A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Charleston, South Carolina, points of interest and geography are mentioned. Some discussion of "whitewashing" characters of color in big-budget movies.
Follow your heart. Keep your loved ones in your heart and mind; their love will see you through tough times. You're never as alone as you feel; sometimes you have to reach out to find a supportive community. Learn to trust in others and let them help you. Sometimes you have to take a big risk to get what you want.
Positive Role Models
Elle's a sweet, smart girl. She works hard to find her way out of her soul-crushing circumstances. Darien's a good kid who is lost in the world of celebrity. He, too, digs deep to take control of his life. Sage is a funny, trustworthy friend to Elle. Gail and Lonny care for and support Darien. Elle's late dad was a great parent who gave her memories of love and unquestioning support, which see her through tough times.
Violence & Scariness
A fan rushes a teen idol to kiss him, knocks him over, and injures him slightly. Elle's stepmother and stepsisters are emotionally abusive and cruel to her. Her stepmother grabs her and drags her out of bed in one scene and slaps her in another. One character gets hit in the face with a door accidentally, which results in a bloody nose. A neglected dog lives next door to Elle.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of romantic longing. Descriptions of nice bodies, long legs, and overall attractiveness. A few mildly sexually suggestive jokes, plus flirting. Characters see people making out, but it isn't graphically described. A few chaste kisses.
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Infrequent swearing, including "God," "a--hole," "s--t," "balls," "d--k," "butt," and one use of "frak" instead of "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Portrays characters who are social climbers and want to be famous on social media, so many references to celebrities, tabloids, fashion magazines, media outlets, and social media platforms. Because the plot centers on a fictional version of Comic-Con, many superheroes, comics, movie franchises, and stars are mentioned. Products mentioned include Mazda Miata, Advil, Burberry, BlackBerry, Orange Crush, and BMW.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Geekerella is light romance based on "Cinderella." In this modern retelling of the classic fairy tale, the action is set against the big-screen adaptation of a cult sci-fi television show, Starfield. Ella blogs about the show and isn't happy with the movie casting. The male lead, Darien, is misunderstood by the girls who swoon over him and by the hard-core show fans who don't think he can deliver in the role. Elle's life is crushed under the cruelty dished out by her stepmother and stepsisters, and Darien's cold, hard-driving manager dad makes his life rough. The connection between Elle and her "prince" is based on their feelings of isolation. The story is generally light, with some emotional cruelty and a few scenes of rough grabbing and slapping. There's no smoking, alcohol, or drug use, and swearing is infrequent ("a--hole," "s--t," "d--k). It's a good choice for kids who like escapist romance and the geek culture of sci-fi and comics. There's some discussion of Hollywood's "whitewashing" of characters of color on the big screen, and a gay romance blossoms between secondary characters.
Is It Any Good?
This cute, modern update of the "Cinderella" fairy tale is a fun romp for lovers of light YA romance. Geekerella humorously captures the battle between the fandom of cult sci-fi shows and the newbies who jump on the big-screen reboot bandwagon. Author Ashley Poston accurately depicts the anger and sadness hard-core fans experience when their beloved, quirky shows hit the mainstream. The chapters alternate narration between Elle and Darien. The approach works well because it gives the readers good insight into the interior lives of each, both of whom are sad and lonely and feel they don't fit in. Elle's connection to her late father through the show Starfield is bittersweet, and Darien's desire to have his dad be a real dad rather than a pushy manager is heartbreaking.
The action is fast-paced and entertaining though predictable, given that most readers know the story of "Cinderella" pretty well. Because of the predictability, some of the supposedly suspenseful plot points feel forced. The awfulness Elle faces at home is hard to read at times, but it makes you cheer all the more for her at the end.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.