Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Continuing with this strain of LGBT+ YA fiction that I’ve been reviewing recently, we come to Queens of Geek, a story about three friends from Australia, a convention and a whole lot of romance and friendship.
I felt that the representation of one of the main characters – who is bisexual – was done really tastefully, and on the whole, it gave a really good message for a corner of the LGBT+ community that is often woefully misunderstood. As someone who also experiences romantic attraction for both men and women, I could totally 100% identify with Charlie (although, thankfully, not on the ‘shitty ex-boyfriend’ side of things).
Charlie is a vlogger and an actress, both things that always draw me into stories such as this. Jen Wilde has done a great job of showing the ‘dark side’ of YouTube fame, and fame in general – we see the screaming crowds, the obligations that stars feel when they are forced to hear their fans support their toxic relationships, and especially obligations put on celebrities to present themselves in a certain way for publicity.
The main plot of Queens of Geek centres around Charlie’s relationship with Alyssa Huntingdon, a fellow vlogger and actress, and the focus of a pretty massive crush on her side. Their interactions were funny, quirky and well thought out, and they are a couple I will continue to ship for years to come.
The other two central characters in the novel are Taylor and Jamie. Taylor is a shy, overweight fangirl with social anxiety and autism, and Jamie is a Hispanic American boy. These two. Oh. My. God. We get lots of Taylor’s inner thoughts expressed through her Tumblr posts, a medium which is close to my heart. And she is funny, insightful, and one of the best characters I have read for a while.
I hope we get another book which focuses on Taylor, or Taylor and Jamie moving forward from Queens of Geek. On the whole, although I liked Charlie, I much preferred Taylor’s character and her interactions with the world around her. Again, I’ve suffered from anxiety in the past, and I could empathise with her on a personal level.
We also get our villainous character in the form of Reese, Charlie’s ex, who basically symbolises everything I despise. He doesn’t believe that bisexual people exist, he cheated on Charlie multiple times in their relationship and complains when she says she doesn’t want him back. He’s rude to her friends and yet manages to portray a perfect persona in front of the cameras. My only complaint with this novel is that Charlie didn’t clock him one.
All in all, I gave this book a solid 5 star rating, and a lasting feeling that it was amazing, and will stick in my mind for quite a while. I recommend this to anyone who’s looking for excellent bisexual representation – or brilliant representation of race, anxiety and autism – or wants cute, fluffy romance to warm their heart.