Sat
Sep 2 2017 10:00am

Geeky Friendships Are the Best Kind in Susannah Nix’s Remedial Rocket Science

Remedial Rocket Science by Susannah Nix

When I read the blurb for Remedial Rocket Science by Susannah Nix my reaction was essentially “sign me up!” I loved Cathy Yardley’s Level Up and the geeky shenanigans therein. This promised the same. The plot is something of a cross between the “my one-night stand is my boss” and the “fake relationship” tropes, with heroine Melody and hero Jeremy hooking up once in a prologue three years prior to the start of the main story. Flash forward, Melody ends up working at the company Jeremy’s mother owns, putting them in close proximity and beginning what starts out as an awkward friendship.

Why so awkward? Jeremy has a girlfriend. What’s worse? Melody and that girlfriend actually like each other! Say it ain’t so. Despite an off-putting first meeting, I loved the friendship that developed between Lacey and Melody. When Lacey and Jeremy break up, which has to happen because Jeremy and Melody have to get together, it’s not a huge dramatic blowup, like it could have been. Points for friendship and for women not hating each other! There’s even a scene in which Melody points out bi-erasure from the hero and I wanted to cheer out loud.

I found myself wanting more time with Melody, Lacey, and Lacey’s three besties. The one night they all spend together contains the best jokes and banter in the entire book. I could have spent a sitcom season or two with them. After all, they play F*ck, Marry, Kill with Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Leia—who wouldn't want more of that!

I spent much of the book reading with a sort of apprehension that comes from reading clichéd “not like other girls” or “he cheats on everyone but wouldn’t cheat on me” tropes. Nix pulls right up to the line with those and then walks away, most of the time. We find out that Jeremy has cheated in the past, on Lacey’s sister… with Lacey. That’s a lot of potential drama. Then there’s some more cheating and lying by a slew of secondary characters. It’s the sort of thing that seems to be present in the book to give our main characters something to worry about or to advance the plot, not to paint anyone as “evil,” which I appreciated. (That said, if you can’t stand the idea of any cheating or lying in your book, maybe this isn’t the one for you.)

My biggest issue with the book is with the depiction of Melody’s ex, who committed suicide a year prior to the main story. Melody feels guilty for his suicide, the language used is oddly othering and, in taking responsibility away from Kiernan, it somehow erases his own agency. He’s described as having bipolar disorder, but Melody appears to have only seen his “ups.” What’s more, I couldn’t understand why he was in the story. Melody claims she doesn’t want to date because of his suicide, has a breakdown on the anniversary of his death, but it’s clear to the reader that she wants to date Jeremy. Considering the problematic description of his mental illness, I think the book would have been more palatable without it.

Apart from these qualms with the book, I can say the geekiness was legit. It really was. Our heroine is working in corporate IT at an aerospace company, clearly loves geeky pop culture, and the author has either experienced a lot of geek-shaming or did her research. Passages about The Big Bang Theory and female action figures will resonate with readers who are tired of poor or absent representation in geek culture. (Of course, this book is from the perspective of a white straight geek, so doesn’t touch upon representation of race or sexual orientation.)

In all, the book reads like a geeky fish-out-of-water story, with a charming billionaire prince who falls for the girl despite the two of them having little in common. The real stars though: Lacey and Melody. If the romance had been between them? I would have been completely smitten.

***

Learn more about or order a copy of Remedial Rocket Science by Susannah Nix, available now:

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When not reading All of the Things, Suzanne is raising two small valkyries and trying to open a bookstore. Book, comic, and assorted other tweets at @cerestheories.

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1 comment
Kareni
1. Kareni
I keep hearing good things about this book. Thanks for your review,
Suzanne.
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