Cover:I like how the striking black and red refer to Jen's 'different' appearance and makes the book really stand out. I've not come across a cover similar to this (not saying there isn't one) and I really like it.
Plot:Jen has lived her life from foster home to foster home. She decides when and how she leaves. The home she's in now are not ok with her piercings, making her take them out. This leads to a bet with her friends- if she can turn goody goody geek Trevor over to the dark side with them they'll pay for a new piercing.
What Jen didn't expect was to fall for that geek.
This book kind of reminded me of a mix between Beauty and the Beast and 10 Things I Hate About You....so I LOVED it!
I'm a sucker for opposites attract romances and boy is this one!
Whar really made this book so enjoyable was the characterisation, particularly of Jen- sometimes I found her attitute humourous and made me smile, other times her defensive sarcasm made me wince, thinking 'ouch too far!' But you always felt for her.
I found her very relatable (despite me never being a foster child) and I'm sure that everyone experiences feelings of isolation, being on the frings and worthlessness at some point, that Jen experiences.
And Trev- Oh Trev. I think I love that geek- smart,sweet and funny, who wouldn't love him?!?
The romance was sweet and I found myself 'awwing' on more than one occasion and I was really rooting for them to be together.
Overall Cindy C. Bennett has created a wondeful story that completely absorbed me, when I wasn't reading it I was thinking about reading it. At first it may seem fairly light hearted but it does tackel some serious issues in a way that I enjoyed reading and didn't depress me.
A definiteread for fans of contemporary YA, it's up there with Stephanie Perkins and Simone Elkeles and was a 5/5 stars read for me.
Interview with Cindy C. Bennett
• Please tell me about your book. How did you come up with the concept for Geek Girl?
I needed to write a short story (1500 words) to enter a writing contest. As I sat down to think of ideas, for no particular reason the idea of a girl who considered herself bad popped into my head. I wanted to put her with someone who was the polar opposite, and the idea of a geek came to me. But how to get them together? That’s when I decided on the bet angle, and from there it pretty much wrote itself. Once I had finished, I could not get Jen & Trev out of my head. I thought about them constantly. They were demanding to have their story told in full, so I obliged.
• If you could work with any author who would it be?
I know this sounds a little strange from a contemporary YA author, but I’d honestly probably pick Stephen King. I think he’s an amazing, intelligent writer who knows the craft inside out and upside down. I believe I would learn invaluable lessons about writing from working with someone like him.
• Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I have a lot of favorites, so I’ll try to condense. My all-time favorite book is Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale. I’ve read that one many times. I also enjoy the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I’ve been on a bit of a dystopian kick lately. Some favorites from that are The Hunger Games series, the Maximum Ride series, and The Bounds series. I like most things by Stephen King or Dean Koontz. I recently read Sophie & Carter which I really liked. I quite enjoy the dark, twisted writings of James DeSalvo. The Clan of the Cave Bear books have long been a favorite of mine.
• How do you name your characters?
Sometimes their names just come to me, either as I’m imagining the story, or as I begin writing. Other times I have to think about it for some time, and so they have no name for a while. Then I’ll hear a name and it feels right, so that becomes the character’s name. I’ve even resorted to looking up baby name websites on occasion. Trevor from Geek Girl was originally called Tyler, but it just didn’t ever fit, it didn’t flow while I was writing. One day I accidentally typed Trevor, and voilà, I had his name. It has to feel right to me for me to keep it in place.
• What do you think people look for in a book?
I think most people are looking to be entertained. I don’t think most people care about the messages contained within, or any kind of high literature. Not that they never want those things, but an average person picking up a book is doing it for fun. I figure my job as an author is to provide that entertainment. I have no illusions (or disillusions) of writing the next Great American Novel. I only desire my reader to finish the book and be glad they spent the time within its pages.
• Who/what inspires you?
What inspires me most are people who have had something horrible in their life happen (abuse, neglect, being bullied, etc.), whether as a child or an adult, and instead of using that as an excuse to live the rest of their life either to inflict that same upon someone else, or to simply give up and refuse to do anything of worth, they use it to become more than they might have otherwise been. By that I don’t mean they have to go out and become Mother Theresa. It could just be living a good life, loving their friends and family, and being a respected, loving person. Or they may use their situation to inspire others. I completely admire those people. My next three most admired people are: policemen/firemen, servicemen, and teachers.
• Did you always want to write?
I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’ve always loved to read, and felt I could write good stories as well. But it really changed in high school. I had an English teacher in 9th & 10th grade Honors English who really taught me my deep love of literature and even more a desire to be a writer. He’d have us do a “10 Minute Writing” at the beginning of each class, where he would give us a random subject, and for 10 minutes we would just write. I looked forward to that more than anything else all day. He would tell me I wrote well, and encouraged me to think about writing more. That was when I really truly believed I could do it, I could be a real writer.
• If could only read 3 books for the rest of your life what would they be?
That would be a nightmare! But okay, here goes. Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale, Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz, and the Bible. There are some books I love more, but they are part of a series, and it would drive me crazy to not have the complete series.
• What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Definitely editing and formatting. Those two things are complete fun-suckers (meaning they suck the fun out of writing). By the time I’ve finished with those two things, I’m pretty sick of whichever book I’m working on.
• What’s the best thing about being an author?
The interaction with my readers and with other authors. Can you believe I didn’t even know about the world of book blogs before I began writing? What an invaluable resource those are not just for authors, but for readers as well. Who cares what some paid critic says about a book, I want to hear it from another reader, who’s posting reviews for the love of reading. Blogs and the internet have shrunk the world so that readers and writers can interact more closely. I love that. It’s also a pretty good day when I get an email from a reader who says they liked my book.
• What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Don’t give up, don’t be afraid of rejection (everyone is rejected multiple times), listen to people who read your work and give you pointers (not your mom or BFF, they’ll love it no matter what, try to find complete strangers), learn the craft (particularly grammar, spelling, punctuation), let the bad reviews roll off your back while learning from them, and write what you love, what you’re passionate about.
Thanks so much for stopping by my little blog on your blogtour :) - Erin