Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad’s old costume, Elle’s determined to win – unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons – before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he has ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake – until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?
“Never give up on your dreams, and never let anyone tell you that what you love is inconsequential or useless or a waste of time. Because [what] if you love it?”
We’ve all read classic Cinderella stories with a prince and a ball. But have you read a Cinderella story with a geek and a food truck?
Living with her vain and mean stepfamily, Elle has been on her own since both her parents died, the only thing left for her beloved science fiction series, Starfield, that she and her parents both absolutely adored. After years and years of waiting, she and tons of other fans across the internet are finally getting a movie version of the series–but to her horror, the beloved Prince Carminador is being played by a teen actor from a trashy soap opera. Meanwhile, said teen actor, Darien, is just trying to do what he loves, act and embrace his inner Starfield geek, but it seems the entire internet hates him just on principle.
This book was adorable! It was such a great book, combining two of my favorite things–nerd/geek culture and fairytale retellings! I really loved the Cinderella aspect of it; at the beginning I had no idea how it was all going to play out, and then I got so immersed in the story that I almost forgot about the Cinderella aspect and loved it just how it was, and then at the end the whole fairytale story came together and it was just so perfect!
The romance was SO CUTE! I feel like with the premise of having an ordinary person fall in love with someone famous can so easily feel cliche and overdone, but this book definitely did not do that! I loved the conversations between Elle and Darien: both those done over text, and those in real life! For the most part, their relationship felt natural as well. My only small complaint was that at the end it started to seem a bit like insta-love, and so I’m taking off half a star for that.
All of the characters were so well done and fleshed out! Half of the book was from the POV of Darien, which was so wonderful getting to see the “Prince Charming” character from the Cinderella story! I especially loved how much he struggled and had issues that he needed to overcome and grow from too! Unlike a traditional story where the prince saves Cinderella, here they really both helped each other out–and with the help of others too! I loved the friendships too! And even the stepsisters were more complex than they seemed at first! There was also lgbt+ representation in this book, which was great!
I just loved all the geeky/fangirl elements of this book! It made my little nerd heart so happy. I especially loved reading about the con at the end, and seeing how so many people could all come together and bond and help each other out over their common love of Starfield! It was so amazing seeing the most unlikely people who didn’t have much else in common be able to connect over this–because isn’t that what’s happening with us fellow readers on the internet? 🙂
4.5 out of 5 Starfield stars
You can also read my review on Goodreads here.