Author: Ashley Poston
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Quirk Books
“Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.”
Geekerella is a fandom-inspired Cinderella retelling about Elle and her love of a scifi show called Starfield. While I was intrigued by the premise, unfortunately this fell short for me. A major reason why I find Cinderella retellings unsuccessful is that the evil stepmother and stepsisters rarely, if ever, come across as believable. That was certainly the case with Geekerella, and Elle’s stepmom and sisters are cruel for literally no reason. As a reader, I honestly hate this “evil just because” trope and find it to be a result of lazy writing.
Another issue that I had with this Cinderella reimagining is that it’s a little too on the nose, therefore making the entire story feel unbearably derivative. Despite the modern day setting and fandom details, this ultimately didn’t feel original enough. The only unique aspect of Geekerella is fandom, which I appreciated as a link between Elle and her late father, but otherwise I felt lukewarm about. This was especially true for the scenes that take place at the con itself, since they lacked the excitement and spark that make cons so fun in real life.
It was interesting to get Darien’s POV alternating with Elle’s, because his story approaches Starfield and fandom from a different perspective. However, in the overall scheme of things I didn’t feel like his voice added that much. Basically, this was just an incredibly disappointing read.
Geekerella combined two things that I rarely find to be pulled off well – retellings and the fandom experience – so maybe I was never going to love this. That being said, I think Geekerella focused too much on closely copying the original instead of becoming something new onto itself. If you’re still intrigued to pick this up, I’d recommend saving your money and checking it out from the library instead.
Rating: 2 stars
*I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review.