I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
To be perfectly frank, I saw the title for this book, got very excited, and clicked the approve me button before I did any research on this book. My bad, but it looked like something I really wanted. I consider myself a bit of a fangirl, and I was looking forward to maybe finding out more about some of my obsessions. Maybe some in depth articles about Doctor Who, or fangirl culture, maybe about what women bring to the table, or female roles in different media. This, alas, was not what a got. I saw handbook for girl geeks, and didn't realize it was going to be an introduction for girls who want to be girl geeks.
As an introduction it was adequate, but it was really only a shallow introduction. When the author talks about the characteristics of different fandoms it was very superficial, trite, and a bit stereotypical. Not all fans own the key chain, the wallet, the plushies, and gamers are a very diverse group. Also what about people who don't fit in just one group, or people like me who think fandom nicknames are silly, and divisive, and often times lead to fandom snobbery, and elitism. None of which are positive things in my book. It also lends credence to the idea that all fangirls are young, which is ageism, and not okay.
Another small sticking point was the author's instance that everyone lived near something nerdy and cool. Sorry, but if you want to be that I live near a cool old school arcade/bar, board game café, or other such thing, that's a bet I'm going to win. Not everyone has a college in their town, and even if they don't not everyone's local community college has fun nerdy groups, especially ones open to the public at large. There are still those of us living it pretty rural isolation, and to assume everyone lives in or near a more metropolitan area is a little presumptuous.
One of the other problems I had was a bit too much sisterhood is awesome kind of stuff. I understand that it's a handbook for girl geeks, but not all trolls, and people who harass you online are going to be men, and not everyone who stands up for you is going to be female. Things are more than a simple binary, and I don't want to lose that to a girls good boys bad mentality. It wasn't a huge part of the book, but there were parts that seemed to fall into this simplistic view, and it irked me. Another small sticking point was the part where the author extolls girls to be the Doctor not the companion, and it made me wonder if the author had even watched Doctor Who. The Doctor's companions are an amazing, strong, talented, and diverse group. I'd be proud to be a companion.
I think the interviews were a nice touch. It was nice hearing from a diverse group of women working it a variety of different industries, and genres. It was nice to see their unique viewpoints, and messages. It added a lot to the book, and would be nice, especially for younger readers. I appreciated the emphasis on fandom etiquette, and respect for those that don't agree with you. I've seen a bit too much fan shaming, nasty personal attacks, and general nastiness to think it isn't needed. It makes me sad that such a focus needs to be played on how to treat people who like different things than you do, but it's nice to see it addressed. There were also some great resources, links, and new games, comics, and media to explore.
Overall, this would have worked are a handbook for younger readers, if it had been tightened up a bit, been better focused, and given a bit more depth. Maybe the author tried to tackle too many things in this book, and narrowing it might have made it feel a bit more cohesive.