QUEENS OF GEEK by Jen Wilde is a Y/A romance focusing on three teen Aussie nerds attending a massive U.S. con. Taylor is overweight, Asperger’s and suffering acute social anxiety but desperate to meet the author the Queen Firestone fantasy series (which has a devoted Harry Potter-like fandom); Charlotte is bi, Chinese-Australian, a vlogger and there to promote her breakout film; Jamie is Latino and in love with Taylor, who feels the same but can’t read his feelings and is nervous to express herself. Will they finally get together? Will Taylor meet the author? Will Charlie start a new romance with another female vlogger or will her obnoxious co-star and ex-boyfriend throw a spanner in the works?
As I’m long past 18, it’s pleasantly surprising how enjoyable a lot of this was. Wilde also does a great job conveying what social anxiety is like and capturing the feeling of being totally, utterly in love with a book or series (which makes it surprising that Tay’s description of the books comes off very bland). On the downside, this is really lacking in conflict; several problems I was anticipating never arose, and while the book acknowledges fat-shaming, cyberbullying and crazy fan behavior, almost everyone we actually meet is incredibly nice (Skyler, the Firestone author, reacts to Taylor like she’s just met her new best friend). While I’m happy to have an overweight lead who’s not being fat-shamed, it still feels there needed to be more of a challenge that the girls’ own insecurities.
SANDMAN: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman and various artists is a good follow-up to Volume One. We meet Dream’s sister Death, visit a serial killer’s convention, catch up on various runaway dream-entities and learn how the Bronze Age Sandman fits into Gaiman’s mythos (it’s clever, though I blame the story, perhaps unfairly, for rendering Roy Thomas’ character Lyta Trevor useless). Weaving through it all is Rose Walker, a young woman searching for a lost relative, stumbling into danger and ultimately having closer ties to Morpheus than either realizes. A pleasure to reread.
#SFWApro. Art by Dave McKean, all rights remain with current holder.