Once Upon a Comic-Con by Maggie Dallen

Once Upon a Comic-Con Cover

Beauty and the Geek, cute, G-rated, YA romantic dramedy

Once Upon a Comic-Con (Geeks Gone Wild Book 3) by Maggie Dallen

Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: April 17, 2019
Pages: 174 pages
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

This is the third book in a trilogy called “Geeks Gone Wild.” Each book can be read as a standalone, since each has a satisfying HEA ending with no cliffhanger. However, each book is a fun read, and it is possible to get extra enjoyment out of Once Upon a Comic-Con if you read the other two, in order, before reading it.

This trilogy is about three high school seniors, Matt, Margo and Suzie, who are “geeks.” They have been best friends since second grade. Each is the protagonist of their own book. Book 1, Love at First Fight, stars Margo. Book 2, My Virtual Prince Charming, showcases Suzie. Book 3, this book, is Matt’s moment in the spotlight. There is an overarching plot that connects all three books which is instigated by Matt, a Geeks Gone Wild hashtag on social media which broadcasts unflattering photos of the snooty popular crowd at their school, Grover High. Matt started it in revenge for cruel bullying by the worst actors in this crowd directed against Suzie and Margo which occurs at the beginning of Book 1. However, this hashtag has evolved into a continuing, destructive back-and-forth online, not just between the elites and the hoi polloi at Grover High, but the snide elites have even begun turning against each other.

In the process of this ongoing conflict, Julia Farrow, a senior at Grover High, has landed in the cross-hairs of Cara, one of her fellow cheerleaders, who is the ultimate Mean Girl. She has always been jealous of Julia, who is not only beautiful, head cheerleader, and an honor student, she’s also unpretentious, kind and friendly, the dead opposite of arrogant, cruel, and domineering Cara. Everyone admires and respects Julia, until the day Cara outs her under the notorious Geeks Gone Wild hashtag as a closet comic geek. Cara posts for all to see a photo of Julia proudly wearing a Super Girl costume at a Comic Convention (Comic-Con). Suddenly, all of Julia’s so-called friends are lined up behind evil Cara ridiculing Julia and, in the process, the boy whom Julia had recently begun dating, a handsome member of the popular crowd, callously dumps her.

Julia knows exactly who to blame for this social disaster. At this point in time, everyone knows who is behind the notorious hashtag, the school paper’s editor-in-chief, a fellow senior named Matt Cartwright. She knows he can’t do anything directly to repair the damage to her image that Cara has done, but at the very least he can show he’s sorry he started the hashtag war by bringing her along with him to the Comic-Con he’s been assigned to cover for his internship with the local newspaper.

This is a cute, G-rated, young-adult, romantic comedy, with a strong subplot of “coming of age,” as both Julia and Matt, in an entertaining way, learn important lessons about life. This is a classic, “enemies to romance” plot which is written in both points of view of Julia and Matt. Both are sympathetic, compelling protagonists, and their mutual attraction to each other is believable and fun to read about. Kudos as well to the author for creating a unique setting for this story at a comic-con.

I am personally a big fan of romantic comedy, and Ms. Dallen excels at writing it. I have enjoyed all three books in this delightful trilogy, and this book, in particular, represents an excellent finale to the series.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 4

Hero: 4

Romance Plot: 4

Coming of Age Plot: 4

Setting: 5

Writing: 4

Overall: 4

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