Title: Geek Girl
Author: Holly Smale
Genre: Young Adult
Harriet Manners knows a lot of things.
She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn’t quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she’s spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend’s dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.
As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realize that the world of fashion doesn’t seem to like her any more than the real world did.
And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.
Damn you, endings. Stop ruining books for me.
Okay, I’m overreacting. The ending didn’t ruin the book for me. It just made me like it less, and it’s also the biggest reason for the 4 star rating. Not that the book was perfect before that. There were some little things that annoyed me, but the ending…AARGH.
I should probably start from the beginning.
Harriet Manners is a 15-year-old geek. She’s smart ( I learned many random facts from her while reading this), funny and, at times, a bit naive. Now, I love characters who are really, really smart, so I liked Harriet right away. She lives with her father (childish, not very responsible, but still a fun character) and her stepmother Annabel (I LOVE ANNABEL, she’s so awesome, she’s a good parent to Harriet and a lot more realistic than her father).
Harriet’s best friend is Nat. They’re quite different (they used to be more alike, but their interests drifted apart), but I like their friendship. Nat has wanted to be a model since she was a kid, so she’s not the happiest when Harriet gets ‘spotted’.
There’s also Toby. I’m not sure what to think of him. When he was first introduced, I felt sorry for him, because it’s so obvious that no one likes him. He’s an even bigger geek than Harriet, he has a crush on her and she’s not very nice to him. But then it turns out that he follows her around everywhere and writes down stuff about what she does and when, because he wants to know everything. He’s supposed to be cute and harmless, but it’s actually creepy.
I expected the book to have more romance, but after reading it, I think it would have been better with even less romance. Harriet’s crush is Nick the supermodel. We never get to know him, because he’s rarely in the book. He’s also a big part of The Ending That Ruined the Book.
The ‘spotting’ situation was weird to me. I don’t know much about modelling, but does ‘seeing somebody and employing them pretty much right away” actually happen? The guy who, um, ‘spots people’, is Wilbur. He’s alright, except for one thing: nicknames. He uses approximately 50 different nicknames for Harriet, each one completely ridiculous. Some examples: baby-baby panda, monkey-chunk, bunny bottom, doughnut face, pot of bean paste (WTF?!?) and so on. I suppose the nicknames are there for the sake of comedy, but the book is quite funny without that. Wilbur introduces Harriet to Yuka Ito, a very important person in fashion world, who seems to be the weaker version of that crazy boss in Devil Wears Prada.
Harriet has no interest in fashion and modelling, but she still accepts the job, because she wants to try to transform herself. Okay, that beginning makes sense. The rest of her career doesn’t. SPOILER: At the end of the book, she decides to keep modelling, because of how it makes her feel. If I remember right, it only made her feel awkward and clueless.
I enjoyed the book very much. It’s nice to have a main character who acknowledges her mistakes and apologizes for them. With all the interesting characters, there’s not a single boring moment in the book (but there are plenty of crazy ones).