Geekhood: Mission Improbable

As a fan of The Big Bang Theory the premise of Andy Robb’s Geekhood series is familiar to me. Just like the sitcom, this series recounts the adventures (both real and imaginary) of four male protagonists (albeit younger than Sheldon et al), who, because of their preference for gaming, fantasy, and other nerdish activities, over “real” life, have categorised themselves as geeks.

The main theme here is the universal “geek” problem of relating to the opposite sex. In this second instalment, Archie is suffering agonies of mortification, having asked attractive Goth Sarah out, only to be told she wants to remain “just friends”. He also has to spend an excruciating weekend with his would-be hip father and his lame new family instead of going to the first cool party he’s ever been invited to. And what’s going on with Matt and Begsy – have they suddenly become Good with Girls? Meanwhile normal geek life continues with the daily threat of being beaten to a pulp by the Grunt brigade.

Overcoming all this, as far as Archie is concerned, is Mission Impossible, but at least he can escape temporarily through a weekend of LARPing – fantasy role-playing. In the end, as his two worlds collide, Archie finds that pretending to be a hero can actually make you heroic in Real Life, or at least slightly more sensitive and mature.

Robb gets it spot-on with this funny, poignant, utterly authentic tale of love and other heartaches for adolescent boys. However, although this adult reviewer now wishes geeks had existed in her youth so she could have been one, be warned – the average 14-year-old male obsession with sex is documented in, as you’d expect, cringeworthy detail, so keep this away from your 10-year-old daughter!