📚 Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Reviewed Mar. 2020

Narrator: Eileen Stevens, Tristan Morris
Length: 10 hours 32 minutes
Series: Once Upon a Con Series, Book 1
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.⎮2017

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Summary

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?

Part-romance, part-love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

The Audiobookworm's Review

Rating: 4.5 Stars

I discovered Geekerella at the perfect time in my life. I was in the middle of a mild listening slump, having recently heard several great, but intense thrillers. I needed something lighthearted and fun to break that pattern (and destress!). I don't typically hear a lot of Young Adult fiction anymore. After overdosing on it a few years back, I now approach the genre with more caution and moderation. However, it had been a while since I had heard any YA and I thought it just might be the thing to lift my spirits and break my slump.

It also didn't hurt that I'm currently binge watching any and all Star Trek shows on Netflix, as well as the newest addition, Star Trek: Picard. I missed the original (and then five subsequent) Star Trek fan boats, so I'm definitely late to this SciFi party/convention, but I'm trying to make up for that with enthusiasm.

To be clear, Geekerella isn't directly related to the Star Trek fan base, but it's certainly adjacent. Instead of Star Trek, this story follows a lifelong fangirl of "Starfield", a fictional Star Trek-esque show. If it weren't for the frequent Star Trek references, I'd think that Starfield was a thinly veiled disguise for it. Instead, the two exist alongside each other in this fictional world.

I was initially pulled into Geekerella by the SciFi fangirl-ness of it all, but wound up being pleasantly surprised by the Cinderella retelling. I've heard several retellings, but I've never heard one quite like this. If it hadn't incorporated the geek/SciFi/ComiCon elements and had only been marketed as a Cinderella retelling, I probably would have passed on it, since those are a dime a dozen these days.

As with most retellings, you can see the broad strokes drawn from the original fairytale. A "wicked" stepmother, two "evil" stepsisters, a mistreated stepdaughter named Elle, a pumpkin carriage, a fairy godmother, a ball, a prince, and a missing slipper. Ashley Poston checks all of those boxes, but it's in between those broad strokes that she weaves together her own story. The setting is contemporary, the stepmother is a snobby Country club member, the stepsisters are online influencer wannabes, the pumpkin carriage is a food truck, the prince is a teen actor, the fairy godmother is a teal-haired LGBT character (who drives the pumpkin food truck), and the rest is simply magical. Instead of Cinderella trying to get to a ball, our protagonist Elle is trying desperately to get to a SciFi convention.

Above all, Geekerella was just So. Freaking. Cute. The "geekification" of a classic fairytale is something I've never seen done before and I didn't realize how much I was longing for it until hearing Geekerella. I will undoubtedly be continuing on with the series. I believe the next one is a retelling of The Prince and the Pauper centered around a minor Geekerella character. Whatever it is, I'm here for it.

Narration review: Eileen Stevens knocked this audiobook out of the park. She was one of two narrators, with Tristan Morris being her counter, but Stevens' performance is the one that stood out most to me. Her character differentiation was subtle, but effective. I could always understand which of the two stepsisters was speaking, even though they initially appear to be of the same temperament. Even after that was proven to not be the case, the distinction was slightly enhanced, but not overly done. I definitely appreciated the dual narration for the alternating POVs. It added dimension to the story that would not have otherwise been available if reading the traditional format.

Overall, this audiobook was a wonderful listening experience and I recommend it to anyone interested in this title or series. I will certainly be continuing the series on audio. ♣︎

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