reviews

Review | Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Genre: YA Contemporary | Diversity: bi Chinese MC + fat, anxious autistic MC

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Blurb

28245707When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

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 Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

My Thoughts

Queens of Geek is one of those rare books that really lives up to the book blogging community’s hype. This naturally diverse story follows three best friends from Australia as they journey to the U.S. for a convention. Along the way, the two narrators overcome their fears and insecurities—and fall in love.

This super cute story is exactly what I needed right now. It’s the kind you read when life’s got you down for whatever reason, and know that this book one will put a smile on your face.

The solid friendships in this book are exactly what I want to see more of in YA.

The story starts when our main characters—Charlie, Jamie, and Taylor—arrive at SupaCon. From the beginning, their interactions show how much they care about each other. Despite her YouTube fame, Charlie’s concerned that her two best friends are having a good time. And despite her huge anxiety, Taylor makes sure to support Charlie when she needs it.

It sounds so simple as I’m trying to write it down, but I’m honestly at a loss to describe how necessary stories like this really are. Being a teenager is rough, and friendship is one of the few things that gets you through. Unfortunately, teens can also be really mean, and I think it’s so great that this book offers us really health friendships that don’t dissolve into jealousy or drama of any sort.

The narrative style is light and fast-paced, and the dual narrative really did it for me.

Unpopular opinion: I don’t usually like books with more than one narrator. I get confused, or I can’t tell the difference between the different voices, or the voices are too different. Either way, I often find them very distracting. Queens of Geek was not that way for me. The light, fast-paced narrative kept me interested, and I found myself really connecting to both Taylor and Charlie’s voices for different reasons. I can’t speak for everyone, but I think this book is very accessible, regardless of your identity, orientation, or the way your brain works.

ALL the rep is beautiful.

I put off reading this one for a long time, both because I was afraid of the hype and because I was worried that the intersectionality of its characters would ultimately fall flat. Boy was I worried for nothing! This is one of those rare gems where the natural diversity just is: it doesn’t jump off the page and whack you in the face, but it’s also an important part of the story and character development.

Charlie’s description of her bisexuality hit me in the chest. I had to put the book down and marvel at how it felt to be…understood by a fictional character. To have my experiences staring back at me off the page. This happens so infrequently and I’m so grateful.

I love that not only are we witnessing two women falling in love, but that one of them is bi, and the other one is gay; that one of them is Chinese, and the other one is black; and that, for Charlie, this is the first time she’s done more than think about being with a girl.

On the other hand, we have Taylor: a fat, anxious, autistic girl who tugs at my heart strings so effing much. Small disclaimer: I’ve never been diagnosed with anxiety, although I’ve been told I have an anxious personality. That being said, I related to Taylor’s experiences in having an invisible illness—where you look fine on the surface, but underneath everything feels like it’s crumbling. This has been my experience with my depression, and it’s so comforting to see that aspect of myself represented and to know, in a sense, that I’m okay exactly as I am.

It should be noted that the rep I mentioned—bisexuality, anxiety, and autism spectrum—are all #OwnVoices aspects, which is part of why I think this book succeeds so much. You can tell Jen Wilde is really writing about her own experiences, as well as wanting others to see that they’re not alone. It’s just beautiful.

Both the convention romances really warmed my heart.

I’ve been having a tough time lately, but this book took some weight off my shoulders and made me laugh. Sure, some of the pop culture references went over my head (I don’t watch a lot of movies and I’m pretty unfamiliar with other aspects of convention-type nerd-dom). But my ignorance didn’t really detract from my experience reading this. The excitement of all three friends seeps off the pages and makes you want to find joy in your own life.

The romances were also super cute. As I stated previously, I enjoyed watching Charlie fall in love with a girl for the first time, despite knowing for a while that she’s bi. I liked that her sexuality wasn’t questioned, either by straight friends or her gay partner.

I also enjoyed the wish-fulfillment aspect of both romances: Charlie getting to date her long-time YouTube crush, Alyssa, and Taylor exploring her previously unspoken feelings for her best friend Jamie. Because, I’m sorry, how many of us have had crushes on either one of our closest friends OR on someone slightly famous (or more famous than we are)? It was really nice to see these characters find happiness and really come into their own through the experience of the convention.

overall: highly recommend.

Queens of Geek comes highly recommended by many in the diverse book community. While I can’t add much to what’s already been said, I have to agree with everyone else who’s loved this book. It’s a light, up-beat story that will leave you smiling and gooey on the inside, but it’s also great representation for bisexuality, anxiety, and the autism spectrum—all of which comes from an #OwnVoices perspective.

I sincerely recommend this to anyone looking for a sweet contemporary with a nerdy feel.

Find Queens of Geek online:

Goodreads | Amazon | Indiebound

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*Please note: this is a backlogged review from July 2017. I am still technically on hiatus from blogging, but I’ll try my best to respond to everyone’s comments (albeit with delays). For more information, please see my recent post.*

 

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15 thoughts on “Review | Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde”

  1. Beautiful review, Christine! I pretty much agree with everything you said here – I loved this book and thought it was really well-written, it felt true and accurate, I could relate to a lot of things here. I’m not a fan of multiple POV either, yet I found myself relating and identifying each of the narrators, which I loved even more.
    Great review 🙂

  2. Aaaah I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! This was definitely one of my favourite books that I’ve read recently. And you’re so right, I found the bisexual and anxiety rep absolutely spot on. I adore Jen Wilde ❤

  3. Great well written and well thought out review! I absolutely loved this book to bits and pieces as well and thought pretty much everything about it was wonderful! All of the diversity and representation was amazing as well as the fandom and geek culture! 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you connected with it! I’ve seen a lot of people who said the anxiety rep helped them so much, which is just so important! It’s hard to find books that accurately reflect our experiences when it comes to mental illness, so I’m glad that we’re seeing better rep in YA lately.

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