Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Title: Geek Girl
Author: Holly Smale
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release: February 28th 2013
Pages: 356 (Kindle)
Pre-Order: Amazon UK / Amazon US

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 realise 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?

Okay, I've got to confess something: I am kind of addicted to model shows. I know, I know, kind of out of character for a book geek, no? But it's true. There is something about shows like America's Next Top Model that intrigues me. I could never be a model myself - nor would I want to - but the life of a model is so different from my own, it may as well be a whole other planet. So as soon as I saw this book, I knew I had to have it. Why? I think it's the only time Geekdom will meet Modelland.

Harriet, the main protagonist, is a geek. So what are the chances that she would be spotted by a  modelling scout? Pretty much none. But it happens, and she is whisked away to the world of models in an attempt to change her stereotypical 'geek' mannerism. However, changing who you are doesn't just happen overnight, even if you circumstances can.

First of all, I adored Harriet! She had her annoying moments, but I think that just played up to the characterization of her geekiness - otherwise, I thought she was interesting, down-to-earth, and laugh out loud funny - I swear she had me coughing up my lungs, have you seen one anywhere? I also liked how she didn't dramatically transform after becoming a model - I find that some author's tend to change the characters, and it takes away a bit of the realistic side of things. Smale didn't fall into this trap, and Harriet's personality and actions were consistent throughout. I also loved that when she became a model, she didn't suddenly become beautiful and rant about her looks constantly - really, she didn't speak about her looks much at all, which I suppose is a bit backwards for a book about modelling, but it worked. She was an easy character to like, and I enjoyed reading the novel from her point of view.

I also liked the character of Nick, but I wanted so much more of him! All we got that he was a hot Lion Boy - but we only saw him in, what, three different scenes? I need more Nick! I'm sure it sounds like I'm addicted too him or something...Oh dear. I also wanted to see more of Nat, Harriet's best friend, as again she seemed quite down-to-earth. However, a character that was a bit too up in the clouds was Harriet's dad. It was nice to have a cool, refreshing parenting figure, but I think Smale got a bit too carried away with it, so much so that he just became unrealistic and a bit of an annoyance. Luckily he wasn't as annoying as Toby, who has to be the most off-putting character ever! Not to give any spoilers away, but Toby is basically Harriet's even-geekier stalker. One word: boogers. Boogers everywhere!

I liked the plot. Looking back on it, it was quite basic really, but still quite captivating. I just couldn't seem to put it down! Smale's writing style was easy to slip into, and once I got engrossed in Harriet's story, it was difficult to extract myself from it again.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Smale's debut, and I can't wait for the next book she brings out. I'd definitely recommend this read to girls between the ages of 12-15 - being 16, it just somehow didn't sit with me quite how I think Smale meant it to, hence the loss of a star. But for anyone between that age gap...well, five stars all round, I think!
Rating: 4/5

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