Review: Geekhood: Mission Improbable by Andy Robb

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Archie is a Geek to his core – and despite having a Close Encounter with Sarah at the beginning of term, he’s still completely clueless about girls. Enter Clare – an older woman (she’s sixteen) who Archie meets on his weekend trip to see his dad and his nightmare step-mum, Jane. Clare and Archie hit it off – and she’s got a brilliant, foolproof way to get their crushes to notice them: pretend to be going out with one another! What can possibly go wrong? In the midst of school, getting Sarah to forgive him and dealing with his insane family, Archie and his mates step-up the nerdiness and go Live Action Role-play gaming. Ladies and gentlemen, we are entering a new era..


Review

WARNING: This is the sequel to Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind and if you’ve read my review on that you’re aware of my thoughts about it so don’t spoil yourself here. Go read the first book and then this review.  You won’t regret it!

This is it folks.  The sequel I’ve been waiting for and I’ve had it in my grubby little hands for two days, read it and so this means: time for my review.  Which also means time to use real English words rather than just flapping around the room gleefully singing this book’s praises and hugging it like an adorable kitten.

*deep breath and puts on sensible hat*

So Geekhood MI basically continues shortly after the ending of the first book and Archie is trying to get his head around Sarah turning him down and his dad moving to York, leaving him with his mum and Tony (now slightly less of a tosser it would seem).  He’s no less geeky and neither are his friends.  In fact they are stepping up their level of geekdom and stepping into the world of LARPing (click here for info on LARP but imagine Role Play Gaming but dressing up and fighting with foam weapons for real).  

I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t completely love this book because I did but after my reaction to the first I didn’t have much doubt I wouldn’t love the second.  What I will do is tell you why I loved it and the few bits I could see had room for tinkering.  I still adore Andy Robb’s writing and the way he makes you exist inside Archie’s mind and experience the highs and the lows with him.  There are some great highs and stomach churning lows and you feel every bit of them.  Geekhood MI is just as funny and quick thinking as Book One and does what book one did so well and that was give you a heart felt message wrapped up in comedy.  In Geekhood CEOTGK Archie learnt lessons about himself, girls, his divided family and friends and in Geekhood MI we see those lessons put into practice and the consequences.

Archie has grown up; well a little bit anyway.  He’s still the Geek we love.

I found myself liking Sarah much more in this book because she wasn’t this magical being to Archie anymore and you see her as a full character with a past and emotions.  She lacked that first time round for me.  Archie’s Geek crew of Beggsy, Matt and Ravi are growing up too and finding their own little corner of the Geekhood world to bloom in.  Though I did feel like Ravi didn’t have much going on in this book and it was very much focused on Beggsy and Matt with Ravi as just a side character.  Though the champion of characters has to be Big Marv.  He’s like an otherworldly fantasy character plonked in suburban England and made to interact with others.  So hilarious.

What stole my heart in Geekhood originally was that honest emotive story behind the geekery and laughs about a boy learning to live with a step parent and missing his dad after the break up of a marriage.  It hit that lump of coal that is my heart and cracked it.  In Mission Improbable it hammered home the cracks yet again.  There is one line about Archie hugging his dad and it not being a “full time hug” but only a “part time hug” and it made my lip wobble and chest ache.  Later on Archie has a moment with Sarah where he describes what he sees when he looks at her now, post failed asking out, and frankly if a guy could read me that well then he’d be able to date me whenever he fancied!  I wished there had been more moments with certain characters and more detailed resolutions at some points but I wasn’t left feeling unsatisfied at all.  I’m just greedy.

If Geekhood CEOTGK was like Star Trek The Original Series then Geekhood Mission Improbable is Andy Robb’s Next Generation.  It’s Adrian Mole after a wander in the big bad world and coming home a little wiser and in need of a cup of tea.

I am still a Geekhood Girl and now I’m off to go hug the book some more while researching LARPs.

Published by Stripes Publishing and is available here and book shops from April 2013

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