Hello everyone, and welcome back!
This year, I told myself I would challenge myself to read less books, but longer ones. The problem I have found so far with that is that sometimes, I get really busy and I only feel like I have time to read and review a short book.
Oops. I’ll have to work harder on that next month. (On the bright side, at least I’m keeping up with my number-of-books goal now?)
The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
This is one of those covers that feels like it was created based on the pitch of the book vs. like…the actual content of the book. The details are pretty off? But it is colourful and geeky and it gets at the spirit of it, so there’s that.
This is another book along the lines of Queens of Geek, but with only the one protagonist: Graham is headed to New York Comic Con, and he’s determined that now is the time that he can confess his feelings to his best friend, Roxana, only something always keeps getting in the way.
This book has a really typical kind of plot and at first, it does play out really typically. The protagonist pines, he thinks of ridiculous grand gestures to do, and he ends up putting so much pressure on the gesture and the moment that it feels like it would be overwhelming to anyone who doesn’t already “love” him back. And we don’t really get any insight into the mind and character of Roxy, other than the nerdiness that makes Graham love her, so we don’t know how she’ll respond…so it continues on feeling a little eh, because we don’t know if she wants this gesture or if he’s even thought about the way it’ll affect their friendship—and creative partnership (they write a comic together).
But the plot actually diverts in a different way than you’d expect, which was something I appreciated, and the protagonist rolls with it, so I ended up kind of pleasantly surprised by the book rather than feeling an epic eye-roll towards this guy who wouldn’t just use his words. (Some people really need to read some Captain Awkward.)
I still don’t really love its treatment of Roxana, since she has a lot of pressure put on her to be this perfect love interest and we really don’t get to know her outside of that. But it’s something the protagonist kind of acknowledges (that he’s set up a whole narrative in his head, and life isn’t like that), which helps a little? This book is also clearly committed to being a diverse one, which is nice but…doesn’t really do anything in the story, which is kind of too bad. (Also, it’s a book with diverse characters that chooses to focus solely on the white straight male lead, which is fine but not interesting.)
In any case, this is a quick read and I do feel like if it had been more developed, I might have quite liked it? So I’m open to the idea of reading this author again in future. But as is, it introduces quite a big cast of characters (the protagonist, his best friend, their parents and siblings, their other best friends, two people they meet at the con, etc.) and doesn’t really spend much time with any of them. So it’s really just a series of events from the perspective of the protagonist, but at least he turns out to be more likeable than he initially appears? (I kind of can’t stand the rom-com thing where boys/men try to make themselves “deserve” to “get” the girl using a series of grand gestures, but I feel like this book resists that idea in some ways—the gestures fall through and so on.)
This book is an okay quick read if you’re looking for one of those types of geeky contemporary romances; it doesn’t really have the character depth of Queens of Geek, but the conflicts in that book felt so contrived and shoehorned in (and lengthily angsted about by the characters) that I really had trouble enjoying that book as much as others did. I’d still lean towards recommending Geekerella for something pretty dang cute framed around a con, or maybe Eliza and Her Monsters for something with max fandom immersion. (That book made me really interested in the fictional series within it; this one didn’t get that much into it.)
Do you have any favourite fandom romances or other geeky books? Let me know (I’m obviously trying to catch ’em all to choose my starter), and I’ll speak to you again soon!