Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde

Release date: 14 March 2017
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★ – 9/10
Goodreads link
Book Depository link

Queens of Geek blurb:

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 costar Reese Ryan.  Then when Internet-famous, cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives, it seems like Charlie’s longtime 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 thinks 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 favourite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

I’ve been in, what I would call, a book slump for some time now.  It’s likely based on personal reasons (like my dad passing away suddenly in August, and the stress of planning a wedding for November), and while I have managed to tear through 2 anticipated books in this time, I have developed a habit of picking up books, and if they aren’t grabbing me straight away, putting them back down.  I’m creating a ginormous pile of Did Not Finish (DNFs) that I am moderately ashamed of.

Queens of Geek did not even glance at this pile.

There’s something simple, yet brilliant about a lot of contemporary YA fiction, and this book hits the nail on the head for me.  I grew up reading Aussie contemporary YA fiction authors, such as Melina Marchetta and John Marsden (and I’m pleased to say that Jen Wilde is also Aussie), and the stigmas of the past that were dealt with in those books, such as being a child conceived out of wedlock and growing up in a multicultural environment, have absolutely been replaced by more modern challenges facing teens (and young adults) today, such as sexuality, mental health issues and being internet famous.  And I am not just referring to Queens of Geek in this — look at books such as Eliza and her Monsters, Simon vs the Homosapien’s Agenda and Will Grayson, will grayson.  However, there’s still issues that are covered in the larger span of time, such as suicide, terminal illness, and just being able to be your best self without the fear and pressure that society presents you.  AND I LOVE that YA authors aren’t afraid to tackle relevant issues in society.  This is what helps build young people’s brains and gives them the ability to see everyone as a person, regardless of their mental state, physical state, religion, sexuality, gender, race, background, etc.

Sorry, somewhere along the line, this stopped being a book review about Queens of Geek and started me having a (good) rant about issues dealt with in YA fiction, and applauding authors for being honest about society’s challenges.  Back to the book…

I loved it.  I loved the characters, the plot, the concept, the fact that they were Aussie’s going to a real life Con in the US (something which I am very jealous about), the kind-of love stories that were going on, how the focus on Taylor wasn’t entirely about her mental health, but the way in which she copes with things, and how Charlie dealt with the pressure and had some super sweet moments in there.

I did cry while reading it (I’m a bit emotional lately…), and I thought it was awesome — highly recommended!!

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