28th February 2013
HarperCollins Children's Books
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?
Geek Girl is the first book I've read in a while that I've just wanted to sit there and hug after I finished reading it. Even now, just seeing the cover makes me smile. It's possibly one of the most adorable, sweet books that I've ever read, and if I wasn't sure which fictional character I would want to be my best friend, I can now say with complete certainty that it would be Harriet Manners.
Harriet completely made this book for me. She is just hilarious and intelligent and clumsy and lovely and I have learnt so many random facts because of her. Can we make her a real person please because I just want to be her friend and hang out with her all the time. When she got picked up by the modelling agency, I was a bit worried that she was going to change and by the end of the book emerge as some beautiful, sohpisticated, hoity-toity model type and be the best most perfect model in the world and I just couldn't deal with the prospect of that, but *spoiler alert* I was just being overly worried and none of that happened. Not that I'm against beautiful, sophisticated model women, it's just it would've been like Harriet losing her soul and her essence as person, and she's such a lovely, beautiful person already she shouldn't have to change to fit into the modelling world which she finds herself thrown into. I just want to give her a hug. And let me just tell you now, that whole final scene (you'll know what I mean if/when you read it - because you WILL be reading it, right *side eyes you*) was just the perfect ending to this book, and I would like to hibernate until the release of the sequel.
It's true that Harriet is wonderful, but the side characters in this book are also, in a word, hilarious. There's Harriet's dad, who's always telling bad jokes, but is also there for his daughter, and her step mum Annabel who I would personally like to thank for not being a stereotypically awful step mother. Oh, and as a side note: Parents! Parents in the book! Parents playing an important role and having a strong, nice, healthy relationship with their children! There's Toby, the slightly creepy, excessively geeky stalker who has a bit of thing for Harriet (he sometimes hides in her bushes), but after hearing Holly talk about him I've decided it's less of a creepy pervy thing and more of an innocent stalking? This isn't sounding good. He doesn't do it with bad intentions. I think he just sees Harriet as like him and doesn't really know how to be normal about it. He's a bit creepy, but he's not a bad guy. And Natalie! Harriet's best friend who's dream it has always been to be a model. Harriet and Natalie have a bit of trouble with their friendship - feelings are hurt, hands are raised (you'll get it when you read it!) - but I loved that they worked through it and that Natalie didn't turn her back on Harriett completely. And finally (yes, we're nearly at the end of the paragraph), there's Lion Boy - or Nick, if you like. The romance was not one of the most important parts of the book, and the scenes with Nick were fairly infrequent, but I liked this. The focus of the book if Harriett, but the romance didn't hurt. But seriously, that freaking ending! You can't just end it RIGHT THERE AND LEAVE US HANGING LIKE THAT HOLLY. COME ON.
It's true that the story is a fairytale (The Ugly Duckling, I believe) and it is kind of unrealistic, but even thought some of the stuff about Harriett's journey as a model felt unrealistic (not impossible, I know that kind of stuff happens to people), you could tell that Holly had had experienced the modelling world and hadn't just 'researched' by watching 18 cycles of America's Next Top Model (which is what I probably would've done). I also really liked the international travel (seriously, Russia. I didn't think it was possible, but after reading that depscription of the Red Square, I now want to go. Though I've just started studying the Russian Revolution so the Bolshevik's might change my mind back.) and I am very much looking forward to there being more in the next two books. I have heard tell that Japan may be one of Harriett's future destinations. This pleases me.
If you haven't got the message yet, I loved this book. Actually, I think loved might not be the right word for I how feel about it... I adored this book. If you are British (or have a British sense of humour), and you liked The Look by Sophia Bennett and you like books about modelling or about lovely geek girls, or are just alive and have soul then I suggest you go out to the bookshop and buy this book and tell everyone else about it.