Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
This will be a spoiler-free review.
If I had to summarize this book in only one word, it would be “clever.” I mean, how many Cinderella retellings are there in the world? About a million, if I had to guess. But this one really stood out from the crowd, and I had a great time reading it. So, with that said, let’s jump into this review!
I loved basically everything in this book, but I think my favorite part was all of the geek culture references. Something you may or may not know about me is that I am a HUGE geek. Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who… If it’s geeky and sci-fi, I’m a fan. And so my little geeky heart did many a happy dance whenever one of my many fandoms was mentioned in this novel. The best part, though, was that every reference felt… genuine, for lack of a better term. Not like Poston was just throwing in random references she knew nothing about, but like a real geek was actually referencing something they loved. It made the experience of reading this book fun, and made the world building feel believable.
I also loved Starfield, the brand new fandom that was created specifically for this book. Like, once I’d finished the audiobook, I wanted nothing more than to go onto Netflix and binge-watch this fictional TV show. It just felt so real! Just as real as all of the actual fandoms referenced in the novel. It was clear to me that Poston took the time to really flesh out the details about this fictional show, which I think speaks to her dedication to build a realistic world for the two geeky main characters to live and love in.
Which brings me to the next thing I loved about this book: the two main characters, Elle and Darien (AKA Cinderella and Prince Charming). Lately, I’ve been at a loss for luck when it comes to liking and relating to main characters, but this book thankfully changed that. I mean, what’s more relatable (to me, anyway) than a couple of geeks? And these geeks had chemistry that was off the charts, which made this story extra fun to read. Plus, they were both just so likable. While they each still had their flaws–realistic flaws that helped to build them into realistic characters–they were still good people who were easy to sympathize with.
The supporting characters were also all well-written. Poston had an interesting take on the stepmother that somehow made me hate the woman more than ever, and the stepsisters were wonderfully layered. The fairy-godmother character also ended up stealing my heart, with her green hair and attitude. All-around, it was a fun cast to read about.
Like any good contemporary YA novel, Geekerella was also fast paced and easy to enjoy. While I obviously love the occasional literary novel, my heart truly lies with commercial fiction, and I felt this was exactly the kind of novel that needed to be simple. It’s a fun little romp through a story we all know well. I, for one, didn’t want it to drag on forever, and so I felt it succeeded in hitting all of the important plot beats in a timely manner while still adding a little something extra to the familiar storyline.
Which leads to the last thing I loved about this book, which was the actual retelling aspect of it. I feel that, sometimes, a retelling can end up feeling stale, if it isn’t done right. After all, if it’s a retelling, we likely know the story. And I don’t think there’s really a chance that somebody could go into this novel without knowing at least the basics about the original Cinderella story. But I felt that Poston really owned this retelling, and made it hers. While there were some wonderfully clever callbacks to the original story, I never felt like I knew what was going to happen next. All of the major plot beats were there, sure, but everything in between was completely Poston’s. It was wonderful.
I think my only real complaint about this novel was the somewhat cliched negative take on the acting industry. Maybe this is me just taking things a little too personally, since I’m an aspiring actress, but I’m just getting a little tired of the “managers are heartless jerks,” “actors fake-date for publicity,” and “actor just wants a normal life” tropes. Maybe one wouldn’t have been too bad, but it was just a torrential downpour in this novel. Still, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story very much, thankfully. I just wish it hadn’t been there at all.
And, actually, this does remind me of one other issue I had with the story. Part of the plot was that Darien was supposed to be fake-dating his costar, but… I didn’t really see the point in that subplot. It really didn’t feel like it went anywhere or created any extra drama, so it just felt unnecessary. Again, though, it was a small issue, and easy to look past in the grand scheme of things.
Overall, this was a fun story with great characters and awesome geek culture references. I’d recommend this novel to anyone who loves Cinderella retellings and/or is a proud geek!