The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love is a must read for any fan who’s ever attended a convention. This story really hit home for me because it takes place at my home con, New York Comic Con, over the period of Friday – Sunday. I thought because the story takes place at a convention I have been attending for years that I wouldn’t be able to put nitpicky things aside and enjoy the plot but Tash’s convention depiction is pure perfection. She got all of the little details right between methodically planning cosplay and your daily schedule, to avoiding people in larger than life costumes and even to the seating arrangements on the Long Island Rail Road. I even love how the cover photo is taken outside the Javits Center on 11th Ave because it makes it that much more authentic. One thing to note is that the diner Tash talks about outside the convention center on 11th Ave was recently closed and is being turned into a high rise building (but that happened after she would’ve already gone through the publishing process) and having eaten there myself I was so happy to see it included. (Side story: Funnily enough, the last time Andrew (who works for a structural engineering firm) and I walked past it, he said mark my words, that one story diner will never last to the end of this year. There’s so much wasted sky space and lo and behold, he was absolutely correct.) Also, I could not possibly have empathized more re: line drama UGH.
Even more important than the setting, Tash also captures the spirit of fandom and young love as told by our narrator Graham. Graham is the most endearing type of nerd and he’s been harboring a crush on his best friend in the whole world, Roxana. He decides that NYCC is the perfect place to tell her and he spends a huge chunk of his time daydreaming and planning about how he’ll make a grand enough gesture without potentially frightening her. I also have to note that Tash mentions the epic upside-down-in-the-rain Spider-Man kiss on page one so you can bet that I was hooked. Despite the geeky references and the goings on of NYCC, The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love tells a much bigger coming of age story that is not even the slightest bit overshadowed by the amount of pop culture it contains. I genuinely wish that John Hughes were still around so he could adapt this novel because I think many pop culture nerds would love to see this on screen. The supporting characters, Casey and Felicia were among my favorites in the story and if I have one complaint, it’s that I would’ve liked to have gotten to know Roxana a bit better because what I did learn about her, I really admired. (Although, I would also love to read a book from college Graham’s perspective. He really weaved his way into my heart!)
Final Thoughts: If The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenez Tash is not yet on your radar and you’ve ever been to and enjoyed a comic convention, you need to pick up this book immediately. It’s such a fun look at how pop culture brings people together and the entire time I was reading, I felt like I time traveled back to high school to hang out with my group of friends. The book is entirely accurate and you’ll feel the nerd rage that I’m sure you’ve experienced IRL when you join Graham, Roxana, Casey and Felicia throughout certain moments in their adventure. The story is engaging, the characters will warm your heart and the setting is everything – especially when we’re smack dab in the middle of con season!
John Hughes meets Comic Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author ofThree Day Summer.
Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy…
Archie and Veronica…
Althena and Noth…
…Graham and Roxy?
Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.
But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.
When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be…even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones. (via goodreads)