I won the ARC of Geekerella in an Instagram giveaway by FairyLoot! It’ll be released on April 1st I think. I decided to read it straight away, because this was already an anticipated release for me. I don’t generally love ya romance novels, but this – a Cinderella retelling full of fandom references – sounded like such a fun premisse! And it turned out to be just that: a really fun, light read, especially if you’re into sci-fi series like the main character! I’d definitely recommend it:)
The plot is pretty straight-forward, because it follows the Cinderella plot pretty closely, but it adds a lot to it, as a good retelling should. The book is about Danielle (who goes by Elle), a young girl who’s lost both her parents and lives with her step-mom and two step-sisters. Her father used to be a big fan of ‘Starfield’, a sci-fi series Poston cleverly made up and wove through the story. Elle’s father passed his fandom onto Elle, as she used to watch the series with him and even visit the con he started on behalf of it: ExcelsiCon. After he passed, she hasn’t visited that con, but the Starfield series is getting a new movie, and to promote it, there’s a cosplay contest. The winner gets to attend the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and wins a meet-and-greet with the new lead actor: Darien Freeman, who play main character Carmindor, Federation Prince. Elle really wants to win, even though she dislikes Darien Freeman: being a soap actor, she doesn’t think he can really do justice to her beloved character.
What she doesn’t know, is that Darien Freeman is a massive Starfield fan himself. I won’t give away more about the plot, as it’s fun to find out for yourself, but as you can probably already tell, the paths of these two characters will cross.
The story is told from the perspectives of both Elle and Darien, which is a really good choice I think, because it makes the ‘Cinderella prince’ a lot less flat. They both have their own role to play, and Darien definitely doesn’t just function as a way out for Elle. To me, both characters were pretty relatable, and I really enjoyed reading both of their POVs. What I thought was extra good, is that the book breaks with certain traditional male-female roles. For starters, Elle doesn’t plan to cosplay as a Starfield princess, but as prince Carmindor. Also, Darien isn’t necessarily really masculine, nor is Elle really feminine. I thought that was a really nice and realistic twist. Furthermore, Darien has Indian roots, and there’s some talk about being glad that their beloved prince Carmindor wasn’t white-washed, but I didn’t feel like Poston made much of a point of it – in a good way. All this and more made this book feel effortlessly diverse: the way real life is or at least should be.
Some characters, like the stepmom and one of the stepsisters, were basically tropes though. It served the story well, and of course it’s no different in the original fairytale, but it clashed a little with the other, more interesting characters.
Another small downside is that the characters motivations weren’t always as clear to me as I would have hoped. Mostly, I never really found out why Elle wanted to participate in the cosplay contest so badly if she didn’t even like Darien.
What I liked about the writing, were all the fandom references. A lot were quite explicit, but there were also many more implicit ones, and I had a blast recognizing them! Another thing I admire, is the way Poston wove her fiction within a fiction Starfield into the story.
If you’re looking for a light, refreshing ya read full of quirky and cute characters and with a storyline that’s predictable but still quite surprising at times, I’d definitely recommend picking up this book!