So I moved yesterday and it’s been crazy so I haven’t reviewed the book I finished beforehand! The day before I moved, I finished Geek Girl, the first in a series that I think is clocking 8 books or something like that, by Holly Smale. I bought it on a kindle monthly deal for 0.99p otherwise, to be perfectly honest, I probably wouldn’t have read it…
Harriet is a geek. She should know, she looked the term up. She has a head full of useless knowledge and no-one at school likes her. When her best friend (Nat?) takes her to Birmingham Clothes Show as part of a school trip, Harriet knows she won’t enjoy herself. Nat is determined to be a model, but Harriet is the one spotted. Harriet grabs at the chance to reinvent herself, lying to her best friend and her mum to do so, only to find she will be modelling alongside the gorgeous Nick. Manoeuvring fashion disaster after misfire after social disaster, Harriet, and her stalker Toby, begins to realise that the fashion world doesn’t much like her either. And its all downhill.
This book is quintessentially The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot but with a fifteen year old who is spotted for modelling. It was a fairly unoriginal plot, with uninspiring characters and a general sense of trying too hard. Take Toby, for example, he is geeky and unpopular and apparently has more than enough time to stalk Harriet, and he even calls it stalking and asks if she is comfortable with him walking next to her or if he should drop back like normal. WHAT?! He becomes one of her best friends – like don’t make it acceptable for teenage boys to stalk someone, know everything about them and that be treated as totally ok?? The characters were incredibly stereotyped – Her dad is in advertising and he is “a free spirit” and “overly enthusiastic” while her stepmum is an incredibly uber-organised lawyer. Also, her stepmum is apparently where Harriet got her very annoying habit of just randomly stating facts. Harriet herself is incredibly niave, and annoying, and feels the need to constantly reiterate that she is a geek, that she is socially awkward, that she doesn’t really belong modelling ect ect. She also lies to people a lot.
Ok, the Love Interest. Wouldn’t be a YA book without it now would it? His name is Nick, he is gorgeous, and Harriet never really lets us forget it. She also constantly makes a fool of herself and forgets how to breathe ect when he is around and he has to be the cool, suave experienced teen model. They try and go for a Pride and Prejudice angle in the romance which has to be stated by Wilbur (with and UR not IAM) in order to become apparent. Nick doesn’t seem to have anything going for him other than he is good looking and rich. Oh, I suppose he is very patient with Harriet, which is good but honestly they spend like, four scenes together. Maybe five. It is a very intense crush. And seems to spring out of “oh, wow, he’s gorgeous” and nothing more than that. Very little chemistry and possibly too much reiteration that Harriet has a crush on Nick.
Any book that feels the need to remind me things every few pages, rather than just letting the narrative do what it’s supposed to, isn’t all that great a book. It felt like a cheap rip-off of The Princess Diaries but maybe teenagers thought is was “more realistic” because there is a higher chance of them becoming a model than a princess. Who knows. I was incredibly ambivalent while reading this, and on more than one occasion was annoyed by the enforcing of stereotypes. Also, still not over stalker Toby. I can recognise that were I fourteen, just off the back of Meg Cabot (who I no longer enjoy – I’d rather watch the movie because I love Julie Andrews as the Grandmama Queen rather than book Grandmere) then I probably would have enjoyed it to an extent. But I am incredibly glad I didn’t pay any more money for this, and I am certain I will not be picking up any of the other books in the series.