Geeky Fab 5, vol. 1: It’s Not Rocket Science is an energetic book full of female friendship, determination, and acceptance for girls with strong passions and curiosity about the world. Co-created and co-authored by Liz Lareau and her 12-year-old daughter Lucy, the comic presents five girls celebrating their “geeky” STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) interests in pursuit of helping their school and each other.

Lucy Monroe is about to start fourth grade at a new school. Her family just moved to Normal, Illinois, and it’s her first day at Earhart Elementary. She’s starting along with her sixth-grader sister Marina, who Lucy thinks is super cool. Lucy soon meets three other girls in her class, and the five become friends. They bond over their interests in topics girls aren’t “supposed to” like, such as math, science, computers, and sports. When the school playground is shut down for good for safety reasons, the girls band together, along with Lucy’s cat Hubble, and use their skills to help the school fund and build a new, creative playground at the end of the year.

The characters of Geeky Fab 5 are memorable and diverse, and I really appreciated that the girls have mixed interests. For example, the character Sofia likes computer programming as well as glitter, art, and fashion, while Zara loves math as well as music/singing. This makes the girls feel more real and rounded, while also mixing some hobbies traditionally seen as feminine with others often seen as masculine, thereby celebrating both at once rather than pitting them against each other. The group of girls is racially diverse as well, and Lucy’s older sister is adopted.

The comic has a lot of positive energy, with the girls finding encouragement from parents, teachers, and the school principal as they work toward their goal. The biggest challenges they face are from boys who think girls can’t or shouldn’t be involved in computers and science, and from older kids who try to sabotage their fundraisers for the playground. But the Geeky F@b 5 pull through to be celebrated by the whole town.

The art by Ryan Jampole is cute and fitting, and does a good job giving the characters lots of personality. Lots of exaggerated expressions, large sound effects, and action lines capture the liveliness of kids the age of Lucy and her friends, and the playful depictions of the cat Hubble add to the comedy of the story.

The book reminded me somewhat of Lumberjanes, but for a younger audience and without the supernatural elements. The girls’ strong friendship, unique skills and personalities, and dedication to encouraging and helping each other were welcome aspects. Teaching girls not only to feel confident about their geeky interests, but also to support each other and treat each other with compassion, are all essential messages, and it’s nice to see a comic tackling these well. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this series, and would be excited to see even more diversity of representation in future volumes.

Geeky Fab 5, vol. 1: It’s Not Rocket Science
by Lucy Lareau, Liz Lareau
Art by Ryan Jampole
ISBN: 9781545801222
Papercutz, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: 7-11

  • Sharona Ginsberg

    Past Reviewer

    Sharona Ginsberg is the Head of the Terrapin Learning Commons at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her work fits where technology and learning intersect, and she is especially interested in makerspaces and creating. She is also interested in issues of equity and social justice, serving LGBTQ patrons, and her dog, Bilbo Waggins.

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