Title: Queens of Geek
Author: Jen Wilde
Publisher: Swoon Reads/Pan Macmillan
Release date: March-May 2017
Right in the feels. Queens of Geek is everything I hoped in a book about fangirls/boys and conventions. Not only that but it resonated with me as a poc and bi fangirl with anxiety.
Charlie, Taylor and Jamie are best friends and arrive at a convention, their dream. Charlie is a famous vlogger and actress who uses her time at the event as an opportunity to reassert herself as an independent and confident woman who has moved on from her prick ex and co-star Reese. Cosplaying Queen Firestone, Taylor wants to meet her idol and favourite author Skyler Atkins. Jamie is there for the comics and manga and have the time of his life. But things go out of their control and their dreams of having the best time ever is in danger.
The writing and characters hooked me from the start. There’s something about stories about fandoms that relaxes me and pulls me in quickly. For a contemporary, I found the characters very fleshed out and, well, real. Maybe because I was able to relate to them on a personal level and the diversity rep is pretty good and flows naturally well. It didn’t feel like the author was throwing so many identities in. There are quite a few books about fandoms and nerds but Queens of Geeks stands out because of diverse rep. The book is aware of how important representation is with the characters Charlie and Taylor seeing themselves in fiction. It’s monumental for them.
Charlie is not a stereotypical Asian. She’s not a sidekick or a minor and flat character. She is confident and outspoken, and hurting because of a relationship that meant something to her and she’s trying to overcome that. Like me, she’s bi who hasn’t been in a relationship with a girl and still identifies as bi. I’m really glad that there’s no experimenting involved. Taylor also speaks for me as a fangirl who’s anxious especially in social situations and I’ve experienced what it’s like to be at a con. It’s overwhelming, mixed with excitement and soon the weight crashes down on you and you would have enough of being social for the day. Taylor is also autistic. I liked how she isn’t burdened by autism. It’s part of her. Jamie is not a typical hero. He’s a nerd, loves comics and manga, and stands up for his friends.
Movies, books and meeting the creators being sources of self-validation is reasonable and nothing to be ashamed of. Books (especially diverse ones) make me feel safe and matter. Sometimes I need validation from authors, not that that means I’m entitled to their time. I love that Queens of Geek doesn’t shit on that.
If you’re looking for a quick, diverse and cheerful read, you would love Queens of Geek.