Monday, October 11, 2010

Review: Geek Charming

Robin Palmer

When Josh, an aspiring film student and future director, sets out to make a film about the popular kids at his Beverly Hills high school, Miss Popular herself is the topic of his film. Dylan Schoenfield, whose father owns a fricking mall, is the very definition of the word "snob." She's everything you expect your stereotypical popular high school girl to be: smug, vain, conceited, and incredibly shallow and superficial. When the two of them meet and start working together, Josh is determined to make a "fair and balanced" documentary, which means finding some shred of relatability and humanness in the designer-clad Dylan. For Dylan, Josh is an annoyance her daddy is forcing her to put up with and she's totally shocked to learn that "Geek Boy" isn't as horrible as she thought. He's actually kind of... sweet? And normal?

GEEK CHARMING, told in Dylan and Josh's rotating first-person viewpoints, is set up as your classic "opposites attract" story. In the first few chapters Dylan is even more annoying, self-centered, and shallow than you could possibly imagine. That, and she seems incredibly stupid. I mean, seriously, if you have a boyfriend of two years who REFUSES TO TALK TO YOU, there's obviously something wrong. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. So yes, Dylan got on my nerves; in the first scene all I wanted was for someone to come up and push her into the fountain her purse had fallen into, maybe slap some sense into her.

As for Josh, he was like a Wikipedia of film facts and incredibly motivated and dedicated to his goals. He was portrayed as the Ultimate Geek, which is why I was so surprised to find how absolutely boring I found him. While Dylan was superficial and conceited in the beginning, she eventually showed more depth and ultimately grew as a person while our "geek charming" was... dull. There was nothing about him that we didn't know from the beginning and aside from a superficial makeover from Dylan, he didn't change in any meaningful ways throughout the book. I hate that I couldn't like him more, but he just wasn't a compelling character.

What I did love about this book - despite the stereotypes - was the relationship that grew between Dylan and Josh. Under the guise of Josh's film project, a friendship develops and I can honestly say that it's one of the most refreshing boy/girl friendships I've read lately, made more so by the fact that they're so different from each other. And though I thought I knew how this book was going to go from before I finished the first page, the ending surprised me (in a good way) despite the abruptness of the conclusion. All in all, I enjoyed this book. It probably could have been a shorter book for what the story was, but it definitely had its awww moments, and the relationship that grew between the two main characters was awesome.

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