Hello beautiful! This book has come highly recommended to me by several friends, both online and in person. I liked the premise (even if the name annoys me to no end) and was excited to find it at a local used book store for under $5.
Without further ado, here’s my review!
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
I think Poston did a pretty good job fleshing out our MCs in this one. Elle is relatable in several ways, from her involvement in the fan community to the way she thinks. We are shown her thought process and the way her abuse and childhood have shaped her anxiety and self-worth. Her mourning of her father and longing for a connection with him feel real.
Darien is a little bit more difficult to connect with because he’s a celebrity. Poston worked hard, though, to show his human side, and the struggles he has, while simultaneously working in some of the ego and negative traits that come from his social status. His desire to have a true, real friend resonates with me as a reader because it’s something I long for as well. While I may not be faced with friends using me for fame, I do know how easy it is to feel alone in this world.
I think that’s part of what made this cheesy romance so relatable for me. Both characters are lonely and struggle to find a place where they belong. Their individual anxieties manifest in a way many of us experience: a sense that they are completely alone in this world. With Elle, we also see the illusion that we are undeserving of real love and affection. As the story progresses, we see, through the characters’ eyes, that these ideas are lies and we are worthy of love and are not alone.
For being a cheesy contemporary romance, this book and its characters really struck a chord with me emotionally.
The plot of this story adheres to the original Cinderella pretty strictly, which, for some, is a downside. Retellings are supposed to have a twist, aren’t they? Usually, I would agree, but this novel had other elements that made it unique from our classic Cinderella tale. Since it was a contemporary retelling, the story was more relatable for readers in several ways. The abusive situation Elle (the MC) lives in is realistic, as is her reaction. Many people complain that Cinderella was too complacent in the original, that she was just waiting for her prince to come save her. In this story, Elle is not just being subservient, she is trying to stay alive. She continues to work and slave away for her stepmother because she knows things will just get worse if she doesn’t. She also makes her own decisions and does stand up for herself on occasion, and we see her stepmom retaliating. As soon as she is a legal adult, though, she saves herself and gets out of that situation. Until that moment, she did not have much of a choice, and the abuse she was faced with lead her to believe that she did not deserve any better.
I also loved the fandom sides of the story, and the setting. I live in South Carolina, and visit the area Elle lives in fairly frequently. I really enjoyed seeing the author mention places I have been to and love, especially since South Carolina is not a common setting for books. The fan side of this story was told fairly well, in my opinion. I know a lot of people struggle with books like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl for giving an inaccurate representation of fandom. I think this book did the opposite of that. It gives readers a fairly realistic sense of what it’s like to love a story so much it’s a major part of your life, to meet others who share that love, and to interact with people who are fans of other series or movies as well.
The romance, while not my favorite that I’ve ever read, was fairly believable. The love interests actually had normal conversations and reasons to fall for one another. Elle and Darien had several things in common and shared experiences that they could use to build a relationship. It did have a bit of a fairytale I-love-you-after-only-knowing-you-a-month element, but at least they didn’t just meet and fall in love at the ball. I also appreciated Darien’s comment about falling in love slowly from talking to Elle, rather than seeing her at the ball and going head-over-heels.
Readability and Writing Style
This is my main point of contention with this book. Almost everything I’ve said before this has been positive.
The writing style is very average, and it takes away, at times, from the plot or connection with characters. The story is only 315 pages long, but those 315 pages feature a myriad of typos and odd sentence structures. At times I had no idea what Poston was trying to say, and it seemed like she just… forgot to type certain words. I’m pretty sure she left words out on accident, and I had to guess what was missing. At this point, I don’t even know if she had an editor.
I also think that her writing sometimes made what were meant to be meaningful scenes or lines feel very cheesy or trite. One particular climactic moment fell flat for me because her attempt to write an empowering line came across as silly or trope-y. The writing felt very surface-level, even though I found the story to be more emotionally deep than I expected.
This was, overall, a pretty clean story. One of the characters used the word sh*t several times, mostly when upset, and I think someone else may have said b*tch too. There were a few kisses, but the author did not go into a ton of detail.
The story does deal with abuse and several very nasty characters, mainly the stepmother and one of the stepsisters. At one point, Elle is hit by the stepmother. If this sort of violence bothers you or brings up unwanted memories, please be careful reading this book. Stay safe ♥️
In the end, this story had a lot of common tropes and average writing, but I enjoyed it more than most contemporary romances, and it had several arcs that resonated with me emotionally. I also was ridiculously happy to discover a book set about an hour away from my hometown, so that alone was enough to bump it from three stars (my typical rating for this kind of story) to four stars for me.
Have you read this story? What did you think? Do you agree with my rating? Let me know in the comments 🙂
Have an adventurous day!