Review: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Queens of Geek is the story of three Australian teens: Charlie, Taylor and Jamie, who travel across the world to attend SupaCon. Charlie is a Youtuber with 3 million subscribers, and she’s recently starred in a movie that everyone is obsessed with even though it’s only recently been released (so I’m a little confused by the timeline of this). Taylor has Aspergers but is conquering her anxiety so she can meet the author of her favourite book series. And Jamie’s basically just along for the ride so that Taylor can have some sort of love story.

I don’t want to say I have a problem with YA contempora

ries because that’s a sweeping statement and certainly not true, but quite a few ‘hyped’ books have severely disappointed me recently. And you know what aspect of the stories is letting me down? THE WRITING.

I honestly don’t want to get super negative, because it’s clear that Queens of Geek was Jen Wilde’s passion project but for me, the diversity was heavy-handed, the pacing was off, and the dialogue was really cringey and unrealistic. It felt like this book was trying to do too much.

The characters would lecture each other about intersectional feminism, handling anxiety, consensual sex, autism, leaving home, whether or not to go to university, being bisexual, slut shaming and body shaming (yep, all of these issues were talked about) even though everyone was on the same page with it anyway? They didn’t feel like real conversations the characters would be having, but rather conversations the author wanted the reader to contemplate. But the actually effect was that because it was trying to do ALL of them, none of them were done well. It was a classic case of spreading out too thin, resulting in everything being bad. If just two or three of these things had been the main focus then that would’ve been plenty, especially for a book under 300 pages.

But my main issue was suspension of disbelief:
1. I was ejected from the story the minute Charlie, who has 3 millionsubs, was acting as if no one knew her name. I’m sorry, but this is the kind of number where you’d be pulled over on the street to take pictures with your subscribers.

2. One part of the plot relies on Charlie not uploading a video, and instead asking her manager to upload it for her. The manager then uploads a different video which has some…consequences. HOW CAN YOU ULPOAD THE WRONG VIDEO? Charlie would have had to export only one video, turning it into a file that would probably save on her desktop?? But instead the manager goes into her editing software, exports clearly unedited footage (which would probably be like 40 minutes long and would take a long time on hotel wifi anyway so the consequences wouldn’t be as immediate as they are in the book), and then upload it to Youtube. She’d be waiting half a day if she had to export, upload and process herself! NO. The logical thing would’ve been for Charlie to upload and use the scheduling option for her own video. Does Charlie know how to Youtube???

I know, this is really nit-picking, but you can’t just jump hoops to make your logic work. This was stupid and contrived. I really dislike when things this are skipped over, because it just wouldn’t happen.

3. Taylor’s tumblr posts were never tagged with #personal, which is just completely unrealistic. Again, it’s a small thing, but show a lack of research. I’ve never seen someone use tumblr as an actual blog before all ‘Hi guys, so this is what I’m currently doing…’ Wouldn’t twitter have worked better for this kind of update?

So, that was a sort of rant, I guess. The only thing I’d ever heard anyone say about this was how ‘cute’ it was and that’s totally fine. But I’m not the kind of reader that just reads ‘for fun.’ Studying creative writing at uni and reading a ton of YA has resulted in my being highly critical (and probably a bit salty). We all get something different out of reading, and this book might have helped you with your own identity, but for me, it was very laboured and tried too hard to tick all the boxes, which didn’t make a successful story.

If you’re looking for a glowing review, I’d recommend Natalie’s. She goes into more detail about what good rep this book has, and picks up some issues it talks about that I didn’t mention. (Even though, do we really need more??)
And if you want to see a more balanced review, then check out Cait’sbecause she makes some really good points about how unnatural the speech is, but again comments on how good the diversity is.

Review: Dreadnought by April Daniels

30279514Dreadnought by April Daniels
Genre: Adventure, LGBT+
Publisher: Diversion Publishers
Pages: 276
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★★
Note: We received this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

So, we’d heard a few good things about this book on Goodreads from reviewers that were getting early copies, which is also a good sign!  Dreadnought is the story of Daniel who wants more than anything to have a body that reflects how she feels inside. Then he witnesses the death of major superhero, Dreadnought, and his powers are transferred to Daniel who’s body transforms so she can start living as Danielle!

Continue reading “Review: Dreadnought by April Daniels”

Review: Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

30525432Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley
Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: HQ
Pages: 384
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★

I don’t even know how to put into words how disappointed I am with this one. It just…fell flat. The setting did nothing to enhance the story (and was void of any kind of adult supervision, which was unrealistic for the type of trip they’re on), the social activist thread came way too late in the story for me to be convinced it was Aki’s passion, her hidden backstory with the music school was over emphasised and came to nothing, there was so much unnecessary drama based on lying about stupid things.

Continue reading “Review: Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley”

Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

29470648If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, LGBT+
Published by: Usborne
Pages: 290
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★

I was so desperate to read this book and I have been ever since it came out, but it was just one of those things where it was on a deal at Waterstones (buy one get one half price) and there wasn’t another book that I wanted! By the time there was If I Was Your Girl had been taken out of the offer, and I resolved that I’d have to find it in a library somewhere. THEN the next round of Zoella’s Book Club was announced and you’ll never guess which was the first book on the list?! And because I bought it when it was the featured book, it was half price! So sometimes waiting for the deals really does pay off! So, I’ve been hyped about this book for a really long time and I’m so happy I’ve finally got to read it because I LOVED it.

Continue reading “Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo”

Review: The Last Beginning by Lauren James

24550848The Last Beginning by Lauren James
Sci-fi, Romance
Published by: 
Walker Books
Pages: 344
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★.5

The highly anticipated sequel to The Next Together is finally in my grasp! I’ve been looking forward to these time travelling lesbians since I heard the prologue of the book at Lauren and Alice Oseman’s joint signing event in April, and I can say, definitely, that the rest was well worth waiting for! What specifically, you ask? Well…

Continue reading “Review: The Last Beginning by Lauren James”

Review: George by Alex Gino

28213561George by Alex Gino
Contemporary, LGBT+
Published by: Scholastic Children’s Books
Pages: 215
Format: Hardback
Rating: ★★★★

Another book with a LGBT protagonist! Yippee! I’ve really been seeking them out lately and I’m so pleased that everyone’s voices can be heard in Middle Grade and YA fiction.

For a short book, this one packs a might punch, so let’s go!  Continue reading “Review: George by Alex Gino”

Review: Read Me Like A Book by Liz Kessler

25534237Read Me Like A Book by Liz Kessler
Published by: Orion Children’s Books
Pages: 304
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★★★

I was given a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

P  L  O  T
Ash is in a few tricky situations. Not only are her parents splitting up for good, and she’s wondering if she really likes her boyfriend, but she’s also started having feelings for her teacher, Miss Murray. Confused by her identity and family situation, Ash has to really figure out what would make her truly happy.  Continue reading “Review: Read Me Like A Book by Liz Kessler”

Review: Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

19547856Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 
Genre: LGBT+, Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Penguin
Pages: 303
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Author | Amazon

A while ago, I picked up this book because it had an interesting cover, an interesting blurb, and BookTube couldn’t stop talking about it. I was in the mood for a contemporary romance, and choosing Simon’s story was the best decision ever. Here are a few reasons to love this book, because, as you can see, my rating wasn’t less than perfect! Continue reading “Review: Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli”