Published: March 14th, 2017 by Swoon Reads | Series: N/A | Length: 288 pages | Genre: YA contemporary romance, LGBTQIAP | Source: I received an eARC from the publisher/Xpresso Reads for the blog tour. | Possible Triggers: anxiety (including panic attacks), fatphobia (challenged in text), mentions of weight, biphobia (challenged in text), cheating
Three friends. Two love stories. One convention.
Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
Queens of Geek, an empowering young adult novel by Jen Wilde, is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.
First of all, I’d like to give a huge thank you to Xpresso book tours and Swoon Reads for having me as a part of the tour and providing a review copy! Be sure to check out all the other tour stops.
I’ve been putting off writing this review for about a week at this point because I loved this book SO MUCH and have had no idea what to actually say about it. I’ll admit I was a little nervous going in because I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the fandom elements and I thought the hype I had seen for the book might result in me being disappointed. Rest assured neither one of those ended up being a problem at all.
The reason I initially added this to my TBR was because I had heard great things about the representation in it. I actually didn’t realize one of the characters had social anxiety, so that was a big (and very pleasant) surprise for me. But I had heard that there was an autistic character as well as a bi character. I’m not autistic so I can’t speak on how accurate that representation is, but the author, Jen Wilde, is autistic so I’m guessing there aren’t any huge problems with it. The bi rep was great, as was the social anxiety rep. The book incorporated a lot about both identities that I could relate to and I absolutely loved it.
One thing I loved about the bi rep, in particular, was that Charlie mentions how her attraction to girls and to guys feels different and that it made it difficult for her to realize she was bi at first because she was always comparing the two. SO RELATABLE, let me tell you. Just the couple of lines that talk about that difference have the potential to help so many readers understand their own sexuality more and it makes me so happy. As for the social anxiety rep, I loved that too and thought it was SO awesome to have a socially anxious character. I’ve never read a book that talked about social anxiety and was just so pleased to find one that did. Charlie’s also Chinese-Australian which was great too. Again, not really something I can comment on in terms of its accuracy, though. Oh, and I almost forgot, but Taylor (who is autistic and socially anxious) is also fat. I really liked this because it brings up the issue of fat-shaming cosplayers which is, unfortunately, a really relevant issue. It wasn’t a huge part of the story, but it isn’t ignored either.
Aside from having a wonderfully diverse cast, the romances in this book were soooo cute. Charlie’s romance is with another girl, Alyssa, and Taylor’s is with their other best friend, Jamie. There’s a lot that I liked about how the romance unfolded for both POV characters. What I appreciated the most was that both love interests were supportive and kind without being self-sacrificing. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked both of the romances, especially since I initially wasn’t a huge fan of the flirty dynamic between Jamie and Taylor (I’m not really sure why). But seriously, both romances were really cute and had me so eager to see the characters JUST KISS ALREADY.
The one thing that disappointed me just the tiniest bit is that we don’t see very much of the friendship between Charlie and Jamie. Charlie, Jamie, and Taylor are three best friends. They’re so close that they’re all planning to move to LA together (this isn’t a spoiler as you find out in one of the first few chapters). And yet I don’t remember a single scene where we see Charlie and Jamie have an (in-person) one-on-one deep conversation. We see it happen with Charlie and Taylor as well as with Taylor and Jamie, so I would’ve liked to see it between these two as well since I think it was a great opportunity to show a platonic but close friendship between a girl and guy.
Queens of Geek is an absolutely fantastic book that will feel impossible to put down. Wilde managed to perfectly blend cute, fluffy scenes with more difficult subjects. If Queens of Geek appeals to you at all, I can’t recommend picking it up enough. I’m sure it’ll meet (if not exceed) your expectations.
About the Author
Jen Wilde is a writer, geek and fangirl with a penchant for coffee, books and pugs. She writes YA stories about zombies (AS THEY RISE), witches (ECHO OF THE WITCH) and fangirls (QUEENS OF GEEK). Her debut series reached over three million reads online and became an Amazon bestseller.
When she’s not writing, Jen loves binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix, eating pizza, traveling to far away places and going to conventions in Marty McFly cosplay.
Jen lives in a sunny beachside town in Australia with her husband and their cheeky pug, aptly named Heisenberg.