Now that con season is well underway, creators and fans alike are congregating in convention centers and hotel lobbies across the world to exchange wares, rock cosplays and otherwise geek out about their favorite fandoms. We know that these spaces aren’t accessible to everyone, for a variety of reasons. But that doesn’t mean you won’t potentially experience some FOMO. So, we’ve rounded up a list of geeky books that will help relieve that feeling. Or, if you just want to read more fictional books that explore fandom, these may be the perfect additions to your TBR.
1. Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Loosely based on Cinderella, the first book in Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series, Geekerella, follows Starfield-megafan Elle Wittimer as she starts a text-based flirtation with a mystery fan who turns out to be the very same Hollywood hunk that’s set to star in the cinematic reboot of her favorite show. The pair finally meet at ExcelsiCon, a fan convention that was started by Elle’s late father and fellow Starfield enthusiast — but of course, there are plenty of mishaps along the way. This nerdy rom-com is an absolute delight, especially for those who fantasize about dating celebrities from their favorite franchises.
2. The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston
The second book in Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series, The Princess and the Fangirl, follows teen actress Jessica Stone, who plays Amara in the Starfield reboot — and hopes her character doesn’t return for the sequel, so she can do more “serious” work. Meanwhile, fangirl Imogen Lovelace has started a campaign to save Amara. The two meet accidentally at ExcelsiCon when Imogen is mistaken for Jessica, because they look distressingly alike. And when Jessica’s script to the Starfield sequel leaks online, she knows she needs help to find the culprit — so she and Imogen hatch a plan. From there, hijinks ensue, in this sweet sequel to Geekerella.
3. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde follows vlogger and actress Charlie as she promotes her first film at SupaCon, while also trying to prove that she’s so over her cheating ex-boyfriend and co-star, Reese. Then she meets her longtime crush, fellow vlogger and actress Alyssa, and discovers that her unrequited feelings aren’t so unrequited. Meanwhile, Charlie’s friends Taylor and Jamie navigate the con as attendees as their feelings for each other grow. This sweet novel is about love, friendship and finding the courage to be yourself.
4. Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner
Cameron is a passionate costume designer who desperately wants to get into CalArts for college, but the summer her family moves to a sleepy little town where the local comic shop employs at least one guy who refuses to respect her because she’s a girl, it triggers a desire to make him pay for being such a creep. After Cameron and her friends won a major cosplay contest at a con and she revealed that she didn’t know the property, but loved the costumes, she started receiving a deluge of hate online. So, she hatches a plan with her twin brother’s reluctant assistance to prove all the fanboys wrong. As you might imagine, things get really messy, really fast. Chaotic Good is as funny as it is crushing, especially for anyone who’s ever been attacked for how they choose to enjoy fandom.
5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
We couldn’t make a list of geeky books in this vein without including Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. When Cath and her sister Wren go to college, Wren branches out and Cath is left to navigate this new space mostly on her own, with a roommate whose boyfriend seems to always be around and a fiction-writing professor who hates fanfiction with a passion. That doesn’t bode well for Cath, who’s a BNF (Big Name Fan) in the Simon Snow community whose fanfiction is heralded as being as good as, if not better than, the book series. As Cath attempts to get comfortable outside her comfort zone, she’s faced with tons of real-life questions that many of us face as we grow up and leave home. Luckily, she does have a support system, even if she doesn’t realize it yet. This book is, frankly, a must-read.
6. The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson
Lily Anderson’s The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You explores a rivalry dating all the way back to a monkey bars incident in the first grade. Trixie has two goals for her senior year: save enough to buy a set of Doctor Who figurines from her LCS and place third overall in her class so her rival, Ben, is bumped to number four. She’s willing to give up almost anything (except comics) to beat Ben, but when their best friends start dating each other, they’re thrown together and asked to play nice. A careful friendship grounded in fandom begins to form, until Trixie’s best friend is expelled for cheating and everyone is forced to take sides.
7. Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy
Is it possible to blaze your own path when you’re the granddaughter of an über-famous author? In Cori McCarthy’s Now a Major Motion Picture, Iris Thorne wants nothing more than to break into the music industry, without the shadow of her grandmother M. E. Thorne hanging over her. Thorne’s book series, Elementia, is hailed as a feminist response to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings and now it’s being adapted to film, which means Iris is going to have an even harder time escaping her family ties. Then, she and her brother are invited to the Elementia set in Ireland and she finds that she doesn’t suffer as much as she thought she would — but when filming falls into jeopardy, she begins to question everything.
8. The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
In Sarvenaz Tash’s The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, Graham has been in love with his best friend, Roxy, since he moved into her neighborhood when he was eight years old and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Now they’re 16, still best friends and still neighbors, but their shared love of Harry Potter has expanded into a deep, shared love of comics. When the creator of their favorite comic is announced as a special guest at NYCC, Graham gets tickets and comes up with a plan to tell Roxy how he feels — but real-life romances are way more complicated than fictional ones.
9. All the Feels: All Is Fair In Love and Fandom by Danika Stone
College freshman Live is a Starveil movies superfan. When her favorite character is killed off, she launches an online campaign to bring her back to life and enlists her best friend, Xander, to help. As she tries to balance this new campaign and her booming fandom life with school, parental disapproval and her hopes for a love life, a trip to Dragon Con with Xander seems like just the thing to help her through. Danika Stone’s All the Feels: All Is Fair In Love and Fandom was chosen by readers for Macmillain’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads.
10. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Francesca Zappia’s Eliza and Her Monsters follows 18 year-old Eliza Mirk, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, a popular persona with millions of fans and followers throughout the world. In real life, she has no friends, but when Wallace Warland transfers to her school, Eliza is tempted to try living life offline for a change. When her secret identity and the work she’s built are accidentally shared with the world, everything begins to fall apart.
Samantha Puc is an essayist and culture critic whose work has been featured on Bitch Media, The Mary Sue, Bustle, and elsewhere. She mostly writes intersectional pop culture analysis with a particular focus on representation of LGBTQ and fat characters in fiction. Samantha is the managing editor at The Beat, as well as the co-creator and editor-in-chief of Fatventure Mag, an outdoors zine for fat creators who are into being active, but not into toxic weight-loss culture. She lives in Montana with her partner and cats.