John Hughes meets Comic Con in this novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him that’s an “unabashed love letter and delightful inside joke for comic enthusiasts” (Kirkus Reviews).
Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy...
Archie and Veronica...
Althena and Noth...
...Graham and Roxy?
Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.
But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.
When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be...even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.
About the Author
Sarvenaz Tash is the author of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love (a YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant YA Readers), Three Day Summer, The Mapmaker and the Ghost, and Virtually Yours. She was born in Tehran, Iran, and grew up on Long Island, New York. She received her BFA in film and television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. This means she got to spend most of college running around and making movies. (It was a lot of fun.) She has dabbled in all sorts of writing, including screenwriting, copywriting, and professional tweeting. Sarvenaz currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Read an Excerpt
The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love
“I KNOW WE’VE BEEN FRIENDS for such a long time, Roxana. I only have about five years’ worth of memories without you in them. But… ”
Here’s where the next panel would come. And in an ideal world, I’d ask Roxy herself to help me figure it out. She would sketch something, sometimes just a ghost of a line, and on the best of days, a dying ember would ignite and suddenly I’d know exactly what came next. I need her. I need her to help me figure out how to tell her I love her.
I know what it has to feel like: epic. But also sweet. Like the romantic subplot of a superhero movie. Like that rainy, upside-down kiss in Spider-Man. But knowing what something is supposed to convey and actually getting it to do that is incredibly hard. Ask any writer.
My phone buzzes from my nightstand, a longer buzz than I’m used to. A phone call instead of a text? I see Roxana’s hastily sketched self-portrait flash across my screen and feel an inexplicable panic flit across my stomach, blaring a run-on sentence like an LED display: Oh god something must be wrong if she’s calling me is she dead she’s dead or worse oh god she has a boyfriend now and they’re getting married…
I try not to let this spigot of crazy flow out into my voice, but as it turns out, I don’t get the chance to say anything.
“GrahamGrahamGraham, guess what? He’s coming!” Her voice is completely out of breath, like my stepsister sounds after a track meet, and I have absolutely no idea what she’s talking about. But I smile anyway. Probably one of the stars of the endless British TV shows she’s always binge-watching is going to be in a Broadway play. I should check my bank account to see if I can afford a ticket anytime soon. I grab my iPad and hit the banking app.
“Who—” I start, but she doesn’t let me finish.
I stop typing mid-password, stunned. “Coming?” Coming where? Surely not to Long Island. Or even anywhere in the eastern United States. Or anywhere at all that could be pinpointed on a map. Zinc hasn’t been seen, interviewed, or photographed since November 3, 1995. Not even five years ago when the reboot of The Chronicles of Althena happened. Not even six months ago when the film adaptation was finally announced, cast, and actually shooting.
“To Comic Con. New York Comic Con. Go check the boards. Go check the boards now.”
I zip over to my laptop and type in: z-men.net. First message of the forum, in capital letters, is exactly what Roxy has just told me.
I can’t believe it. Robert Zinc, creator of my favorite series ever and the J. D. Salinger of the comic book world, is coming out of hiding. Has agreed to an exclusive forty-five-minute, in-person Q&A. And it’s open to the public at New York Comic Con, taking place three weeks from now only an hourlong train ride away. Roxy and I already have passes for the weekend, only…
“It’s on Friday,” Roxana says, with an incredulous finality. “At three p.m.” Her voice is flat.
“Don’t you think your parents would let you skip school for this?” I urge. “This is once in a lifetime…not even once in a regular lifetime. Once in a Time Lord lifetime.”
“Obviously. I know that. And you know that. But explaining it to Maman and Baba… ” She takes in a deep breath. “But I will try. Oh, how I will try.”
In the meantime, I’ve frantically clicked over to the NYCC website, even though I’m positive Friday passes have already sold out (they have). Fine, I’ll take care of that later. Right now, I need to figure out how getting into the Q&A is going to work.
It’s just three sentences: “Robert Zinc, creator of the once-cult The Chronicles of Althena, will be sitting down for an incredibly rare Q&A with Solomon Pierce-Johnson, the director of the upcoming The Chronicles of Althena movie. This event will need exclusive wristbands that can be obtained Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. at the Javits Center. One wristband per attendee.”
“Right,” I say, my brain going into organizational overdrive. Once hologrammed thought projections become a reality, this will be the point at which a large spreadsheet will beam out of my forehead. “Nine a.m. tickets means we have to line up on Thursday night. Probably starting at nine p.m.” I have personally never done this before, but I know, generally, how tickets to hot panels work. If they’re handing them out first thing in the morning, the die-hard fans will line up as soon as the previous night’s convention closes. And really, who is Comic Con made of if not boatloads of die-hard fans?
Roxy sighs, then laughs a little bitterly. “No problem, right? Not only can I cut school on Friday to go, but I’ll definitely be allowed to spend Thursday hanging out on a street. In New York City. Overnight. This is the start to an amazing fantasy series.” Roxy’s parents are incredibly strict. She often chalks it up to them being, as she calls it, “maximum Persian.”
“We’ll figure it out, Roxy. I promise,” I say fiercely, my brain spreadsheet starting a whole new tab for how to get Roxy to NYCC on Friday.
I hear her breathing relax a tiny bit and she laughs again, this time a little more freely. “All right, Graham,” she says. “I don’t know why, but I believe you.”
I feel a jolt in my heart at her implicit trust in me, and then, suddenly, my virtual spreadsheet is a siren, flashing blue and red.
Comic Con? Robert Zinc? A weekend immersed in practically everything we love as individuals and together? This is it: the perfect opportunity to profess my unrequited love.
The spreadsheet explodes into confetti. Because maybe if the gesture is grand enough, and perfect enough, it won’t be unrequited at all and I, Graham William Posner—lanky, pale, glasses, and with a penchant for fantasy worlds—will actually get the girl.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Unexpectedly sweet and unexpectedly deep. I thought I was getting a friends-to-lovers romance set against the backdrop of NYC Comic Con, and what I got instead was a thoughtful, subtle critique of how much harder relationships are in real life than they are on the page or the screen. It's a testament to the author's talent that this didn't bother me in the slightest, and that's because the characterization is SO good here. Everyone is striving and changing and hoping--Graham in particular. Even when he was whiny or petty or possessive, I felt for him. Not just because his plans to reveal his feelings to his best friend Roxy kept changing, but because his longing was so relatable. Other aspects of the story I appreciated were: the diversity of the cast. Very few of the secondary characters were cookie cutter white kids, which was a complete breath of fresh air. ALL the geeky references--which made my geeky little heart happy. The fact that Graham and Roxy are working on a shared graphic novel series, and that the story addresses their publishing aspirations. The #InigoMontoyaSmackdown. The bittersweet perfection of the ending. If you enjoy unrequited love stories, or stories that feature close, personal friendships and lots of pop culture references, then you need to read THE GEEK'S GUIDE TO UNREQUITED LOVE, whether you self-identify as a geek or not.
IT'S CONVENTION SEASON!!!! i pretty much picked this book up because I just went to Anime Expo 2017 and I'm going to San Diego Comic Con for the first time and I am crazy excited! before you say anything I know that this book is in NYCC but it's Comic Con and it's cool! I'm just so excited for Comic Con and what better way to escalate my excitement but to read about it! I have to admit, I feel like at least I know what I'm up against when I enter the convention center now. But I really should study more Anyway, going to the book! This book is so adorable. I love the characters, the flow of story was unexpected, the ending was way more unexpected, and the whole book was just so good! characters: diversity, check! i love that Roxy is not your typically love interest! it's just so fresh in my perspective. Really cool how there's some culture lesson even just through food. but in totality though, Roxy is pretty much badass in her own right. Graham, is just adorable! I'm into the fact that he's just someone you find strong yet vulnerable. he is funny too! and I just cannot helo but to root for him all through out the book. their friends too, are freakin awesome! i love Casey's i-don't-care-but-i-do-care vibe. i love that Felicia found her footing in geekdom. mad respects to Devin and Amelia. and i'll leave it at that. and special mention to OG, I'm pretty sure Graham would be a bit lost without him. all these characters were just so well put together I just love it! and having the setting in comic con is just magical! writing wise. so good, funny, and also emotional. they were just perfectly placed in the book. since there are tons of fandoms, I appreciate that the author took the most famous ones so that every type of reader would get it. i also love that the center of fandom is made up, because at least the types of readers can understand and fangirl together. i'm a geek myself, so the appeal of this book to me is off the charts! and I am in love with it. as if i was in that con too! and just the fact that it made me remember my own relationships with people appeals to me more. let's get to the plot. this is not just an adventure in comic con, this is also an adventure in life, in love, and in friendship. even if it just lasted a few days. i just love how these are the highlights in this book. comic con was just there to help them out. i have to applaud the author. though not the focus, I love that she slipped many issues of the world today. it's interesting that teens should be aware of gun ownership, politics, equality, and the like. it's like an intro to young adults that they also need to be informed. all on all, this book is just so lovely. the excitement of what will happen next is just outstanding for me.
This book caught my eye because of the beautiful cover. I love his superhero costume and the city line behind him. And then the title with the words Geek and Unrequited, I was sold. I'm so glad this book delivered and I can't wait to see what other readers think about it. The first thing I liked about this was the way I was reminded so much of me. I'm obsessed with comics, I'm obsessed with reading, and I obviously go to conferences and can definitely relate to all that Graham was saying. Tash definitely based Graham off readers like me. And then there's the diversity mentioned in it. I really liked learning about Roxy and her family. Then there was the love story. I hate the way it was so predictable. I saw what was coming from a mile away, but at the same time, Tash put it into a way that was still enjoyable to read. I still found myself wanting to read it and see what path she gave the characters. It was the writing style and my love for the characters that made me keep reading the story. This book and the characters were definitely amazing. I'm 100% positive that I would be friends with them and I can see us going on other adventures like this one.The events were so real and I loved the way it made the entire book seem so real. I really like the way I related to this even though I'm completely different than Graham in a physical sense.
3.5 stars. I received this cute book via a giveaway from the author. If you're a fan of Comic Con and/or like Mad Max and cute boy-crush books where the guy does whatever he can to get the girl, this is your kind of read.* (For a great summary of the book, check out the editorial review from School Library Journal--it's *the* perfect description.) The characters were smart, fun, and interesting; I enjoyed the premise; and Graham, the MC, is a writer/aspiring author. (His best friend, Roxana, is Persian, for those of you looking for diversity--and she's the illustrator to what Graham writes. They're a sweet team!) For more contemp romance/Comic Con reads like TGGtUL, check out The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak. *I'd say it's an upper YA book, however, due to underage drinking.
Its not often that I find a book that appeals to my geekish side and my love of well-characterized (non-cliched) storytelling, but this was definitely one of those books. I came away from it having read a satisfying story with a reasonable ending.
Set over three days at the New York Comic Con, this is a fun and yet touching story of friendship, the adoration of all things sci-fi and fantasy, drawn, filmed and written, and the heartbreak that comes with loving someone who may not love you back. Graham and Roxy have been best friends for years. They share everything, from their love of Harry Potter to their love of the comic the Chronicles of Althena. So when Graham realises that he feels more for Roxy than just friendship, he decides that the comic con is the perfect place to reveal his new-found feelings. But the course of love never did run smooth, and Graham has his work cut out for him. I felt sorry for Graham, but also weirdly proud. It's not easy being in love with your best friends, especially when you're not sure if she loves you back. I thought he handled the whole thing really well. So is this a love story, is it all about unrequited love or does Graham get some loving in return? Well, I can't say without spoilers, but I think it certainly was more than your average love story. Far more complex and indicative of real life - the happy endings may not come from where we predict or how we think they will happen but I would call it a happy ending nonetheless. I really enjoyed the last half of this book. The first half was familiar, done before in other set-completely-at-comic-con stories, such as The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher. It was comfortable and predictable, nerds geeking out at wonderful things like character reveals, author signings and panel discussions. But it's the last half of this book where the story really comes into its own. Graham also really shines in this half of the book, though he is likeable throughout. I think this story has rightfully earned its place among the growing number of YA novels that mix comics and sci-fi with romance in fun and moving coming-of-age stories. The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I'm a huge SDCC goer, so I was so excited to read this book. I loved being in Graham's head. He's a super fan and I loved reading him geek out over fandom. Roxy was fun, but I feel like we didn't really get to know the real her due to Graham's infatuation. All of their interactions were tempered with his inner monologue professing his undying love and affection. My favorites of the book were Casey and Felicia and I could easily read a book about either of them. The plot revolves around the three days of NYCC and while I've never been to that con, the descriptions and pacing of things felt authentic. I have a cluster of friends who I go with and it felt just like this: one mega scehduler and everyone breaking off and meeting back up. Overall, a super cute and quick read. There was a bit of drama, but nothing too bad. It makes me wish July was already here. **Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
I am smitten! Smitten with these characters; smitten with this author; smitten with this book. I can’t really describe it. After reading Tash’s debut, Three Day Summer, I knew I would read anything she wrote. It was such a great story about human interaction at a time that seems so long ago. I loved the characters and the story telling and they heart behind it all. So when I heard about The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love it was a given I would read it. What I didn’t expect was how taken I would be by it. It was so fun and real and epic and wondrous. The thing that I loved the most about The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, besides the characters (more on that below), is that it isn’t a coming of age book. It isn’t a book about comic nerds. It isn’t even a true love story/romance. The Geek’s Guide is a book that is real. Things in life don’t always go as planned. You don’t always win the big game, or get into the school of your dreams. You don’t always get the girl or get something you are hoping for. Life just doesn’t work that way. You have to adapt and move on and come up with a new plan or idea. Tash captured that to perfection with Graham’s story. Nothing went the poor kid’s way. Everything that could go wrong for him did, but he just kept on going. Whether he was mad or sad or hurt or happy, he just kept on going like we all have to do. Actually Graham was the one character that made the book for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Roxy and co., but Graham was like a red headed Seth Cohen (and let’s face it Seth Cohen made geeky hot). He had this inner dialogue that just killed me. He was quirky and funny and charming. I liked him immediately and he truly made me giggle throughout the book. And his knowledge of pop-culture…OH MY GOD! So epic. Graham was the perfect kind of character to control this kind of story and I kind of love him (and the rest of them). Basically this book was just what I needed to reminded me about the ups and downs of life and love and friendship. Sarvenez crafted a book that is so perfect (sorry Felicia) that I need everyone to read it and be smitten with me. To be honest I knew I would love it after Three Day Summer, but I didn’t know I would end up being as over the moon about it as I was. If Tash’s books are not on your radar you need to fix that immediately. She is one author that is doing great, great things. Now go and read her books!