Pride Reads: “Queens of Geek” by Jen Wilde
A fun and fluffy romance, Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde has enough pop culture references to set your nerdy heart ablaze. With my goal to only read LGBTQ+ books this month and San Diego Comic-Con just a month away, it seemed like an appropriate time to read this book.
Queens of Geek is told in alternating points of view between friends Charlie – a vlogger turned actress whose breakout role in a zombie apocalypse film got her an invite to the world’s largest pop culture convention – and Taylor – a chubby fantasy super fan with social anxiety and a recent Asperger’s diagnosis. Each girl gets her own love story; Charlie, recently broken up with her jerk of a co-star, has a meet cute with a fellow vlogger, Alyssa, and the two have an instant connection. Taylor is struggling to make the leap from “best friends” to “more than friends” with their friend Jamie.
There is much that I loved about this book – the diversity in the cast, its portrayal of social anxiety, the way it addresses important topics like sexism in media and toxic relationships. In fact, a lot of the issues touched upon in this book are ones that I’ve not really seen addressed before. I very much appreciated Taylor’s explanation of her anxiety because yes, exactly, that’s what it feels like and it’s so refreshing to see such an accurate representation of how I feel on a daily basis. I also appreciate Charlie’s description of how she allowed herself to be drawn to her ex-boyfriend, Reese, despite the fact that he’s obviously a terrible person, because toxic relationships are a thing that happen and people need to be able to recognize them. And I loved how all the characters had a very “WHATEVER, I DO WHAT I WANT” attitude regarding other people’s opinions on their lives.
In essence, though, that was part of the problem with this book. Because yes, it does touch on extremely important, relevant issues: Taylor gets fatshamed at one point and Charlie recounts Reese’s dismissiveness of her bisexuality. However, it focused so much on being important that it sort of forgot to have a story. There is a lot of talking, a lot of speeches, and even though, wow, some of them were really good and I wish I took notes when reading so I could quote some of them, a lot of them felt very “yeah, that happened”. Basically any time a character is baring their soul – which happens frequently – everyone involved in the conversation cries. Crying is good! Crying is healthy! But everyone sobbing after someone talks about their anxiety is like stories on the internet where everyone claps after someone tells off a rude customer.
(Also, this is probably just me, but the convention that they’re at – SupaCon – is clearly supposed to be SDCC and the whole time I just couldn’t help thinking, “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.” Plus for a trio whose bucket list included attending this convention, they spent a lot of time in their hotel room.)
That said, I did enjoy the book quite a bit. It was cute and charming, and all the characters were extremely relatable, especially Taylor, because as a huge nerd who is fat and has social anxiety, this girl was like my Patronus. I’m never not going to enjoy a story where the fat, nerdy girl gets a romance, and Charlie and Alyssa were so adorably awkward with each other.
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde is published by Swoon Reads and is currently available wherever books are sold.
Don’t forget to check out my other Pride Reads!
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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