarding school because she's an actress, and her sequel to her big movie wasn't greenlit, and her response is to lie about it. So the story continues on with this being the pressure point of the plot, and I think you might get an idea as to why this didn't connect for me. There may be some fun fantasy wish fulfillment here for some readers, but I found it hard to like anything going on here.
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