Once Upon a Con, Book 1
By Ashley Poston
Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.
Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.
All the stars in the cosmos for the amazing amount of GEEK packed into this! I was living for it!! That… and Sage ♡ Why doesn’t she get more attention around here anyways? Sage was the highlight of the book: strong, loyal, funny, and an awesome lgbtqia+ rep!
“We’re all geeks here”
AND that’s about it!
Ha… okay, maybe I have some venting to do about the rest. WARNING unpopular opinions ahead!
The main romance was… meh? I don’t know. I’m definitely in the minority, but it was only a subpar Cinderella fairytale retelling imo. Ella was annoying, then I loved her, then I was back to hating on her until I ultimately didn’t care… she strikes me as one of the weakest Cinderella’s I’ve encountered. Darien was actually fine as Prince Charming but I was bored having to follow him in every. other. chapter. I get that celebrity=royalty in a contemporary, so this is a “It’s not you, it’s me” issue but I would have preferred him as the popular jock/secret geek trope instead.
It took 60% of the book before I wasn’t going to put it on my DNF shelf. It’s no surprise that I didn’t care about the “relationship” between Ella and Darien. This is not because I think someone cannot find meaningful relationship(s) across LTE/WiFi (quite the opposite actually). However, I was not convinced by the back and forth superficial short messages presented in the book. (I’m saying this while having the ability to recite every line from You’ve Got Mail by heart, so yes I love the mystery pen pal to lovers trope. It just has to be done well.)
Audiobook Performance: ★★½ ➙ Do your ears a favor and just skip it! I shouldn’t have to listen at 3x… no one naturally pauses between every. single. sentence.
Once Upon a Con:
Book 2: The Princess and the Fangirl (2019)