This year I’ve really been enjoying Tansy Rayner Roberts‘ series of linked novellas about a group of friends attending Australia’s premiere magical tertiary institution, Belladonna University.
Beginning with Fake Geek Girl, the stories chart the relationship dramas and (occasionally) academic endeavours of students as they get a share house, form a band and sometime fight trolls in alleys. As you do.
The stories mainly revolve around twin sisters Holly and Hebe (aka the bossy cool one and the nervous mousy one), and Hebe’s ex-boyfriend Sage (aka the hot drummer), but the cast expands nicely to fill out all the expected late-teens/early-twenties social niches: the spoiled rich kids, the dopey artists, the colossal nerds and so on. Think the cast of Archie Comics (or Riverdale, if you must) but with way more gay, way more geek, way more Aussie and probably a touch more blatant magic.
Tansy’s characters are lively and fun, but never just one thing – they have a lot going on, and it usually causes misunderstandings and drama, both comic and tragic. I have a limited tolerance for tortured relationship drama, but Tansy walks a perfect line between the heavy tragic breakups and comedic goofing which appeals to me tremendously.
Obviously I endorse a plan of buying all of the books at once – Fake Geek Girl is free by signing up to TRR’s newsletter or through Instafreebie, the sequels Unmagical Boy Story and The Bromancers are hella cheap on Amazon – but you could also experience them through Tansy’s podcast Sheep Might Fly, where she reads them to you one chapter at a time.