Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind by Andy Robb
Published: 4 June 2012 (Stripes)
Buy the paperback: Amazon|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo
Source: Borrowed from e-library
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
If you haven't worked it out yet, girls don't do this. They don't come to the Hovel. They don't like goblins and dragons. They don't paint miniatures. They don't play role playing games or re-enact fictional battles. And they don't talk to Geeks like me especially if they're pretty. And this girl is pretty. What do you do if you're a fourteen-year-old Geek, and a Beautiful Girl has appeared in the midst of your geeky world? And she seems to like you... For Archie, the natural reaction would be to duck and cover ... run for the hills ... buy a new model elf... Anything but risk stepping into the Real World. But even Geeks have to put their heads above the parapet at some point. With his mum barely able to contain her excitement that her son is about to join the human race, and his step-father, Tony the Tosser, offering crass advice, it's time for Archie to embark on a daring Quest to win the Beautiful Girl's heart and shake off his Geekhood for good...
Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind follows Archie as he battles his way through teenage life and the many obstacles it throws in his way. His mum's boyfriend is, in his words, a "tosser" and his dad is disappointingly absent, but it's okay because he has his friends and their regular gaming meet-ups to keep him sane. Then one day a girl pops up in his life creating a whole load more awkward teenage boy problems for Archie.
Okay, so you know sometimes when you start reading a book and it just seems so perfect it's as if it was written specifically for you? That's how I felt during Geekhood. All these little references just made it call out to me. I mean I was always going to have a great deal to like when it comes to a book about geeks, but I just connected with this book on so many levels!
I'll start out with the humour which was just brilliant. Archie himself was such a funny character and I loved his voice throughout the story because he just absolutely jumped off the page. I have never been a teenage boy so I can't relate to him per say, but his character is exactly like the kind of teenage boys I encountered at school, and who I so rarely see portrayed in books. I think it helps that this book is so freakingly British and British humour > every other type of humour. I mean take the amount of tea Archie drinks (because making tea is what you do in every possible situation). Those observations Archie makes are the same ones I make in my own household with my own family and just being able to recognise those characters and situations made me grin like a madwoman.
Onto the geekiness! Archie and his friends are huge fans of RPG games and love hanging out at The Hovel, their favourite gaming shop. I loved how the gang bonded over their games and how passionate they were about what they love. There's several moments in the book where Archie starts to question what he does and his identity and whether he should be moving on from those parts of his life as he grows up, and I loved seeing that kind of identity crisis he goes through. I think all of us geeks have looked at ourselves and wish we could be that much cooler and hidden our inner geek, but at the end of the day, this book definitely made me want to wear my geekiness with pride!
The range of teenage problems covered in Geekhood was brilliantly accurate, and I loved how the author hasn't shied away from the most awkward and embarrassing teenage moments. As Archie tries to impress the new girl on the block Sarah, he starts worrying about his image and suddenly it's like the whole world revolves around her. I think we all remember those first proper crushes and the freaking out about how to act around them and what to wear. I was giggling my way through so many of the scenes where Archie's mum tries to help him out and interfere. What I loved most of all is that whilst the book covered those awkward experiences, not once did it make me cringe. Because seriously, I hate cringing, and so often I cringe my way through books and it completely distracts me from the story. So I was relieved I could just completely lose myself in Geekhood and just laugh!
The friendship between Archie and his best friends Matt, Ravi and Beggsy was a real highlight. There were some ups and downs that I'm sure we can all relate to, thanks to jealousy and that one friend who starts to change and drift apart from the group, but the four of them are just so funny and obviously have a really strong friendship. I mean reading this book left me totally want to hang out with them and play games. It was interesting to see how they coped with the negative attention their geek status gets them. I also really liked Sarah, Archie's love interest. She just takes everything as she comes and seems like a genuine person who will take the time to talk to anyone. I loved that she was a bit of a misfit too.
I mentioned earlier how this book felt like it was meant for me, and even the little things like having a character called Sarah made me smile. (I have this theory that authors avoid that name because it's so common, but surely the fact it's so common means there should be one in every book?! And I loved this particular Sarah!) And then it threw in references to my home city of York and I was convinced it was a sign. Me and this book were meant to be.
I laughed so much throughout Geekhood and I'm certainly going to be recommending this to everyone I possibly can. If you've ever been labelled a geek or been ashamed of your passion then it's the perfect way to let you embrace that side of you. It was a brilliant portrayal of those awkward years of growing up and figuring out who you are and discovering those new feelings that come with the hormones. I think everyone will be able to relate to Archie and really empathise with him. Plus it will make you laugh. A lot. Go grab it now!
What to read next: Geekhood: Mission Improbable by Andy Robb, the second Geekhood book
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