2014 EVENTS:
Holly Bourne, Non Pratt and James Dawson - 30th October
Becca Fitzpatrick - 15th November

Thursday, 20 March 2014

REVIEW: Geek Girl - Holly Smale

Thursday, 20 March 2014
GENRE: Contemporary/Humour/YA
PAGES: 356
PUBLISHER: Harpercollins Children's
BUY IT: Waterstones
RATING: 4 Stars

"My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek." Harriet Manners 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. She knows that bats always turn left when exiting a cave and that peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite. But she doesn't know why nobody at school seems to like her. So when Harriet is spotted by a top model agent, she 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 impossibly handsome model Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves. Veering from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, Harriet begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did. As her old life starts to fall apart, will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

I received Geek Girl after being invited as a bookseller to HarperCollin's 'Big Book Parade' - which was an absolute dream come true. Not only did we get to see all the awesome new books due out at the end of this year, but we also got to fill bags with whatever books took our fancy. For free. Reviewing doesn't seem like enough for the goodies publishers give us but hopefully being able to recommend a book like this goes some way to show how appreciative I am.

Geek Girl follows Harriet Manners on her way to stardom. After accidentally getting 'spotted' by a modelling agency at the Clothes Show she is whisked away, destined to become the World's Next Top Model. Unfortunately, Harriet was only at the show to help her best friend get spotted and now Harriet has to make the choice: follow a new path and opportunities that have opened up for her life, or stay true to her friend and turn it down? How do you follow you dreams when it means changing the lives of those around you?

Yes, the premise of this book is pretty farfetched, it might not exactly be every girl's dream, but the idea of being swept away to a bigger and better life but also getting to stay as who you are is pretty close. Geek Girl is nowhere near the type of book I would normally pick up. The cover and title make it sound like a chick-lit book about a girl who thinks she's such a geek because she does her homework but then the hottest guy in school falls for her. Blah blah blah. Yes, this is how I judge books when I look at them. Luckily I also listen to my colleagues recommendations - and this is importance of talking about books.

Harriet Manner's is actually the exact type of character that I love. She is almost a proper geek. It's quite slapstick in its comedy; she's uber clumsy and awkward but really sweet, kind and funny. And her supporting cast - her dad, best friend, and even her stalker - are all hilarious. They are pretty much caricatures of the types of weird people we all know. Her family are not exactly normal but they are pretty adorable. Its sugary-sweet in places but you don't really care, because it's so awesome. They also give the story their more serious and totally heartwarming parts. Oh, and don't worry girls, there's a guy - it wouldn't be a YA book with out one would it? - who is a fellow model. He's not an airhead though. In fact the whole part of the modelling world that he and Harriet are in is so quirky its almost a comment on the ridiculousness of the modelling industry as a whole...

Harriet has a very dry sarcastic sense of humour and even though everything bad that can happen does happen to Harriet I couldn't help but find it hilarious. It made me snort on the train and even though that is fairly embarrassing, and even though I live in Birmingham, at least you've never found me hiding under a table a the Clothes Show. And I've been to the NEC - it could have happened. I also loved that it was a British geek book - so many run on American geek vs. prep stereotypes.

Geek Girl is a Bridget Jones for a new age and a testament to anyone who ever feels socially uncomfortable. She's awkward, oblivious and just plain fab.

- Bex.

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