Backlist Briefs – Mini Reviews for I STOP SOMEWHERE and GEEKERELLA
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 27, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.
Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn't need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.
But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn't the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.
The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.
T.E. Carter’s I Stop Somewhere is a stark, raw, and heart wrenching story about a teenager named Ellie Frias, who finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. Not only is Ellie unable to escape, she is forced to watch many other girls be victimized as she was because her attackers are serial rapists. As she waits for someone to find her, Ellie resorts to using her memories as a way to cope with not only what she has gone through, but what she is forced to witness each time her attackers find a new victim.
What I found so interesting about this book is that even though there’s clearly a crime, there’s no mystery here to solve. Because we’re seeing everything unfold through the eyes of the victim, we know exactly who the perpetrators are. The only questions here are will they be punished for their crimes and will the victims get justice, which is where the crux of Carter’s narrative lies. I Stop Somewhere points out some ugly truths about rape culture and misogyny, victim blaming in particular, and it also exposes how wealth and privilege mean more to some than making sure justice is served.
The most powerful aspect of I Stop Somewhere, however, is actually not its exploration of these dark themes. Instead, it’s the look inside of Ellie’s mind that we are given. As we watch the events of the present unfold through Ellie’s eyes, we also take an intimate look at her life as she reflects on all of her hopes and dreams, regrets, as well as any and all choices that she has made throughout her life that have led to her current situation. I found myself in tears a few times while reading Ellie’s thoughts because all she wanted was to be loved. It’s a heartbreaking look at just how fragile and vulnerable a teenage girl’s esteem can be and how there are monsters out there who prey on that vulnerability.
I Stop Somewhere is, by no means, an easy book to read. There were times when I had to set it aside because it just had me too upset to continue. I went back and forth between being heartbroken about everything that happened to Ellie and being absolutely furious about how law enforcement and the justice system were treating the victims. It’s an emotional draining read at times, but one that I would highly recommend. 5 STARS
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Series: Starfield #1
Published by Quirk Books on April 4, 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction 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 has ever wanted, but 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. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?
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.
As you can probably surmise from the title, Ashley Poston’s Geekerella is a retelling of the classic Cinderella fairytale. What I loved most about this story is that although it clearly retained lots of awesome shout-outs to the original tale – the evil stepmother and stepsisters, the pumpkin coach, the dance, the slipper, and so much more – it was still a completely unique, fun, and quirky contemporary tale in its own right.
I liked the spin the author put on the Cinderella tale here because not only do we get Cinderella’s side of the story, as we would expect, but Poston also delivers Prince Charming’s side of the story as well. Our Cinderella in this story is a teenager named Elle. Her parents are dead so she is living with her stepmother and stepsisters. Elle is a geek at heart and a diehard fan of the cult classic sci-fi show Starfield. When she learns there is going to be a cosplay contest as part of a promotion for a new Starfield movie, Elle can’t resist entering, especially since the prize is a trip to the fan convention, ExcelsiCon (that her father founded). Our Prince Charming in Geekerella is Darien, a popular actor who has been cast to play the lead in the new Starfield movie. We learn that even though he’s a teen heartthrob and has fangirls practically throwing themselves at his feet, he’s also a super geek and diehard Starfield fan as well. Playing the lead in this film is a dream come true for him.
Even though I’m not a big romance reader, I thought the budding romance in Geekerella was super cute. I thought it was hilarious that Elle absolutely hated Darien’s guts in the beginning and thought he was the worst possible choice to play the lead in the movie. Darien kind of brings this on himself because he has kept his fanboy life a secret, but it’s great fun watching their relationship unfold and develop from that initial misunderstanding.
My absolute favorite part of the book though was the way the author writes about the Starfield fandom. She does such an amazing job that I was practically convinced that there really was such a fandom. And I wanted there to be such a fandom – I wanted to watch the TV show, get dressed up and go to the ExcelsiCon. I thought she just did such a brilliant job capturing the excitement of being a part of a fandom, particularly her descriptions of the cosplaying and going to cons. If you’re looking for a book that will bring out your own inner geek, definitely consider reading Geekerella. It’s one of the cutest and quirkiest retellings I’ve read in a long time. 4 STARS