Review: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

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Anything can happen once upon a con…

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Let me first start out by saying, Disney’s Cinderella isn’t my favourite. I enjoyed it, but it was no Beauty and the Beast, or Aladdin.

That said, for some reason Cinderella retellings are my weak spot. A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff—yes please! Ever After with Drew Barrymore—LOVE! Cinder by Marissa Meyer—absolute favourite! Cinderella Live Action with Lily James—be still my beating heart!

So, yeah. I was kind of excited for Geekerella.

And I got through it in around 24 hours. With two little ones to look after that’s no easy thing.

Ashley Poston writing really draws you in. Told from alternating the POVs of Elle and Darien, the story unfolds to a deliciously addictive romance. Both characters are so full and imagined it was easy to work out who was who even without the chapter headings, and I fell for them both instantly.

This story uses the ‘anonymous text’ storyline where the downtrodden girl doesn’t realise she’s actually texting a heartthrob movie star. It may be an overused plot device but I still seriously love it. And when it’s as well-executed as in Geekerella, it helps to propel the story forward.

The chemistry was all there. The giddy kind that pulls a smile onto your face and makes you feel what the characters are feeling. And while Elle and Darien totally stole my heart, this book wouldn’t be what it is without the subplots and side characters.

Firstly, Sage. I heart her so much. Literally every scene with her in it was a joy to read—she was one hell of a fairy godmother. Jess, Darien’s co-star was fantastic, and the Frank the dog was described so perfectly I could have reached through the pages and scratched that chubby puppy’s head.

Then there was Starfield. I love books about fandoms because they throw me back to my teen years, scouring the Harry Potter forums and writing (bad) fanfiction. I felt all that and more through Elle’s passionate love for the cult series, and how it united her with her father, and later, with her fellow cosplayers at ExcelsiCon.

And, while a separate note to the writing, the quality of this paperback was off the charts. Thick paper, and a gorgeous cover. When you pick up a thin book with a bit of heft to it, you know the book is worth the money.

I would rec this book to anyone in an instant. You like a bit of cute romance? Geekerella. You like Cinderella? Geekerella. You like quirky characters? Geekerella. Books with fandoms? GEEKERELLA.

Do yourself a favour.

AOaR_5star (3)

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Heather is rep’d by Carrie Howland of Empire Literary 

Anything but cleaning

Here at AOR this month we’re talking spring cleaning. This would not count in my top… billion… fun past times. Although I do love a clean house/workspace.

Instead I present to you, 5 things to do instead of clean:

  1. READ – this one might be obvious but I’d hate for it to get lost. Think of all the pages to be read instead of bathroom tiles scrubbed
  2. Buy books – this helps with point 1 but might actually add to the mess (e-books?).
  3. Write a story – I know I’m struggling with my story when I clean instead of writing (then it can help clear my head and make me wish I was writing)
  4. Order your bookshelf – this is like cleaning, I admit but it’s fun and you could happily get side-tracked by a fave book
  5. Meet a friend and talk books – this gets you away from the mess and has a fun social element that’s good for your soul

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Anyone else got a good way to avoid cleaning?

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

AO&R turns one and speaks to … Melissa Keil

She was the very first winner of the Ampersand Project, Hardie Grant Egmont’s fantastic opportunity for unpublished writers of YA. Her debut novel, Life In Outer Space, absolutely captured my heart and I believe provided a great insight into Australian school culture and a young teenage boy’s mind. Without further ado, I give you Melissa Keil!

Melissa KeilGive us a brief guide to your publishing story.
I had been working with my writing group on what was then called The Camilla Carter Project for about a year, and I was at the point where I felt that the draft was in the best shape I knew it could be. But I was still planning on sitting on in and tinkering, mainly because the idea of sending it out into the world was far too daunting to contemplate. Some people in my writing group had heard about the Ampersand project, and they encouraged me to send in the manuscript. With a bit of cajoling from them and my beta reader, I submitted it, not really expecting anything but a polite rejection letter (as I don’t know many writers whose first novels have been accepted by their first choice of publisher). But I got incredibly lucky, in that it landed on the right desk at the right time, and found its way into the hands of some people who just ‘got’ it. I can never discount how much luck and good timing played in the process!

What was it like, being the first project in this inaugural event? Were you nervous?
Extremely nervous! Coupled with all the usual first-novel anxieties, I knew the risks that Hardie Grant Egmont were taking in putting so much time and resources into an unknown author. But I also had an amazing, supportive publishing team behind Life in Outer Space, with lots of (much needed) hand-holding along the way. It always felt like a team effort; I think everyone involved was just as excited as me to see the book finally make it onto the shelves.

How did you find the editing process? Was it different or similar to what you expected?
My day job is as a children’s book editor, so I thought I knew exactly what to expect. What I wasn’t at all prepared for was how emotionally difficult the editorial process was going to be. I had lived with these characters for such a long time and knew their little world inside out, and it was much harder than I imagined to take a step backwards and view it with objective eyes. Luckily I had some very patient, collaborative editors who were willing to have conversations with me about everything from the big-picture themes, to single word choices and comma placement! As hard as it was at the time, I know that the final book is a thousand times better than the manuscript I submitted.

16119664Tell us about the highs; what did this book do that you never thought it could?
I still have a moment of disbelief every time I see Life in Outer Space on a bookstore shelf, so needless to say, everything that has happened since I received my letter of offer two years ago has been something of a high! The response to the book has been overwhelmingly positive, and the support that readers and reviewers and booksellers have given the Ampersand Project is just incredible. Being invited to various writers’ festivals, and speaking on panels alongside authors that I’ve admired for years has been fairly surreal. Finding US and German publishers, and receiving lovely kind words from the other side of the world has been insanely exciting. The biggest high, though, has been meeting and hearing from young readers who have connected with the book. Getting fan mail from kids who have loved Sam and Camilla and have taken the time to write to me still gives me an incredible buzz.

What Australian author do you most look up to and why?
There are far too many to count! As a YA writer (and reader), I think Melina Marchetta has had an incredible career, both in terms of the impact of her work and her ability to transcend the confines of any particular genre. As an editor, I’ve been fortunate to work with some fabulous Australian authors who I’ve leant a lot from – Sue Lawson, Carole Wilkinson and Karen Tayleur among others.

Want more from Melissa? Go out and buy Life In Outer Space today, check out her cool website or say hi on twitter

BUT WAIT! Do you like prizes?
To celebrate our first birthday, Aussie Owned and Read hosted a blog hop on Australia Day (check out the posts on our linky list here!). We also held a huge giveaway with a heap of great prizes that ends this week, so make sure you hop on over and enter today.
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Lauren (3)

Lauren K. McKellar is an author, editor, and expert interpretive dancer. Her second novel, The Problem With Crazy, is out February 13. Find out more here, or say hi to her on Facebook or twitter.