Friday, July 12, 2013

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; August 1, 2009
Hardcover, 403 pages
Borrowed from library

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!

- Description from


Well, you can bet that I was in for a pleasant surprise when I picked up this book. I'm not very good with reading anthologies but this one was so delightful. I didn't understand half of it but still, so delightful! I'm not being sarcastic, by the way. This is just my twisted humour.

All the stories were amazing and I loved how they all touched on different parts of geekery. You just feel like you get a very full representation of geeks even though I'm sure there's tons missing (Like, hello, where's my Harry Potter?). Also, great comics!

After reading (most of) this book, I'm definitely way more in touch with my inner geek. Thank you, Holly and Cecil, for compiling a kick-ass anthology of awesome geektastic stories!

*If you would like to read mini-reviews of the stories in this book, scroll down.*
1. Once You're a Jedi, You're a Jedi All the Way by Holly Black & Cecil Castellucci
The familiar "did I sleep with a stranger?" storyline is reintroduced in Once You're a Jedi (the answer is, yes you did). Here, a Klingon girl finds herself in a strange hotel room which she later discovers to belong to a Jedi. And she doesn't have any memory of what happened.
Annie's Comments
Yay! A great beginning for a 'geektastic' anthology. Everything was easy to understand (even for me who hasn't watched (or read in some cases) Star Wars and Star Trek). Plus, the story was told in alternating perspectives which is the exact thing I love in books. 

2. One of Us by Tracy Lynn
A popular cheerleader has problems understanding her boyfriend when he talks about things such as Star Wars and Buffy so she hires geeks to teach her.
Annie's Comments
One of Us was super cute albeit a bit predictable. The characters were all super likeable. I kind of wished I had learned more about the things they were teaching Montgomery but that would have made an awfully long story, wouldn't it?

3. Definitional Chaos by Scott Westerfield
A guy has been recruited to look after 84 000 dollars (with the help of his ex-girlfriend) as it is being shipped to ComCon via train.
Annie's Comments
Errr... I feel like I'm missing something because I didn't get this story at all. What is going on????

4. I Never by Cassandra Clare
There's a party for the players of The Game and a girl goes with her friend to meet the guy she talked to online.
Annie's Comments
I loved this story! It was absolutely adorable and I loved the flow. Jane was a cutie and so was Noah. I mean, he wears toggle coats! Isn't that the cutest thing ever? The end was so obvious but it was amazing nonetheless. Bonus points for making up your own game (which should actually cease to be fictional because it's so cool). 

5. The King of Pelinesse by M.T. Anderson
A boy travels to Maine to confront his favourite author, R.P. Flint about a supposed affair with his mother (the boy's, that is).
Annie's Comments
This was quite confusing at the start but once the fundamentals had been established, I found myself really enjoying this story. It was original and I loved the way the theme of the anthology was woven into the story. It was geeky but not really, if you get that.

6. The Wrath of Dawn by Cynthia & Greg Leitich Smith
Dawn attends a Buffy sing-along with her step-sister, her step-sister's boyfriend, and her own date, Eric.
Annie's Comments
The Wrath of Dawn was one of the shorter stories in the anthology and had a large emphasis on Buffy. Which I have never seen. I'm indifferent to this story, but not really because Buffy is so foreign to me. The whole thing was just really short, especially the ending which felt rushed.

7. Quiz Bowl Antichrist by David Levithan
Literature genius, Alec and his quiz bowl team prepare themselves again for another year of intense button-pushing.
Annie's Comments
DAVID LEVITHAN IS THE BEST! I will never, ever get tired of anything he writes because he's just so fantastic. Quiz Bowl Antichrist was easily one of my favourite stories in Geektastic. I totally appreciated David for making his story about geeks something everyone can understand. Great characters and amazing story. I bow down to you, Levithan!

8. The Quiet Knight by Garth Nix
In one night's LARP (live action role play) adventure, Tony a.k.a The Quiet Knight meets Sorayah and her little brother. He sees them at school the next day and must make an important decision.
Annie's Comments
Another absolutely adorable story! I thought it was delightful but it didn't wow me. 

9. Everyone But You by Lisa Yee
Felicity and her mom move to Maui and she finds it difficult to fit in among her peers.
Annie's Comments
I don't really see how this story fits in with the others but maybe that's because the previous stories have been exploring a different kind of geekiness than the one we see in this story. Perhaps. But moving on, I thought the fast forwarding made the story really confusing because there was no 'heads up, we're skipping two months'. It just seemed as if one second Felicity was being hated on and the next second, she's hot baton twirling hula girl. 

10. Secret Identity by Kelly Link
Billie, a fifteen year old girl, meets a middle aged man through an online gaming site and proceeds to meet him at a hotel. But he's not there so she's writing him a letter recounting the events that occurred at the hotel (and apologizing for multiple somethings I won't say).
Annie's Comments
I am not ageist, okay? God knows how many twenty/thirty-year-old celebrities I've had a crush on but isn't it a bit creepy and scary that a fifteen-year-old and a thirty-four-year-old are having a fling? Like, I'm not actually in love with Andrew Garfield and just hypothetically, if he were to ask me to meet him at a hotel - oh who am I kidding?!? That will never happen because I know better than to meet a stranger at a hotel (and also, he doesn't know me). Anyhoo, this was a really confusing story. I didn't get it at all.

11. Freak the Geek by John Green
Two girls are targeted for an annual 'freaking of the geek' (which is when you torment geeks and laugh at them).
Annie's Comments
It's John Green. The person who wrote Tumblr's favourite novel and the best Youtuber on the planet. Of course I wanted to love it! But alas, this story disappointed me. While there were some signature John Green lines that I adored, the only thing that happened in the story other than them running away from the meanies was a fight between the two girls. That was the end.

12. The Truth About Dino Girl by Barry Lyga
Dinosaur-obsessed Katie has her eyes set on baseball-playing Jamie and fantasizes about being with him.
Annie's Comments
Okay, I'm not too sure what the moral of this story is. Like, what's up with the ending? But the dinosaur theme was cute.

13. This Is My Audition Monologue by Sara Zarr
The title sums it up pretty well. This is her audition monologue.
Annie's Comments
I'll admit, I didn't actually read this one. I started skimming it but then I just flipped to the end and moved on. Now you know why my summary is very bare-bones. I just didn't have it in me to read an 11-page monologue about why a girl should be cast into a play.

14. The Stars at the Finish Line by Wendy Mass
Ever since fourth grade, Peter and Tabitha have been fierce competitors, always trying to edge out one another. When Tabitha hears of a Messier Marathon (a thing where you have to find all 110 stars in one night), she eagerly joins. And because Peter has a secret crush on her, he asks to help.
Annie's Comments
Wendy Mass is one of my favourite childhood authors (Thanks for introducing me to her! A Mango Shaped Space, remember?) and I haven't read her work in so long so when I saw this story, I screamed my head off. It was amazing! A lot of what Wendy writes is amazing but seriously, when she talks about stars and the universe, it is like magic. Every Soul A Star has been one of my favourite books by her and yay, I love this story!

15. It's Just a Bump to the Left by Libba Bray
I didn't read this either. I'm sorry but I heard it was about the Rocky Horror Picture Show and I was just like ehhh. So much for keeping an open mind, right?

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