A modern day, nerd-encrusted Cinderella re-telling that oozes cuteness.
Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance
No. of pages: 320
Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction 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 has ever wanted, but 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. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?
Cheesy. Cute. Compelling. Contrite.
I love the geek-culture-Convention twist for this Cinderella retelling. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, because rehashing of this tale has been flogged like the proverbial dead horse. I had my moments of near eye-rolling because of the predictability and tropes associated with YA and fairy tales; but managed to get sucked in. I related to, and cared for our two main characters. Elle and Darian. Told in dual perspectives, alternating each chapter, something I usually detest, because it can repeat the same information, and let’s authors get lazy in plotting out a story. But the points of view are so different from each other, and for the most part in different locations, with separate motivations, I didn’t once find this format of a narrative a drawback.
My heart went out to Elle. I had a moment when, like in ‘Pretty Woman’ Julia Roberts’ character discovers turned up noses and sales staff refusing to let her shop. The feels when Elle has her hopes and dreams literally torn apart in front of her. Well done to Polston for capturing the feels and shaking them out of me. I swear I wanted to get physically violent with the antagonists several moments in this book.
Darian was a bit of a wimp, but an adorable one. I loved how he is the character that is body shamed and concerned about his diet, instead of a female lead. It really brings to the forefront the pressures of modern day media and the internet has on instant fame and scrutiny.
We also had a bit of a two-dimensional feeling to the secondary characters, yes they had a moment where we get a glimpse of complexity, but these characters are usually there to drive the plot forward and time is not waited on their backstory to keep the plot moving forward.
I managed to devour this book in a day, one single sitting. Polston’s writing style is fairly breezy, but scatters in some nerdy SAT words, just to confirm the genre and market that embodies the soul behind the story. It was the perfect piece of escapism, littered with enough from the original tale of Cinderella to be relevant, but oozing with diverse characters and nerd pop culture.
There were a few plot points I would have liked to see resolved better.
There is a tone of overcoming loss that is heavy in ‘Geekerella.’ That one person doesn’t swoop in to save you from it all and make it go away. You save yourself and find someone who helps you see a brighter future to share…
Overall feeling: a delightful surprise to read
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