I’m forever observing, trying to learn how to be an adult human being by watching others, and I’m constantly in awe of how easy some people make it look.
In continuing with my new love of “love stories at conventions,” as well as pride reads for June, I picked up a copy of Queens of Con! What I didn’t expect was a book by an Australian author, nor for one of the lead characters to be autistic. These were obviously nice bonuses.
Queens of Geek
By Jen Wilde
Published Date: March 2017
Read Date: June 2019
Genre: YA Romance, Convention love stories, own voices, LGBTQIA
Page Count: 262 Pages
Rating: 3.5/5 Moose
Charlie has become famous because of her vlog, leading to some movie roles. Because of this, she is able to take her two best friends to a comic con in the United States, where they are all considering moving to next year for college. It would be a good way to explore the city, right? Unfortunately for her, she didn’t plan for her ex to show up, especially as she meets the vlogger she’s had a crush on for years. Who maybe feels the same way?
Taylor is just as excited about attending the con thanks to Taylor. She’s excited at the chance to meet her favorite author and idol, and to spend time with her best friends (one of which is her best guy friend Jamie. Who she maybe has a crush on. Who definitely maybe has a crush on her too.)
Taylor – a senior in high school from Australia, visiting American for her first convention
Charlie – a senior in high school with a popular vlog, and a recent star in an indie zombie flick
Jamie – a senior in high school originally from American but living in Australia.
Rants, Raves, and Reviews
I definitely have a weakness for convention based stories. Maybe I can work a murder mystery into one of them. Still, this book probably popped up on my radar because of that, and similar to how I feel about boarding school books, I’ll always give them a shot. If you haven’t been to a convention, they’re overwhelming. There are so many people, and usually too many things for you to try and do. I’ve lost massive amounts of sleep because of conventions, I’ve had panic attacks, I’ve been fortunate enough to have great friends who don’t smack me when I get super anxious at conventions.
Despite ALL that, I love them. I have yet to have a bad experience at one, whether it is aviation related, book related, or a comic con. I’ve even worked retail at a comic con, and that was still a joyous experience. So when I find books that want to show that to the world, I am here for it.
Basically, conventions are for everyone to find someone else they can go “no way, you too!?” and aren’t grounds for gate keeping.
I enjoyed this book overall, though I felt like it was missing something. It isn’t a bad book, just average. Part of me wondered if the convention backdrop was removed, would I enjoy it as much? And I am still not sure of my answer.
Still, what had me going with this book was definitely Taylor. It is her first convention, she’s with her two best friends, and she has the potential chance of meeting her hero. What we aren’t told or beaten over the head from page one is that she is autistic. We find this out when she meets a comic creator on artist row who has a comic with a lead character who is autistic. Now, that is not to say this is some super shocking twist. I know several people who have different forms of autism, and Taylor’s actions and anxiety aren’t hard to understand if you’ve spent any time with someone with autism. But the treatment of it as something that is so natural is absolutely amazing.
And why does this happen? Because it’s an “own voices” book. The author is actually autistic (and queer! So double the “own voices”!) so of course it isn’t some BIG REVEAL. It doesn’t need to be. This alone is what made me enjoy this book, honestly. Well, this and how her friends treat her so normal throughout it all. They’re constantly patient, they don’t hold anything against her, but they also don’t treat her with kid’s gloves. If for anything, this book is worth reading for that. If anything, an autistic kid needs to see themselves in a book where they’re treated absolutely normal and find love. Plus, everything that makes her anxious is normal. Who wasn’t freaking out about college and what that would do to their high school friendships and relationships?
It’s not my job to convince others of who I am. My only job is to BE who I am. All I can do is find what makes me happy, and live it.
The rest of the book is a fairly normal YA romance book, with fandoms thrown in. Charlie’s storyline is fun — two famous vloggers crushing on each other, where will it lead! Especially as she deals with an asshole ex-boyfriend who happens to be a famous movie star. I am glad there wasn’t a subplot of the studio or her manager plotting to make her seem more mainstream or hetero, but instead a lot of her conflict is from her own internal issues.
Me. The geek girl from the suburbs of Melbourne. The youngest daughter of Chinese immigrants. The only openly bi kid at school. The drama freak who makes vlogs in her bedroom.
I’m the hero.
This book is hella diverse but doesn’t feel showy about it at all. It’s a quick read, it is light, and if you are looking for a good, easy YA romance, I recommend it. It won’t shatter anyone’s world, I don’t think, but it will make you feel good. And if you are like me who cries at happy endings — it’ll do that to you too.