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Going Geek by Charlotte Huang

Going Geek by Charlotte Huang
Pub. Date: September 13, 2016
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Delacorte!)
Summary: It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school should have been perfect: amazing boyfriend, the coolest friends, the most desirable dorm.

But it’s far from it. To her dismay, Skylar’s not going to rule senior year because she’s stuck in Abbot House, a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing. Living with a group of strangers everyone thinks is lame is bad enough. Worse is that Skylar wasn’t exactly truthful about how she spent summer break in Los Angeles—and her little white lie is causing her once rock-solid romance to crumble fast. And when it turns out that Skylar’s best friend is the one responsible for having her booted from Lincoln? It’s an all-out war.

Stepping out of her comfort zone never felt so scary—or necessary. But everything is different now. Including, maybe, Skylar herself…
Genre: YA, Contemporary

Skylar is a girl who has it all: her mom became a household name with the uber popular movie Over It and has been working on a sequel and she’s about to start her senior year at her elite (aka very expensive) East Coast boarding school where she has the coolest friends and hands down the best dorm – not to mention the perfect boyfriend. Unfortunately for Skylar, her world gets flipped upside down: her mother just can’t seem to find a company to green-light the movie and with no income, Skylar’s once-privileged life has taken a serious turn for the worse. Instead of a summer spent with Hollywood heartthrobs, Skylar has instead been waiting tables at a country club.

With the ultimate bombshell: her parents might have to sell the house, Skylar counts down the days until she’s back at her beloved Winthrop…until she receives word that, due to a computer error, more students were placed in her dorm than it can house and living arrangements had to be shuffled. Just when she thought it couldn’t get any worse, Skylar discovers she’s to be moved from Lincoln to Abbott, aka the dorm with all the losers. Even more shocking is how her friends react to the news about what Skylar was really up to over summer break.

When I first heard about Going Geek I knew it was a book I wanted to read: a popular girl is suddenly thrown into the geek crowd. Total fish-out-of-water story and I couldn’t wait to dive in! Before I even started I knew how things would play out, Skylar would be outraged at being stuck with a group of social outcasts, said social outcasts would turn out to actually be really awesome, and eventually Skylar would have a dawning realization that how she had originally treated them was wrong. Easy peasy. That said, I still enjoyed the ride immensely.

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t sure how to feel about Skylar initially. She’s stuck up, indignant, believes she essentially rules the school. How could I possibly root for this girl? I won’t ruin anything, but it turns out she has a surprising amount of depth and her character felt genuine, like someone I could picture in the flesh. The other girls in her dorm were beautifully written too, from vegan Opal (who takes her yoga very seriously) to spunky Raksmey who holds her own rave every Thursday night. Abbott isn’t a large dorm, but the girls who lived within those walls were great and I would honestly love to be friends with them.

While Abbott’s residents were individuals, I have to admit that Lincoln’s students felt a little cartoon-y and caricature-ish. These girls were supposed to be Skylar’s squad, her absolute besties, but the moment they found her she was working over the summer, they turned on the Mean Girl charm real quick. They shunned her, caused her boyfriend to break up with her. When she tried to come up with events for the Social Calendar, her ideas were shot down or begrudgingly agreed to and then sabotaged. I get that they were the villains, but I would have liked to have seen something a little more realistic, their reaction to her news and treatment made it extremely hard to believe they had once been her closest friends.

While it took me a little while to warm up to Skylar’s rich girl attitude, once I did I was hooked. Going Geek is such a quick read and so perfect for these last lazy days of summer. Huang breathed life into characters I would love to know in person and that for me is huge. Although I could have done with less of the Mean Girl-esque drama, I really enjoyed this one and look forward to seeing what she does next!

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