Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde Review

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Summary:

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.

(via Goodreads)

My rating: 5/5 stars

Pros: Good characters, Great relationships, Good writing, Unapologetic nerdiness, Good representation of bisexuality and anxiety

Cons: Would’ve preferred a slightly slower burn romance for Charlie & Alyssa

I’m really starting to rethink my position on the contemporary genre. I’ll always prefer fantasy/paranormal but I’ve been reading so many great contemporaries lately that I think I’m starting to think of the genre as higher on my priority list than it once was. Books like The Sun Is Also A Star and Queens of Geek make me excited about the genre in a way I never used to be. Perhaps it’s the fact that both of those books include actual diversity. Maybe the reason I’ve always been bored by contemporary books is because they’re always just about white cishet ablebodied neurotypical non-mentally ill people. That is definitely not the case with Queens of Geek. Charlie is a bisexual Chinese-Australian woman. Taylor is an autistic woman with anxiety. The diversity of this book is amazing and I love it but I’ll talk more about that later on in my review.

You clearly know I love this book but you’re probably wondering why. So here goes.

Firstly, the characters. All of them are so well-written and well-developed. Charlie is so independent and confident but she also cares what people think, perhaps too much. Taylor is so caring and passionate and amazing but she has difficulty navigating the world due to her anxiety and her autism. (I can relate. Well, to the anxiety part anyway.) Jamie is confident and intelligent and kind but has his insecurities like everyone does. Alyssa is talented and creative and confident but has gone through things in her past that deeply affected her. None of the characters are too perfect or too typical. They all have flaws or insecurities or just plain obstacles to overcome, making all of them realistic. I love them. I love Charlie’s confidence. I love Taylor’s passion. I love Jamie’s kindness. I love Alyssa’s down-to-earth nature. I love all of them. Charlie is independent, confident, determined, caring, loyal, intelligent and creative. Taylor is caring, loyal, intelligent, creative, passionate, funny, and so incredibly strong. Jamie is kind, caring, loyal, intelligent, funny, determined, and down-to-earth. Alyssa is caring, loyal, down-to-earth, passionate,intelligent, creative, and confident.  I love all of these characters and can relate to all of them so much, especially Charlie and Taylor. I can relate to Charlie’s desire to please others as well as her bisexuality (which I will get more into later when I talk about representation). I  can relate to Taylor’s passion about the people and things she loves as well as her struggles with her anxiety (which I will also get more into later). I can relate to all of the main characters’ unapologetic nerdiness.

These amazing characters also engage in great relationships with each other. I love Charlie, Jamie, and Taylor’s friendship. I love Charlie and Alyssa’s romantic relationship. I love Jamie and Taylor’s romantic relationship. I love Taylor’s friendships with Brianna and Josie. Charlie, Jamie, and Taylor are the perfect nerdy friend group. I love how they support each other unconditionally and nerd out together. I love how Charlie and Alyssa are there for each other as well as how their personalities work together. I love how Jamie and Taylor complement each other as well as how sweet and adorably dorky they are. (Also I’m a sucker for a good friends to lovers trope.)  I love how Brianna and Josie support and care about Taylor. The relationships, romantic and platonic, in this book are amazing and beautiful and definitely all added to my enjoyment of this wonderful book. No relationship felt forced or simply added to the story for no good reason. I understood why each character in a romantic relationship loved their love interest–which is very important to me, as you’ll know if you read my Heroine Complex review–as well as why two characters worked as friends. It’s simply amazing.

The writing in this book is equally amazing. Jen Wilde’s writing style is not especially poetic but it is no less beautiful for its simplicity. I put so many post it notes on different quotes because of how I related to them and/or how beautiful they were. This book includes so many lines that express a profound point in a simple way. It’s simply beautiful.

As I mentioned before, all of the main characters–and secondary characters as well–in this book are unapologetically nerdy, as is the book itself. I loved the Orphan Black and Doctor Who references. I love the discussion of fandom as a place where people can find friends and feel at home in a way that they can’t always in the outside world. As a member of many fandoms, I can definitely relate to that. I love that this is a book where being nerdy is not simply a quirky character trait but is a big part of the character’s lives. How the main characters embrace their nerdiness and don’t hide it to be more socially acceptable. This book made me feel so comfortable and happy, both because of its unapologetic nerdiness and because of its wonderful bisexual and anxiety representation.

The goal of representation is–or at least should be–to make members of the groups being represented feel seen and understood in a way that they often are not in both the media and society. Queens of Geek, for me, definitely accomplished that goal. I felt seen and understood in Taylor’s anxiety and in Charlie’s bisexuality. As you can probably tell if you were reading along with my Twitter thread  , I relate to Taylor the most out of all of the characters in the book. Not only do I relate to her personality-wise but I also relate to her struggles with anxiety. I relate to how she sees other people interacting socially and wonders how they do it with such ease. I relate to how she feels less “normal” because of the ease with which most people seem to live life, to do things that I can barely imagine doing or that I at least would be nervous about. I relate to how confusing and scary she finds the world at times. I relate to how she’s “scared, but keeps fighting.” I relate to how she expresses herself better in writing because of the lack of anxiety when writing compared to when speaking. I relate to how her anxiety is a constant part of her life. How she’s been without panic attacks for a while but that does not make her anxiety any less present. I relate to how everything feels so intense for her. I relate to how she sometimes feels “allergic to the world…allergic to [her] own species.” I relate to how she worries about if people are mad at her, even if they’ve really done nothing to make her think they are. I relate to how her anxiety is a constant fight and how sometimes you lose and the anxiety wins. I relate to how she keeps fighting anyway, despite how difficult it can be. I relate to how she stays in her comfort zone, yet wants to get out of it. I relate to how one mistake–or possible mistake–can send her into an anxiety spiral. I relate to how she feels as if “nothing is ever stable.” I relate to how she doesn’t want to bother people with her problems, how she doesn’t want those she cares about to think less of her. I relate to how she has done things that make her anxious and survived them. (Though that doesn’t mean she’ll never be anxious again. But it doesn’t hurt to remind yourself of those things.) I relate to Taylor’s idea that “new experiences are always scary, but they aren’t always bad.” I relate to how Taylor can overcome her anxiety, can recover, can get back up. I relate so much to Taylor and I love her so much.  I also relate to Charlie’s bisexuality. I relate to how she’s never been with/flirted with a girl yet really wants to. (Though I’ve never been with/flirted with anyone.) I relate to how she easily found the label to fit her sexuality. (Though for me accepting my sexuality was far more complicated than it was for Charlie.) I don’t have much more to add to this section because I don’t relate to Charlie as much as I relate to Taylor, probably because we’re quite different personality-wise. Yet I truly think that Charlie is great bi representation, just as Taylor is great anxiety representation. Both characters make me feel seen and understood in a way that I rarely do and I’d like to thank Jen Wilde for creating them.

As was the case with The Sun Is Also A Star, I had trouble thinking of things that I disliked in this amazing book. The only thing I could think of is less a dislike and more a personal preference. As you may know if you’ve read my blog for a while, I’m a fan of a good slow burn romance. I like really seeing characters get to know each other well and then falling in love at a slower pace. Therefore, I would have preferred if Charlie and Alyssa’s romance had moved a bit slower. However, since the two characters did get to know each other, I did enjoy their romance (a lot, actually!) and did not find their relationship instalove at all.

Overall, I absolutely adored this book. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. I’d especially recommend it to anyone who’s looking for good bisexual and/or anxiety representation and/or is a huge nerd.

Goodreads Link/Amazon Link

I read this book for #DiversityBingo2017.

 

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4 thoughts on “Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde Review

  1. cw @ readthinkponder says:

    I’m so happy that you enjoyed this book, Annie! This is definitely a book that I want to read, and I hope I can get around to reading it soon.
    I’m glad to hear that the rep was good! I’m especially looking forward to seeing the Chinese rep – I hope I can find bits of myself in Charlie. And I’m also looking forward to the anxiety rep too; I feel like good books with anxiety rep are hard to come by.

    Great review, and I’m even more excited to read QoG now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • iliveandbreathewords says:

      I hope you can too. I hope that you do too. I quite enjoy Charlie as a character so I’m hoping that you find her to be good rep. Definitely. Taylor is the first character with anxiety–or any mental illness really–that I’ve related to and that was written well. I’ll always be grateful to this book for that. Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. I hope you like Queens of Geek as much as I did!

      Liked by 1 person

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