Starting out the last month of the year on the right foot with this follow-up to 2016 best-seller The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. It’s no secret by now that I absolutely adored said anthology when I picked it up last year. I even went back to reread my review recently and got to experience all those feelings of fun rush back in, like when I had first read them.
So I was more than ready to dive into this new world, where cartoonists and professional geeks tell their intimate, heartbreaking, and inspiring stories about love, sex and, dating in this comics and prose anthology.
But the one thing I came to notice were how few illustrated stories there were compared to The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. This follow-up paves the way for more essays and short stories to be included. That’s not to say that I enjoyed the written tales less, as my favorites below will testify. Still, I wish we would’ve gotten a couple more comics thrown in the mix.
On a brighter note, The Secret Loves of Geeks had me wrapped in the storyline from page one. Starting with Cecil Castellucci’s piece about finding love while camped out for six weeks (!) in line for The Phantom Menace, reminiscent of Rainbow Rowell’s Kindred Spirits.
“We were creating our own microsociety and it was all centered around this thing that we loved.”And then moving on to the next story by Saadia Muzaffar on online (Tinder) dating and doing things different this time. It had me enthralled from start to finish. I was entirely invested to see if the whole “get to know me in a way only I knew me,” without disclosing any Google-identifiable details, would work.
I also came to notice how “The [isolating] feeling of otherness… of never quite fitting in, and of not knowing how to act, or how to be interacted with…” was ever present in this anthology, and I felt the core of it.
The last written piece I want to highlight was Hope Larson’s story: “I wanted to be seen, and yet remain unknown.” She had me eating out of the palm of her hand while recalling her meeting someone “who lights up the night and slows down time.”
Finally, I’d like to highlight some of my favorite illustrated pieces:
The art style and colors are dreamy in the above.
Also, this panel from Bear With by Terry Blas:I wasn’t expecting to find a piece bringing me back to my days of loving Miranda, but I’m so here for this. Also, I cherish the tiny detailed shout-out to the iconic “What have you done today to make you feel proud.”
And last but not least, to quote from the introduction, Cara Ellison and Maddie Chaffer rage against the hypocrisy of controlling women’s sexual fantasies in “Women Love Jerks.”
Overall, it was validating and so incredibly affirming to read through all the different stories presented in The Secret Loves of Geeks. I’m rooting for more anthologies like this to come out in the near future.
ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: February 13th 2018