I’ve been a bit nostalgic for anime and conventions lately, so what better way to nurse that feeling than to revisit one of my favorite geek related books, Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde.
I originally reviewed this book back in April of 2017 (you can see my review of an ARC copy of the novel here) and absolutely loved it. This review is specifically to update my thoughts about the book as it pertains to the audiobook edition with some additional commentary that I might have not written as well in the first edition of the review.
Published: 31 July 2018 (originally published 14 March 2017)
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Category: Contemporary/Young Adult/LGBT+
Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.
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 co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time 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 knows 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 favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, is an empowering novel for anyone who has ever felt that fandom is family.
Rating: 5 Stars
CW: biphobia, body shaming, panic attacks
Rep: bisexual Chinese-Australian MC, plus-size Autistic MC, Mental health rep also inc. social anxiety & depression
What I liked a lot about the audio book was that the production didn’t ignore the characters who were Australian. This is the first time I can remember listening to a book with Australian characters who actually got Australian voices. It was a refreshing listen.
Charlie’s chapters, as she’s navigating interviews at SupaCon (a version of San Diego Comic Con), has some poignant commentary on the way women are viewed in the media. There’s a scene where she and Reese, her co-star and ex-boyfriend, are being interviewed. While Reece gets an in-depth question about method & his role, she gets asked about her diet & workout routine. 🙄
Taylor runs up against her share of difficulties from a fan perspective within the geek community. During the course of SupaCon she enters a Queen Firestone Fan Contest and overhears a fellow contestant make disparaging remarks about her that include body shaming and how she (Taylor) can’t be a true Firestone fan because of what she looks like. This is an important moment for Taylor, and for the readership of Queens of Geek, because while she’s having a reflection upon her feelings about her body and talking it through on her Tumblr, the audience sees just how ludicrous such sentiments are. Your body/appearance has no relation to what your interest in a fandom can be. If you want to cosplay, be a fan, etc., then do the thing. Enjoy the game, the book, the movie, whatever. Don’t let the haters get you down.
Queens of Geek bears up well under repeat readings, so I think it will be good for new readers and repeat readers alike, particularly those that enjoy the atmosphere of anime/comic conventions.
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