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Geekerella (Once Upon a Con, #1)
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December 2018: Geek Reads > Geekerella by Ashley Poston - 3 stars

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Hebah (quietdissident) | 675 comments I will pretty much always pick up any contemporary novel with a fandom angle to it, so this one has been on my TBR for quite a while. On the whole, it was an enjoyable, breezy read.

Geekerella deftly takes the tropes of its original Cinderella inspiration and reinvents them. Instead of a real prince, the prince in this story is an actor playing the role of prince in the reboot of Elle's favorite sci fi show. And rather than them meeting for the very first time at a ball, there's an incident involving text messages sent to the wrong number, so they have something of a connection already, albeit one where neither fully knows the other's identity. Elle's wicked stepmother and stepsisters are, respectively, a wedding planner with social climbing aspirations and beauty vloggers. Elle works in a food truck with a pumpkin for the logo. Instead of a ball, the main event is a cosplay contest; her fairy godmother is coworker-turned-friend Sage, who wants to build up a fashion portfolio and agrees to help with her costume. All these details are fun nods to the source material.

That said, this story has to work on two different axes--that of Cinderella retelling and that of loving nod to to fandom and conventions. And while it does a decent job with both, I already have established favorites in both those categories. Cinderella's a really tricky story to translate convincingly to a contemporary setting, so the result is that the stepmother and stepsisters (and, for that matter, many of the adult figures) come across pretty thin and unconvincing. Compare that to, say, a sci fi retelling a la Marissa Meyer's Cinder, where our heroine is a cyborg in a world that already loathes them; the wicked stepmother is still wicked, but it's explained with a side of prejudice. Here, in a real world setting, the mistreatment and selfishness just feel like poor character development. And my top favorite fandom-centered story is hands-down Danika Stone's All the Feels, where the fannishness fairly oozes from every pore of the story.

All of this is to say, I liked Geekerella, but I just couldn't quite love it. It's one I would still readily hand to anyone looking for a contemporary YA romance with a twist or someone who really loves Cinderella as an inspiration story, and I look forward to its sequel, albeit with tempered expectations.


message 2: by Joi (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joi (missjoious) | 3809 comments I'm planning on reading this for this months tag. Sounds like the kind of book you have to take at face value, and ignore the cracks that fell through. Still seems quick and cute.


message 3: by AsimovsZeroth (new)

AsimovsZeroth (asimovszerothlaw) | 436 comments Sounds like one I could skip, judging by your review. I haven't read Cinder or All the Feels yet though, so thanks for mentioning them! Have you read Ella Enchanted yet? It's one of my favorites. I used to read it several times a year as a kid, and it's still one of my favorite comfort reads.

If you've seen the movie, don't judge it by that. The movie was an insult. It pretty much spat right in the face of this wonderful YA favorite and I believe that's the only time that I've actually gotten up and walked out of a movie theater.


Hebah (quietdissident) | 675 comments Joi wrote: "I'm planning on reading this for this months tag. Sounds like the kind of book you have to take at face value, and ignore the cracks that fell through. Still seems quick and cute."

Quick and cute is a great way to describe it, like a potato chip read!


Hebah (quietdissident) | 675 comments LiteraryMania wrote: "Sounds like one I could skip, judging by your review. I haven't read Cinder or All the Feels yet though, so thanks for mentioning them! Have you read Ella Enchanted yet? It's one of m..."

I've read that one ages ago at this point, maybe even a couple times. I should re-read it because I vaguely remember it being a fun one.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Good review! I have to say the title of the book caught my attention!


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments I also enjoyed this one as a light and fluffy read!

You also remind me that I have not yet read Cinder despite saying that I will numerous times.

Heads up that Poston has a new book in this same 'verse coming out in 2019! The Princess and the Fangirl: A Geekerella Fairytale


Hebah (quietdissident) | 675 comments Nicole R wrote: "I also enjoyed this one as a light and fluffy read!

You also remind me that I have not yet read Cinder despite saying that I will numerous times.

Heads up that Poston has a new book in this same ..."


Yep! I just got the approval email for the ARC of it, so it'll be fun to read it with this one still relatively fresh.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Hebah wrote: "I just got the approval email for the ARC of it, so it'll be fun to read it with this one still relatively fresh."

Nice! I just entered to win an ARC here on GR but (1) I don't think it closes until the end of December and (2) I rarely win these things. lol.

Though, I do sometimes win and have gotten some truly wonderful books that I am thankful to have reviewed in advance (*just in case the ARC-gods are watching along with the NSA*)


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