Summer is also all about the blockbuster movie – you know, that geeky DC or Marvel movie with exploding stuff that you watch in a too-air-conditioned theatre. Or the sci-fi one where the world is ending and there’s a tiny group of humans who have to save the day.
I haven’t watched a ton of those movies this summer, but I have been reading a few books that are kind of similar, so today, I thought I’d share two very different approaches to the summer geektastic story – ones that are full of geeky banter, and will remind you just how much Avenger you have in you!
Two Geektastic Reads for the Avenger in All of UsThe Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com | The Book Depository | iBooks | Google Books | Audible
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 of Three 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.
Graham Posner is a teenage comic book writer who is in love with his best friend, Roxana. Roxy and Graham share everything: a love of Harry Potter, John Hughes movies and (fictional) comic book author Robert Zinc’s Althena series, but also serious moments in life like Graham’s mom’s death. Needless to say, they’re inseparable. This weekend at New York Comic Con, Graham will finally put make a grand gesture to tell Roxy he loves her.
Of course, nothing goes as planned.
Author Sarvenaz Tash has said that this book combines her love of John Hughes teen romantic comedies from the 80s with nerdiness, and that’s exactly what this is. But what she doesn’t mention is just how funny and honest this book is. It’s not only a great representation of what I experienced when I went to Toronto’s Fan Expo a few years ago – from the panels to the artists to the cosplay to the people – but it’s also just so darn realistic. Graham’s emotional journey, the friendship that he has with Roxy, their other best friends geek genius Casey and perfect/popular/smart Felicia…wow. Every character rings true, the dialogue is funny, bantery and geeky.
I completely fell in love with the way Tash told this story, with the three days of Comic Con anchoring a large ensemble of characters. I loved that the characters came home every night after the con to just a normal family dinner. I loved that feeling of going around a con with friends, and sometimes going to stuff you didn’t like. And I loved how well Tash described that aching, longing, and heart-wrenching feeling that you get when you want to tell someone you love them, but you’re also super-frustrated with them.
This is a must-read for anyone who is part of a fandom, and also for anyone who really needs a unique, realistic take on unrequited love.Learning to Swear in America Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com | The Book Depository | iBooks | Google Books | Audible
Brimming with humor and one-of-a-kind characters, this end-of-the world novel will grab hold of Andrew Smith and Rainbow Rowell fans.
An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize--if there's ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri's 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he's not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.
Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with questions of the universe.
I wanted to love Learning to Swear in America, but it just didn’t grab me. It was a solid read, with decent plotting and writing, but I couldn’t really connect with the characters.
The premise is a mix of apocalyptic fiction (asteroid about to destroy the world) and Manic Pixie Dream Girl shows Nerdy Protagonist how to live. It’s trope-y, but it’s done cutely. The writing was strong, if a little slow.
The biggest problem is that I just couldn’t get invested in Yuri, the arrogant but brilliant 17-year-old physicist who has the answer to saving the world. While Katie Kennedy managed to balance his huge ambitions ego with a good heart, I feel like his journey got a little lost once he met “regular” teenager Dovie and her hippie family. Part of this was because Dovie is so much a manic pixie dream girl that it frustrated me (she was SO conveniently available for him), but it’s also because I couldn’t get into their romance. It all just felt a little too twee for me.
That said, there were definitely some heavy moments that dealt with responsibility and doing the right thing. Those were the best parts for me, because they built on themes that I thought were maybe more important than just Yuri learning to have fun.
I wanted to love this book more, but it ended up just being an okay read. That said, while it was a bit beyond me, I could see a lot of people really enjoying the writing and the unique main character. Recommended for: people who have a quirky sense of humour, and who really, really like science.
THE GEEK’S GUIDE TO UNREQUITED LOVE and LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA are in bookstores now. Have you read either of them? What do you think about summer blockbuster movies – can there be blockbuster books, too? What other sci-fi/sci-fi adjacent books have you read this summer? Hit the comments and let me know.