Monday, May 10, 2010

Geektastic, ed. Holly Black & Cecil Castellucci

Geektastic, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci. New York: Little, Brown, 2009. ISBN-10: 0316008095; ISBN-13: 978-0316008099. 416 p.

Plot Summary
In this collection, 15 of the most popular YA authors of today share stories of what it means to be a geek. Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci share their take on the differences (and similarities) of Star Wars and Star Trek fans at a convention. David Levithan tells of jealousy and competition between members of a quiz bowl team. Tracy Lynn shares the story of a cheerleader who wants to become proficient in geek-speak to grow closer to her boyfriend. Other authors in the collection include Garth Nix, M.T. Anderson, Scott Westerfeld, Libba Bray, and more (a complete list of authors, as well as short summaries of each story, can be found here).

Critical Evaluation
As a former band and drama geek, it was a joy to read these stories of other geeks and their obsessions. From Dungeons and Dragons and LARPing to drama and music to Comic-Con and online personalities, each author who contributed to this collection has something unique to add. Teens (and adults!) who have an obsession will enjoy discovering the many types of geeks out there and relishing the different ways that people enjoy their passions. While every story may not appeal to the reader, any geek is sure to find a story in the collection that resonates with them.

Reader’s Annotation
What does it mean to be a geek? This collection of stories from top YA authors, including David Levithan, Scott Westerfeld, and Libba Bray, offers different perspectives on the answer to this question.

Editor Information
Holly Black is an American writer best known for writing the Spiderwick Chronicles and Modern Fairie series. Born in New Jersey in 1971, "Black grew up in a decrepit Victorian house piled with novels and oddments and that her mother, a painter and doll-maker, fed her books on ghosts and fairies that formed much of her later views on the world.  Today, Holly lives in West Long Branch, New Jersey with her husband of 10 years, working as a full-time writer and an avid collector of rare folklore volumes, spooky dolls and outrageous hats" ( article). She graduated with an English degree from The College of New Jersey, and worked as a production editor of medical journals while studying at Rutgers University. She says her favorite thing in her house is her secret library (link). She can be found online at her website ( and on Livejournal (

Cecil Castellucci has written several novels for young adults, including Boy Proof, The Queen of Cool, and the graphic novel The Plain Janes. Her website states that "her books have been on the American Library Association’s (ALA’s) BBYA, Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Great Graphic Novels for Teens lists, as well as the NYPL Books for the Teen Age and the Amelia Bloomer list." She has also written the libretto for  a modern opera as well as other performance pieces. A complete list of works can be found at  She blogs at

Short Stories

Curriculum Ties
English: Short story format

Booktalking Ideas
-Read the passage from the cheerleader story (by Tracey Lynn) as she first interacts with her geek mentors. It's a great introduction to the tone and subject of the rest of the stories in the collection.

Reading Level/Interest Age
Grades 9+ (School Library Journal)

Challenge Issues
Language and sexuality, neither of which is overwhelming.

I included this book because it appeared on YALSA's Teens Top Ten nomination list from 2010. I also heard of it when looking up more books by Bryan Lee O'Malley (of Scott Pilgrim fame)--he contributed to the illustrations.


Steven R. McEvoy said...

Thanks for the link, appreciate it. I have now read another short story or a book by almost every contributor in this book. I have also read all the books by three of them. It is an amazing collection.


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