Release Date: February 28, 2013
Publisher: 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? (courtesy of Goodreads)
This is one of those books that improved the more I read it. I started out vaguely interest, but finished a full fledged fan. Lucky for me, there are a bunch of Geek Girl books to seek out.
Harriet is what kept me from liking this book at first, but also partly what made me love the book by the end. She started out annoying. She was geeky and awkward, which are qualities I frequently like in people. But she tended to use her geekiness as a shield - she threw her differences in people's faces and basically dared them to react badly to it. I get why she did this. She was deeply insecure and too accustomed to being treated cruelly that she acted defiantly. But while I sympathized with her plight, she was irritating all the same. As the book went on, both Harriet and I changed. She learned to be a little more accepting of other people, treat other people more fairly, and I learned to enjoy her quirks.
The story got better once Harriet got into modeling. I loved the whirlwind trip to Russia and the way that Harriet succeeded at modeling despite herself. I thought Harriet's decision to model, because she wanted to be normal was entirely understandable and part of what made me like her more. Of course, nothing is that simple but it's a very realistic thought process.
Harriet's parents (dad and stepmom) are one of the best parts of this book. Her dad is like a little kid. All excitement and emotions. Her stepmom - despite having no biological relation to Harriet - was like a Harriet-clone. Organized, overly logical, and uninterested in typical girly pursuits. I love YA books where parents play a prominent and positive role. Harriet's parents were three-dimensional characters. They were great people but also flawed. They grew alongside Harriet as the book went along.
Wilbur is another character I love. I suppose he is best described as Harriet's modeling manager. He is camp to the max. Basically a walking stereotype of every gay, artsy character you've ever read. I found him hilarious, but at the same time felt slightly conflicted. Is having such a flamboyant character perpetuating stereotypes? On the other hand, is it whitewashing of gay culture to pretend that flamboyant people don't exist? I don't know, and it's not for me to decide. It's something I've heard various people discuss recently and don't know what I think.
Once I got going, Geek Girl was a delightful novel. Funny, occasionally cringe-worthy with plenty of insightful moments and good character growth. I'm looking forward to reading the next book. the ending, which was not completely surprising, but thrilling nonetheless. I cannot wait to read more of Mare's story.
Recommendation: Buy if you're into quirky, nerdy girls
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