Friday, March 14, 2014

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black-Review

I can't believe I hadn't heard about this anthology till now!!  I love all things geek to to read a bunch of short stories about geeks I had to read this.  Here is the goodreads descriptions:

Acclaimed authors Holly Black (Ironside) and Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof) have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, John Green, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr. With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O'Malley, Geektastic covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers. Whether you're a former, current, or future geek, or if you just want to get in touch with your inner geek, Geektastic will help you get your geek on!  

Really I think this book might get confused what is geek and what is nerd.   I do think of myself as a geek.  I have been to the San Diego Comic Con (and will be trying to get tickets again this year).  I play video games, read comics, watch all the new movies, read... blah blah.  So I thought that some of these stories were just more about unpopular kids rather then geeky kids.   After each story was a one page comic and I really enjoyed those.  I thought they were funny and geeky.   I should've probably read some reviews on this before reading it. I mean really these stories fall flat despite the authors being big sellers.

Once You're a Jedi, You're a Jedi All the Way by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci:
The first story was only so-so to me.  I didn't think it was a great way to start off the series.  It is a story about a Star Wars cosplayer and a Star Trek cosplayer who like each other.  If you don't know this is a big deal because those two fandoms don't normally mix! This to me is the most "geek" story in the whole book.  3 stars

One of Us by Tracy Lynn
This story is about a cheerleader who goes to four geeky people for an education on all things geek.  She pays them $100 to make her geeky since her football boyfriend is into it.  So the geeks try to teach her a few things about Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and so forth.  This story was also OK to me.  But in reality, in high school, these types of people wouldn't mix.  College is another story where people do start to hang out with different crowds.  This story here to also shows that the book is dated.. since to me it has a lot of Buffy reference, or maybe I am just not a Buffy person.  2 stars 

Definitional Chaos by Scott Westerfeld
This story was more up my alley.  It's about these two people who need to get some cash to a hotel for a comic con.  I liked this story because it talks about alignments.  Good vs Evil which you find in gaming (like Dungeons and Dragons).  The story is adventurous!  3 stars

I Never by Cassandra Clare
Clare's story is about two girl friends who go to this party with a bunch of strangers who all play an online game.  This story was good but I did think it was odd people would just show up at a party of online people.  I suppose though this happens all the time.  I have seen the craigslist ads.  The online game they play though is interesting.  They pick a character.. but it movies, books, tv and roleplay it with other people in the game. The game seemed cool.  3 stars.

The King of Pelinesse by M.T. Anderson
My favorite story so far.  This one talks about a teen boy who reads some comics by an odd author who has been writing his mother letters.  The letters are about the mother and the author having an affair.  The boy travels to meet this author in person to quiz him about the affair. I thought this was one of the better stories but that may be because it wasn't so middle school like the other stories. 2 stars

The Wrath of Dawn by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith
This story is about two step sisters who go to a Buffy quote a long movie.  What's with all the Buffy in this book?  Anyways... they go there and there is more Buffy talk. Just can't get past that.  1 star

Quiz Bowl Antichrist by David Levithan
This story is about a Quiz Team of people in high school.  Who go to finals.  The geeky part of this story is that they all know science and book facts.  This story was more about nerds to me then geeks. Though I do like that this story is a LGBT genre and that was a neat change.  3 stars

The Quiet Knight by Garth Nix
This story is about a teen who plays LARP.  LARP is where people dress up and use weapons to fight each other.  The weapons are usually soft and made out of PVC pipes. The main character has a damaged throat so doesn't usually speak.  I enjoyed reading about the LARPing but wish the story would've focused more on that. Instead, we head back to the high school.  4 stars

Everyone But You by Lisa Yee
This story is about a girl who ends up moving to Hawaii from her small town. She is a twirler or someone who performs with a baton.  Her new school has no sports so her baton doesn't get her popular there.  She eventually gives up using her baton and never really becomes popular.  2 stars 

Secret Identity by Kelly Link
This was the longest story in the book so far.  The story was good but had a lot of plot holes to me. It's about a girl who is 15 who travels to a hotel to meet some 35 year old man whom she met playing an MMORPG (which is an online multiplayer game).  She gets to the hotel and there are a few conventions going on.  A superhero one and a dentist one??  She never meets the guy, she gets drunk in her hotel room and yet that creepy guy does show up when she's wasted (she gets drunk off the minibar).  I don't know .. then we discover who the guy might be??  I just thought that it was off that a 15 year old would do any of this! 2 stars

Freak the Geek by John Green
Yet another slow story.  This one is about two girls who go to high school and they are targeted for being "nerds".  The cool people chase them with paintball guns on Freak the Geek day where the "nerds" get picked on.  OK what bothered me about this story was the spelling of Orcs.  The word was spelled Orks and I just don't know why!!! NOOO!  1 star

The Truth About Dino Girl by Barry Lyga
This story was really good... the best one in the book, till the end. I am going to spoil this one so if you are planning on reading the book.. well skip this story's review.  So this story is about two girls in high school.  One is way into dinosaurs.  She likes this boy who has a girlfriend.  Well the girl friend finds out about her crush and tells her to cut it out.  To get revenge, the girl takes nude photos of the guy's girlfriend and passes them around the high school.  Terrible.  This isn't good behavior for anyone.  Maybe I am old but I think the girl who loves dinosaurs is actually kind of a bully.  Terrible ending to the story.  Terrible to even think this is an OK way to get revenge.  I don't even know how many stars to give this story now... 2 stars.

This is My Audition Monologue by Sara Zarr
This story is about a girl who is a stagehand in high school theater.  She never gets a part and really wants one.. so this story is her audition.  I do think of theater people as geeks.  3 stars

The Stars at the Finish Line by Wendy Mass
Now this was a great story.  My favorite one in the book.  It's about two teens who both want to be astronauts and got to a Star Party.  I have actually been to a star party.  So fun.  A lot of people join up and use telescopes and look in the sky for stars.  5 stars

It's Just a Jump to the Left by Libba Bray
I thought this was a decent story too.  This one is about some teens who are into Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Now I was never into that movie but my cousin was.  Now that I am older I would like to attend one of the showings where people dress up and sing along.  I liked that this story also had life lessons.. I loved this line "She cried for the way things had been, the way the would never be again."  Oh yes... the coming of age story.  5 stars

Really everyone... just pass on this book.  I just thought it wasn't the best anthology.  So now that I am done.. I pose the question to you.  What is the difference between a nerd and geek??

 The crystal ball says:

Rain is pouring...  Not sure if this was really worth my time, must get an umbrella.


  1. I have seen this anthology on Goodreads, and I think I even marked it as TBR. I regret that decision after reading your review.

    Really, orks?! Everyone knows it's orcs. I would have to stop before I could finish that one.

    I like the idea that the stories have elements of geekdom, but they seem to be just copy and pasted into the cookie cutter high school stories. Bleh. Disappointed.

    The only story I think I'd enjoy would be Once You're A Jedi, You're A Jedi All The Way. I'm a huge Trekkie, but my guy is a Star Wars fanboy. I can definitely relate!

  2. looks so cute, suck that it wasn't!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  3. Aww, this sounds like something I would really enjoy (especially with my current Star Trek kick). Too bad it was mostly disappointing! I did like how you included thoughts on all the stories! Maybe if they put this out somehow as individual stories you can read, I can read this!

  4. Exactly. It was just stereotypes. Really too I just thought it was about nerdy kids. Unpopular kids. I disagree with that too. I think you can like Star Wars/Star Trek and be a cool person. Read comics and be a cool person. It made it seem like just because you like some sort of fandom then you are a nerd.

  5. I did read that some of the stories are free online. If there is one that interests you google it and you might find it online!!

  6. Oh man. Stinks when that happens. Anthologies are just such a risk. A couple of those. Whew yeah they definitely wouldn't have worked for me. Shame they brought the few good ones down with them :/ Hope the next read goes way better!

  7. I read this book when it first came out and loved it, it was laugh-out-loud funny at some points and I really enjoyed it. I am glad you found it :)

  8. I consider myself a geek (or a nerd, I don't really know what the difference is either) but this anthology was so far from what I know. I feel like I can't consider myself a geek now because I don't follow Star Trek or Star Wars (I did pick up on that dynamic though so I'm not totally clueless haha) or the board games and etc. I think a lot of the stories really just fell flat for me and also there were some stories that I really did not think had anything to do with geekiness. I understand that that term can be interpreted differently by different people but just because a lot of the stories centred around franchises and games, stories like Everyone But You really seemed out of place. But anyway, SO happy that you enjoyed The Stars at the Finish Line! I love Wendy Mass and that was definitely my favourite story by far!

  9. Usually there are more good then bad stories in an anthology so really those make the story still good. I love anthologies and this really was the first one I have read that wasn't that great. Even with so many good authors on board.

  10. I just didn't find it laugh out loud. I don't know why?? I just thought they were very stereotypical and more about teens trying to find their way rather then actually being geeks.

  11. Yes!! Everyone but You?? I guess since she threw a baton that made her like a band geek kind of? I don't know... sometimes it's the anthology's editors that can make or break the book. Maybe they just didn't really explain what they were looking for?? I am glad I am not the only one who felt this book was flat and not intriguing. Some of the reviews I read on goodreads even DNF some of the stories!!

  12. I saw this and I love all things geek too. I consider myself a Geek and a bit of a Nerd though so I fit into both groups. At first reading your post I was ready to add this to my to-read list, but once I finished I am so glad I kept reading. I will not be wasting my time on this book. I always value your opinion because we tend to have similar tastes in books.

    Sorry it has taken me so long to read this post. I have fallen behind on reading your blog and I'm making up for it.

  13. I have had this on my TBR/ Wishlist for a while now and am so disappointed to hear it didn't hold up. I guess I might just pass this one up unless it lands in my lap for free.

  14. Ana @ Read Me AwayMarch 17, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    This is one of those anthologies that I really do want to read, but am wary of at the same time. I'm sorry that they fell flat. :(

    As for the difference between a nerd and a geek... I think I had this conversation with a friend ages ago. I think the difference, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is that "nerd" implies being very good at academics while "geek" implies interest in things like comic books, anime, manga, etc? I THINK that's where the difference lies for me.

  15. Too bad this didn't work for you. My opinions of most of the stories were actually pretty similar to yours but I think I enjoyed it overall more than you did. I'm not sure why, but I thought it was fun. The Dino-Girl story was probably my favorite along with Levthan's story.

  16. Yeah... this book to me was more for like.. the "unpopular" kids in high school. I don't think that just because you are a geek you are unpopular. In fact... anymore.. I think it's quite the opposite. Look at how mainstream comics are now. Everyone wears superman shirts. Maybe also my definition of geek is just different then the authors in the book.

  17. Really I think that if you are looking for geeky stories then skip it. Also check out the reviews on goodreads too. Though I noticed a lot of people were feeling the same way as me.

  18. I agree with your definition!! So.. I was hoping for more stories of people playing Dungeons and Dragons... going to Comic Con, things like that. One story kind of got close to it with LARP but then went in a different direction at the end of the story. Soo.... I don't know. Just not for me.

  19. If you reviewed this recently then it must've been your blog where I learned about this book from!!! I was trying to remember where I saw it first but couldn't think of where. I did see at goodreads mixed reviews. Some liking it some not. Just not my style.

  20. I would definitely expect geeky stories from as book title Geektastic. Oh well, goodness knows I have enough books to read already!

  21. The anthology has a neat premise. It is a shame it wasn't great. I will definitely be skipping this one.

  22. I was a jock and a geek in high school but I was so unpopular that I was invisible and hated. I'm ok with it now. I think everyone has there own definition of what a geek is these days.

  23. Yeah we definitely had the exact same reaction to the Barry Lyga story haha, and I LOVED the Libba Bray one as well - I forgot to mention that one. The Garth Nix was also a personal favourite, although I also wish there had been more focus on the LARPing and less on the high school (I enjoyed it as is, but still). I also loved the Buffy ones though - but I'm definitely a big Whedon fan haha

  24. There were a few stories I really liked.. but then some I just really disliked. I was just really in the middle of the road on this book. Though it was still a lot of feel good stories.