Tash, Sarvenaz.The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love
June 14th 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Graham and his best friend and neighbor Roxana are very interested in the sci fi graphic novels of reclusive author Robert Zinc, especially the ones involving a character named Althea. When Zinc agrees to speak at the New York City Comic Con, the two decide they have to go. Along with die hard geek friend Casey and newbie Felicia, the group heads out and works their way through the schedule at the Javits Center. Graham desperately wants to get wristbands for the Zinc panel so that he can bring Roxana and confess his love for her, but he doesn't manage to get them. To further complicate his plan, they meet hot British guy Devin, and Roxana seems attracted to him. Graham meets Amelia, who shares a lot of his interests. He manages, over the course on the Con, to both embarrass and partially redeem himself with Roxana.
Strengths: This showed a very intimate understanding of the Geek American community, and was a nice trip to Comic Con, complete with costumes and craziness. Very well done. It was nice that Roxana's background was Iranian-American, but that it was incidental to most other things about her.
Weaknesses: The main thought that I was left with from this book was this: If an Iranian-American woman can write a book from the perspective of a Caucasian male geek, is it less authentic than if a Caucasian male geek wrote it? I don't think so; I think Tash has her fingers on the pulse of this population. She's a good storyteller. But if a red headed Caucasian male wrote about an Iranian-American female, there might be back lash. Food for thought.
What I really think: Would definitely buy this for high school, but will pass for middle school, both because of a couple of f-bombs and because it just makes me sad looking at the red headed geek boy on the cover. Just...can't.
Heidicker, Christian McKay. Cure for the Common Universe
14 June 2016 by Simon and Schuster
EARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Jaxon plays too many video games (his parents track his use, which adds up to more than a full time job over the summer), and is finally sent to a video rehab hospital. The other patients are quirky and addicted to a variety of video games. Jaxon doesn't think he needs to be there, but he's determined to get out as quickly as he can-- he has just met a girl and made her laugh. He has a date in a week, but can he get out in time? He goes along with the program as much as possible, eating decent food, getting exercise, and talking to the other quirky participants.
Strengths: I liked the idea of this book-- both that Jaxon managed to ask a girl out, and that there is such a thing as video game rehab.
Weaknesses: This was much too young adult in that it was slow paced and introspective. Pages and pages of people talking in group therapy. There were also multiple uses of the f-word.
What I really think: Too slow moving for middle school, but the language tipped me off to that early on. I just kept reading, since it was an interesting premise. Again, I would buy this for a high school or public library.