Hey all, Sam here.
I am on a roll with getting these posts going, and that is very exciting for me. Like okay, I know an 18 day blog streak may not be that big of a deal to some people, but I’m very glad that we’ve been able to generate this much content. Oh, and I’ve been going over my blogging calendar for the rest of February and the start of March, and I think I have a rough schedule for at least the next few weeks, which is really cool. Obviously for most of the posts it’s just me writing them up, but there’s the added hurdle of complication in that Tabletop Tuesdays and WIP Wednesdays need to be coordinated between David and myself.
Anyway, I just keep rolling out these NetGalley reviews. If I keep this up then perhaps I can actually get my review percentage up to a more respectable number, which is one of my goals for this year. Today’s review is a book I read back in October 2021, a book that was released in March 2022. So, once again, another book that I am WAY overdue in talking about here on the blog.
With that being said, let’s just go ahead and jump into it.
One small fandom convention. One teen beauty pageant.
One meet cute waiting to happen.
Up and coming fanfic author Kaylee Beaumont is internally screaming at the chance to finally meet her fandom friends in real life and spend a weekend at GreatCon. She also has a side quest for the weekend:
Try out they/them pronouns to see how it feels
Wear more masculine-presenting cosplay
Kiss a girl for the first time
It’s… a lot, and Kay mostly wants to lie face down on the hotel floor. Especially when her hometown bully, Miss North Carolina, shows up in the very same hotel. But there’s this con-sponsored publishing contest, and the chance to meet her fandom idols… and then, there’s Teagan.
Pageant queen Teagan Miller (Miss Virginia) has her eye on the much-needed prize: the $25,000 scholarship awarded to the winner of the Miss Cosmic Teen USA pageant. She also has secrets:
She loves the dresses but hates the tiaras
She’s a giant nerd for everything GreatCon
She’s gay af
If Teagan can just keep herself wrapped up tight for one more weekend, she can claim the scholarship and go off to college out and proud. If she’s caught, she could lose everything she’s worked for. If her rival, Miss North Carolina, has anything to do with it, that’s exactly how it’ll go down.
When Teagan and Kay bump into one another the first night, sparks fly. Their connection is intense—as is their shared enemy. If they’re spotted, the safe space of the con will be shattered, and all their secrets will follow them home. The risks are great… but could the reward of embracing their true selves be worth it?
Rating: 5 stars
Fandom convention plus beauty pageant in the same hotel center definitely sounded like an interesting premise to me. I mean, okay my pageant experience is limited to extremely vague memories from when I was like four years old, but I have pictures to prove that I used to walk around in those frilly dresses and all that. And I have been to my fair share of fandom conventions. So while the beauty pageant part wasn’t super appealing to me, the rest of this story sounded great, and that made it worth the read.
I believe I ended up reading this so long before release date because I was in the mood for cute and nerdy, but I probably also figured I could just review this book as part of Diverse December….and obviously that didn’t happen. Once again, here we are at a book I read more than a year ago that I’m just getting around to reviewing. I can’t promise that it won’t happen again, but I’m going to try and get it to where it doesn’t happen as frequently.
I remembered connecting to both Kay and Teagan pretty quickly. How could I not? I always love my fandom focused characters. And of course I’m loving that we’re starting to see more queer and trans and nonbinary and asexual and characters from all across the delightful spectrum that is gender and sexual identity. And I really felt for both Kay and Teagan with either wanting to try out a different label or identity, or just not being able to talk about their identity. It can be rough when you’re not around people who are open to listening or understanding or accepting who you are, or who you think you could be.
Again, the whole gender and sexual identity thing is something I need to draft a post for at some point, but I’m not fully there yet. I want and need to take the time to write it up in a way that feels good and right to me. But it is something I want to talk about.
I also liked that both Kay and Teagan shared a common rival/enemy. It definitely gave them yet another reason and way to connect. Kay’s friend group at the convention was so lovely, and I totally would want more stories with these characters just to get to spend more time with each of them.
The stakes weren’t exactly low in this story, but compared to some fantasy tales where the fate of the world or the country is at stake, this wasn’t exactly a high stakes story either. But the risks of bullying or losing opportunities can definitely feel huge, so this story feels big and weighty and important.
Honestly, I remember absolutely flying through this book. I thought it was wonderful, and I was absorbed into the story and the lives of the characters, and I just couldn’t stop reading. I wish I could speak more specifically about things, but again, I read this in October 2021. I remember that I really did enjoy it, and honestly that’s enough for me.
All righty, that’s all from me for today. Thank you so much for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with more geeky content.