Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

"When you live for stories, when you spend so much of your time immersed in careful constructs of three and five acts, it sometimes feels like you're just stumbling through the rest of life, trying to divine meaningful narrative threads from the chaos. Which, as I learned the hard way this weekend, can be painfully fruitless. Fiction is there when real life fails you. But it's not a substitute..."

Graham and Roxy are best friends. They have been best friends since Graham moved in next door when they were eight. She asked him what Hogwarts house he would be in (Ravenclaw) and he loved her ever since. Now, Graham and Roxy are sixteen. They moved from Harry Potter to comics, especially The Chronicles of Althena*. The two also created their own comic, which Graham writes and Roxy draws, called The Misfits of Mage High.

Graham has decided that he will tell Roxy how he feels at the upcoming New York Comic Con. It seems like fate when it is announced that the author of Althena, Robert Zinc, will be on a panel for the movie adaptation of his series. All Graham has to do is camp out overnight with his friend Casey, convince Casey to give him his ticket for Roxy, then get Roxy to skip school on Friday for the panel. So easy, right?

Unfortunately, Graham's plans implode. After spending the night on the street, the ticket line turns into a mad rush when it opens. Graham and Casey leave empty-handed. Thankfully, they still get to spend time at Comic Con with Roxy and her friend Felicia. It's Felicia's idea to take part in speed dating (A teens session, don't worry). Graham makes friends with a fellow Athena fan (Who managed to get into the panel) named Amelia. To Graham's horror, Roxy meets a handsome British guy named Devin, and they are acting a little too friendly for his comfort.

Poor Graham's Robert Zinc plan fell through, and now he has to witness Roxy flirting with another guy. He expects that things will turn around Saturday, when he planned to surprise Roxy with a John Hughes panel (Graham's deceased mother was a huge John Hughes fan, and Roxy and Graham watched her old movies). It's just his luck that Devin is also there on Saturday, and again sticking to Roxy's side. Our boy then decides that the perfect demonstration of his love is to purchase an original page from Althena from the auction for $500. It's at this point where I started to worry about the kid. Oh, honey, no.

Graham was okay, but sometimes ventured over into "nice guy" territory. He and Roxy have a lot in common, they have been friends for years, and he wants to explore something more. The problem is that he never thought that Roxy might not want that, not to spoil anything. He was also kind of grating when he was upset about Devin. I can't imagine that he had any fun at Comic Con with that attitude, and he really did it to himself.

The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love is mostly nerdy fun. I really wish that The Chronicles of Althena was real, because it sounds awesome. I expected that the book would be cute and sweet, full of geeky love. It's much more complicated than that, but in a good way. There's a happy ending, but maybe not the one that you might expect.

*The Chronicles of Althena is a comic series about an alien named Althena whose only knowledge of Earth is what she saw in 80s science fiction films. She often shapeshifts into characters from the movies, though she can't change her earlobe, which is always green. On their first day at the con, Roxy dresses up as Althena as Pris from Blade Runner, and Graham dresses as Althena as Mad Max. 

I received my copy of The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love from Sarvenaz Tash as part of the Spring Young Adult Scavenger Hunt. It's available for sale now.

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