The stepmonster is at it again Raffles, discount coupons, and magazine sweepstakes lay strewnacross the kitchen table My stepmom sits straight backed in one ofthe creaky wooden chairs, delicately cutting out another coupon, dyedblonde hair piled on top of her head in perfect ringlets, lipstick the colorof mens heartblood Her white blouse is spotless, her dark pencil skirtneatly ironed She must have a meeting with a potential client today Sweetie, a little faster this morning She snaps her fingers for meto hurry up I shuffle over to the counter and pry open the coffee tin The smell isstrong and cheapthe only kind I was raised on Which is all the better,seeing as we cant afford expensive coffee, although I know that neverstops the stepmonster from ordering her double shot dirty chai soy latteno whip every morning and charging it to one of her dozens of creditcards Catherinemy stepmompicks up another magazine to cut Nocarbs this morning Im feeling bloated and I have a meeting with a couplethis afternoon Big wedding plans Shes a debutante, if you couldbelieve that In Charleston I can believe it Everyones either a debutante,a Daughter of the Confederacy, or a politicians kidThornhill orFishburne or Van Noy or Pickney or a handful of old Charlestonian names And I couldnt care less I dump two scoops of coffee into the machineplus an extra onefor good measure It feels like a three scoop kind of day Maybe adding caffeine to their morning will get my stepmother and the twins outbefore nine Thats not too much to wish for, is it I glance up at the clock on the microwave am Unless thetwins start moving at warp speed, Ill be cutting it real close I say asilent prayer to the Lord of Light or Q or whoever is listening Please,for once, let the stepmonster and the twins leave the house on time Starfield history will be made today atam sharp on Hello, America,and I wont miss it I refuse Finally, after years of delays and directorchanges and distribution snafus, the movie is happeninga reboot, butbeggars cant be choosersand today theyre making the long awaitedannouncement of the official film platform The lead actors, the plot,everything Ive missed Starfieldmarathons and midnight rereleases ofthe final episode in theaters and convention appearances because ofCatherine and the twins, but Im not missing this They want to say their vows under the magnolia trees at BooneHall Plantation, Catherine goes on You know, ever since Ryan Reynoldsand his wife got married there, that place is always bookedCatherine is a wedding planner Ive watched her spend entire weekendshand sewing sequins onto table toppers and hand pressing invitationsat the print shop downtown The way she plans a venue, downto the type of cloth on the tables and the color of flowers in the vases,making every wedding look like a magical land of unicorns Youd thinkshe does it because of her own happily ever after cut short, but thats alie She wants her weddings in Vogueand InStyle, the kind you Instagramand Pinterest a hundred times over She wants the renown of it,and shes sunk all of Dads life insurance payout into her business Well,her business and everything she claims is essential to her image I want to at least looklike I shop at Tiffanys, she says, talking to herself than to meIts the same spiel again and again How she used to shop at TiffanysHow she used to attend galas at Boone Hall Plantation How she usedto be happily married with two wonderful daughters She never mentionsme, her stepdaughter Catherine finishes cutting her coupon with a sigh But that was all before Before your father left me and the twins here in this dreadfullittle house And there it is Like its my fault that shes blown all her savingsLike its Dads fault I take out Dads Starfield mugthe only thing leftof his in our houseand pour myself a cup of coffee Outside, the neighbors dog begins to bark at a passing track suitedjogger We live on the outskirts of the famous historical district, the housenot quite old enough to be a tourist attraction but not new enough tobe renovatednot that we could afford it anyway Two streets over andyou run into the College of Charleston Our house was one of the lastones left after Hurricane Hugo decimated the coast of South Carolinabefore I was born The house has its leaks, but all good and old thingsdo Ive lived here my whole life I dont know anything else Catherine absolutely hates it The coffee smell is rich and nutty I take a sip, and I almost melt Itsheaven Catherine clears her throat, and I pour coffee into her favoritemug white with pink flowers Two sugars the only sweetness shesplurges on each day , lightly stirred, with three ice cubes She takes it without even looking up from her magazine And then,when the neighbor dog lets out a sharp howl, she sets down her cupYou would thinkdogs would learn when to shut up Giorgio hasenough on his plate without that dog barking Catherine likes to pretend shes on a first name basis with everyone,but especially people she deems important Mr RamirezGiorgiois abanker, which means he has a lot of money, which means hes an influentialpart of the country club, which means hes important If it doesnt shut up soon, she goes on in that cool, detached voiceof hers, Ill muzzle it myself His names Franco, I remind her And he doesnt like being tied up Well, we all must get used to disappointment, she replies, andtakes another sip of coffee Her blood colored lips turn into a scowland she shoves the mug back at me Too bitter Try again Begrudgingly, I put in another cube of ice to water it down She takesthe coffee and tries another sip It must be sufficiently soulless, becauseshe sets it down beside her stack of coupons and goes back to scanningthe gossip column in her magazine WellShe prods I hesitate, looking from her coffee to her, wondering if Ive forgottensomething Ive been doing this for seven yearsI dont think Immissing anything Outside, the dog gives a pitiful howl Oh She raises a pencil thin eyebrow How am I supposed to havea calm morning with that racket she goes on in that overworked,all knowing voice of hers If Robin was still hereI glance back at her Open my mouth Begin to say that I miss Dadtoo I want him here toobut something stops me Or I stop myselfI blame it on the lack of coffee One sip doesnt give you the insta couragea cup does Besides, Im not trying to make Catherine mad Imtrying to get her caffeinated, placated, and out the door She flips the page in her magazine and picks up the scissors again tocut out a coupon for a winter coat Its June In South CarolinaBut then Catherine clears her throat Danielle, do something to get that mutt to quiet down But Now, Catherine says, flicking her hand for me to hurry up Sure, my queen, I mutter under my breath While Catherine putsdown her coupons and picks up an article about Jessica Stones latestred carpet look, I slip last nights steak tips out of the fridge and hurrythrough the back door Poor Franco sits in the mud outside of his doghouse, thumping histail in a puddle He looks at me through the broken slat in the fence, amuddy brown Dachshund in a dirty red collar It rained last night andhis doghouse flooded, just like I told Mr Ramirezsorry, Giorgioitwould Mr Ramirez brought Franco home a few weeks after he marriedhis second ex wife, I guess as a dry run for having a kid But since hisdivorce a few years ago, he pretty much lives at work, so Franco is thisforgotten idea that never panned out, with the flooded doghouse toprove it At least the poor Frank can float I slide the container through the slat and rub the dog behind theears, slathering my fingertips in mud Youre a good boy, yes you are Once I save up enough, Ill spring the both of us out of here Whatchathink of that, copilot His tail pat pats excitedly in the mud Ill evenget us matching sunglasses The whole nine yards Francos tongue lolls out of the side of his mouth in agreementMaybe they dont even make doggy sunglasses, but for a while Ive hadthis picture in my head me and Franco crammed into a beat up car,heading out on the only highway out of townwearing sunglasses, ofcourseand headed straight for LA Ever since I can remember, my fingers have itched to make thingsTo write I have filled journals, finished fanfics, escaped again and againinto the pages of someone elses life If Dad was rightif I could doanything, be anyone I would make a show like Starfield and tell otherweird kids that they arent alone And after next yearmy senior yearIm going to do it Or start to Study screenwriting Write scripts Ivealready got a portfolio, kind of Right now I satisfy my need to write byblogging on my site Rebelgunner,where I cover the one thing I knowfor certain Starfield That and the money Im scraping together from my job at the food truck are gonna be my ticket out of here One day Danielle my stepmom screeches from the kitchen window I push the steak tips under the fence and Franco dives headfirst intothe bowl Maybe in another universe, boy, I whisper Because for now, myhome is here This place is too full of memories to leave, even if I wanted to Dadtechnically left the house to me, but Catherines in charge of it while Imstill a minor So until then DanielleUntil then Im here with my stepmother and her daughters All right Coming With one last scratch behind Franks ear, I saygoodbye, make a mental note to return later for the dish, and dart backto the kitchen Girls Catherine calls again, slinging a Gucci purse over her shoulderHurry up or youll be late for Mr Craigs lesson Girls Girls Youbetter be awake or so help me IllHer footsteps thud up to theirroom and I glance at the clock Theres no way theyll be out ofhere in time Not unless I speed things along Begrudgingly, I assemble kale and strawberries and almond milk to fix the twins morning smoothies Catherine has, of course, left hermagazine splayed on the counter, so Darien Freemans face is grinningup at me My lips curl into a sneer There were rumors that he hadsigned on to the new Starfieldremake, but thats about as big of a jokeas saying Carmindor will be played by a pug riding a skateboard Youdont put a soap opera star in charge of an entire galaxy Ugh I press blend and try not to think about it Upstairs, there are muffled thumps as Catherine drags the twins outof bed This happens every morning, like clockwork My summertime morning routine goes like this Wake upcoffee,extra scoop for Mondays Catherine stoops over the morning papers,cutting out coupons Lingers too long on purses and pretty dressesSays something passive aggressive about her old life Orders me to fixbreakfast Instead, I feed the Frank Catherine goes upstairs to yell atthe twins for forgetting to set their alarms I still dont fix breakfastTen minutes later, the twins are fighting over the shower, and Catherinereminds me that she is the one with the deed to the house, Danielle,and unless I want her to cash in this place for a luxury condo as ifthis house would ever get that muchI had better fix breakfast So Iblend up their Grinch vomit, the twins grab their matching tumblers,and Catherine shoves them out the door for tennis lessons The rest of my day is never much better Ill be five minutes lateto work, but my coworker Sagethe food truck owners daughteristoo engrossed in her Harajuku fashion magazines to even notice Thenits eight hours in the Magic Pumpkin, doling out healthy food truckfritters to bankers in tight business suits and soccer moms with babiesbouncing on their hips Then Im elbowing my way through the supermarketarmed with coupons that make the cashier roll her eyes when Iget in line everyone hates coupons Then home again for family dinner,made by me Cue the twins mean comments on my cooking, thentheir disappearance upstairs to film a beauty vlog about the perfect cateye or best eyeshadow pairing with ruby lips or whatever Then dishes,leftovers, one last check on Franco, and bed Well, sorta Then late night reruns of Starfieldon my Dads boxy TVin the corner of my room Maybe I write a blog post about the episode,if Im feeling inspired Check all my Stargunner fansites for news I fallasleep to the Federation Princes voice Look to the stars Aim Ignite The next morning I wake up, and we do everything all over againBut this timeplot twist I get to work on time Maybe Sage actuallytalks to me for once Maybe the twins are nice Maybe someone stuffstwo airplane tickets to LA into the tip jar Maybe I write a love letterto episodeinstead of criticizing the integrity of the characters as thecolony blows up Maybe I dream about Dad The blender growls as though its in pain I let it rest and shake thekale smoothie into two separate tumblers, nervously glancing at themicrowave clock am After sliding the twins breakfasts across the counter like the seasonedfood service employee I am, I root around in the cabinet for thejar of peanut butter I tucked away last night I protect my peanut butterlike Smeagol protects the One Ring mine, preciousno matter whatdiet we are on as a household Right now, Catherines on a paleo kick,but last month it was raw foods Before that South Beachor was itAtkins Something with bacon Next week will be low fat or low saltorwhatever shes craving Whatever food she can make me make bythreatening to sell this houseDads house I scrape out the last bit of peanut butter from the bottom of the jar,savoring its taste on my tongue I take my victories wherever I can getthem Upstairs, the shower turns off with a groaning of pipes Finally Thetwins are taking their sweet time this morning Usually they enjoy tennispractice at the country club because their friends are always thereIts the hangout spot if youre popular and rich As for me Catherinesalways not so subtly insisting that the only thing Im fit for at the clubis toting someones golf clubs I dispose of the peanut butter jar in the garbage and check my indestructiblebrick phone, which I inherited after Dad died Anothergrand idea from the stepmonster, another way to save the moneywe barely have the twins were allowed to buy new ones, but if I wanteda phone, I had to take what I could find in the house Its hugeyoucan practically fend off a ship full of Reavers with itbut at least it tellsthe time am Cant they leave any sooner Just once Just once be outof the house byam Theyre upstairs, but Chloes nasally voice can be heard clear as abell But, Mom, Darien Freemans going to be on TV this morning I will not miss that My heart sinks If Chloe commandeers the TV, theres no way Ill getto watch Hello, America We can be a few minutes late, echoes Calliope Cal sides withChloe on everything Theyre the same age as I amrising seniorsbutwe might as well be on different planets Chloe and Calliope are starterson the varsity tennis team Organizers of the homecoming committeeProm leaders And they dont mind using their popularity to remindeveryone at school that Im practically dirt That without their family,Id be an orphan Thanks Like I could forget that We cant miss this, Chloe says We have to watch it and vlogabout it or everyone else will get their reactions up before us And thatwould kill us, Mom It would kill us Sweeties, Im paying Mr Craig a handsometuition to teach yougirls tennis I am not wasting your varsity positions next year for a televisionprogram Catherine descends the stairs and reenters the kitchen,rustling through her purse Danielle, have you seen my cell phone I reach over the counter to unhook it from the wall charger Hereit is Now why did you put it there She takes the phone from me withouta second glance and begins scrolling through her Facebook feedOh, she adds, and remember, tomorrow is Yeah, I say I know Like Id forget the day my own father diedShould I get orchids this year or Girls Catherine yells, checking her watch Get down here now Fine They trample down the stairs in their tennis whites and grabtheir smoothies from the counter The twins are the spitting image ofCatherine Light hair, hazel eyes, pouty heartbreaker lips Chloe andmy stepmom are cut from the same cloth, but Cals cut a little different,a little quieter I think thats because she takes after her own dad, whoran off when the girls were young and married the daughter of someAtlantic City casino owner Right now, they both have their blonde hair pulled back into tightponytails, and theyd be impossible to tell apart if you didnt know Calliopealways matches her earrings to her purple glasses, and Chloe has anew nail color every daytoday, a sweet summer blue Sometimes evil comes in disguise This isnt fair Why doesnt Elle have to go to these stupid lessons Chloe whines Girls My stepmother tsks, putting on a patient smile Elle has tomake do with the talents she does have I try to ignore her as I grab my house keys from the bowl in the foyerand put them in my satchel, pretending like Im getting ready for workSometimes I think Catherine just forgets Im in the room Youre going to ruin our career, Chloe accuses, sucking on hergreen smoothie We need to be on top of this Everyone else will be tweeting about it, Calliope adds Ever since we got a hundred thousand views because of our SeasideCove makeup tutorial, people expect us to be on our game GIRLS Catherine jabs a pink nail toward the door Four hundreddollar lessons NOW Calliope rolls her eyes, grabs her purse from the rack in the foyer,and storms out the door to the red Miata another necessity for Catherinesimage Catherine glares at the remaining twin If there is onething Chloe cant stand up to, its her mothers disapproval She grabsher purse toothe exact same as Cal has, except pinkand stomps outafter her sister I dont envy that ride to practice My stepmom gives one last victory fluff to her hair in the foyermirror Are you sure you dont want me to put in a good word for youat the club, Danielle Im sure theyd take you back even after yourincidentlast year Youve learned, havent you To never trust a guy again Sure I pull on a polite smile No,thanks Its the best place for someone like you, you know She shakes herhead Youll see Im right in the end With that, she closes the door I wait until the Miata pulls out of the driveway before I dart intothe living room and turn on the TV Perfect The food trucks supposedto pick me up at ten to head to the RiverDogs baseball gameacross town, so I have plenty of time For the next hour, I will be baskingin perhaps the biggest news in Starfield history This moment to end all momentsor maybe begin them A new Starfield for a new generation I like the possibility in that Grabbing the remote from the coffee table, I sit down cross leggedin front of theinch TV The black screen flickers, and anticipationblooms in my chest I wish Dad could be here to see this I wish he couldbe sitting beside me Hed be just as excitedno, hed beexcitedBut the reality is, I dont really have anyone to fangirl about this withAbout who will finally don the Federation starwings and follow in thelegendary footsteps of David Singh, the original Prince Carmindor Ivebeen blogging about it for months in my little corner of the world, butno one really reads it Rebelgunner is therapeutic,like a journalThe closest I have to friends is the online Stargunner community, whereeveryones been speculating about the casting maybe the guy from thelatest Spider Man movie Or maybe that cute Bollywood star whos inall the Tumblr GIFsets Whoever it is, theyd better not whitewash myprince On the TV, Hello, Americais wrapping up a segment about pets doinggoofy things on the internet The host beams, and then the cameracuts to the audience Its full of girlslots of girlsand all of them arecheering Holding signs Wearing T shirts with the same name scribbledacross them A name that makes the anticipation in my chest grow coldand drop like an atomic bomb into my stomach Darien Freeman The girls throw up their hands for the camera, screaming his nameOne persons name Some look like theyre literally going to swoon I dont swoon My excitement makes a U turn into dread Nono, this cant be right I must have the wrong channel I jab the remote info button Hello, America, the caption states, andI want nothingthan for the Black Nebula to swallow me whole What are the odds What are the odds of him being on the samemorning talk show What are the odds of him being the guest appearanceon the show that will announce the Starfield cast But the host is smiling, and says a few choice words, and suddenlyall my fears come to light The Starfield logo blazes across the screen behind her This momenthas become a train wreck I cant look away from Its my entire fandomcrashing into a burning, bubbling pit of despair No No, its not him It cant be him Darien Freeman is not my Federation Prince CarmindorSpringKids Indie Next List Pick Goodreads Choice Award finalist for Best Young Adult FictionNamed to Seventeen sLife Changing Books You Have to Read This Summer ListGeekerellahas must read written all over it A fun romantic comedy with coming of age sensibilities and authentically voiced teens, this novel hits all the YA book love buttons Geekerellais simply delightful USA Today s Happy Ever AfterFairytale and fandom collide in this sweet, heartfelt, entertaining rom com BustleAlegit love letter to geekdom Paste MagazinePay attention, fangirls, because Ashley Postons Geekerellais about to be your favorite YA romance Sweety High The geekiest spin on Cinderella you ll ever read HypableGeeks and non geeks will discover their inner fangirl when they fall for this fan tastic book that celebrates fan doms, fan tasy, and shipworthy romance JustineThis geeky twist on a classic Cinderella story is honestly the most adorable thing ever Her CampusThis charming and funny twist on Cinderella is the perfect YA fandom fairytale BNTeen blogWith geekily adorable characters, a show thats part Star Trekand part Firefly, a cosplay contest, and a food truck fairy godmother, this is a love letter to fandom Required reading for geeks everywhere BooklistA celebration of fandom and happily ever afters, this feel good reimagining hits all the right notes Publishers WeeklyGeekerellais funny and real, adorable yet heart wrenching, and a wonderful new YA reimagining of a classic story Its everything you could want in a book, and it deserves attention from all fans of contemporary YAAva M BN Teen Blog Geekerellacouldn t be sweeter orfun If you re a fan of Fangirl, or a fan yourself, this is the version of Cinderella for youNew York Journal ofBooks Geekerellahits the spot Its an uplifting, adorable take on a classic fairy tale with a lovable heroine and a story that would have delightedyear old me, but actually did manage to elate jaded, cynical adult me Ashley Poston gets my stamp of approval on thisCinderellastoryGeeks of DoomHeirloom cosplay, fairy godfriends, and a new fandom with the swooniest OTP Equal parts Fangirland This Is What Happy Looks Like, Geekerellais so Frakking Good Lily Anderson, author of The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is YouI ve never had this much fun reading a fairytale retelling Geekerellais hilarious, packed with emotional punches, and steeped in so much love for fandom and con culture We ve all known the Cinderella story since preschool, but Ashley Poston s version feels so fresh and real that I genuinely worried Elle might not make it to the ballAlison Cherry, author of Look Both Waysand For RealFun, funny, and fan tastic I rooted for Elle and Darien from page one Sarah Ahiers, author of Assassins Heartand Thiefs Cunning Adorkable, geektastic, nerderiffic however you describe it, Geekerellais scrumptious Ashley Postons fandom is one youll definitely want to join Tiffany Schmidt, author of Break Me Like A Promiseand Bright Before SunriseAn utterly charming take on Cinderella that sparkles with witty banter, Geekerellais the perfect YA fandom fairytale Dahlia Adler, author of Behind the Scenesand Just VisitingAfun, can t put down re telling of the classic Cinderellastory The Nerdy GirlieAmust read foranyone who considers themselves a geek, nerd, fan, or just awesome YA Bibliophile Afresh, fun, charming retelling of Cinderella just for fangirls, with wonderfully human characters, great storytelling, and fun little detailsPage Turners


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