Queens of Geek
by Jen Wilde Published by Swoon Reads
, Pan Macmillan Australia
on 1st May 2017 Pages:
288 Format: ARC Source: Publisher Boffins
, Publisher Goodreads
When 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.
I started blogging because of a convention.
In 2009, I moved to the UK. Oh so conveniently at the same, Twilight mania was still in full force, and I was, yes, an uber Twi-hard. I was part of a couple of forums online, and had developed some fantastic friendships that I still hold dear to this day. I wrote fanfiction (it’s still on FF.net but it’s terrible, you don’t want to read it). So of course when I heard that there was going to be a convention dedicated solely to Twilight and the stars of the film, my friend and I leaped at the chance to go. We had so much fun that we went three times.
I still remember the excitement of going. It was daunting – but everyone was there for the same reason you were. You got to meet some amazing people – and not just the celebrities! It was at the first convention I went to I met a girl who was a blogger – and honestly, if it wasn’t for meeting her, I don’t know if I’d even fall into the blogging scene. And that would have meant not meeting some of the most amazing people I have today!
If it wasn’t for conventions, I would never have met one of my best friends either. In 2014, I went to an OzComicCon event because one of my favourite actors (yes, Benedict Cumberbatch!) was doing a special Sydney event. Of course I had to go. And in the end, it didn’t just turn in to a day were you met a celebrity you’ve looked up to (literally, he was that tall) for a long time. You forged friendships and met people you wouldn’t necessarily meet – and one small detail bonds you together.
Queens of Geek is a testament to that connection, forged out waiting in long lines and that current running through the house – these are my people. It’s the story of Taylor, a young Australian learning that her anxiety isn’t a barrier. It’s Charlie’s growth in being proud in who she is at heart, and that others don’t define her. It is, essentially, a story for all young women and men out there who are trying to find their place, and that’s what makes this novel so attractive.
Stories like Queens of Geek are essential, I believe, in helping to shape and nurture a young generation who are afraid to be who they are. That they are not defined by pre-disposed boxes or labels. There’s a lot of diversity representation in QoG, and it’s representation that, to my knowledge, is done right. If you don’t believe me, I’d recommend checking out all the amazing reviews on Goodreads. It also fosters and nurtures the idea that you are never alone, no matter how small or insignificant or how different you feel, because chances are, there’s someone out there who feels exactly the same.
Unlike a lot of my fellow readers, unfortunately I didn’t love QoG as much as I wanted to. There’s very little in the way of plot, which considering it takes place over a weekend convention, makes sense. My other main gripe is probably a little insignificant in the scheme of things, but it made me sad that Taylor wanted to go to a U.S. university to study screenwriting when we have amazing locations right here in Australia. While the author and two out of three of the main characters are Australia, the homegrown #LoveOzYA identity was missing from this novel. Whether or not that was because the place setting was supposed to be a mirror of San Diego Comic Con, which is easily recognisable throughout the world, or that the publisher (Swoon Reads) is American based, I felt that it sent a message that Australia wasn’t good enough on the film industry front – which is…ironic, I guess, considering Charlie has just starred in a breakout Aussie film (which, for our industry, is a huge thing, something to be applauded). So the pressure of getting into an international university when we have some outstanding leaders in our own industry was a little hard to fathom. Also because studying at a university overseas for the full degree is not a light decision to make, and also a very costly one. It was all a little…unrealistic?
In saying that, it brings me great joy to see how much Queens of Geek has been embraced by the YA book community. That it brings a smile to people’s faces and touches their hearts is truly what literature is all about. Seeing yourself reflected in these characters and Wilde’s words is what diversity is meant to represent, and that is where this book finds its groove.
“To the weirdos, the geeks and the fandom queens. To the outcasts, the misfits and everything in between. The days of playing sidekick are over. You are the superheroes now. You are my people, and this is for you.”
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 favourite shows on Netflix, eating Mexican food, traveling to faraway 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.
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