February 14, 2013

Review: Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Geek Girl
by Holly Smale

Geek Girl
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?

Hardcover, 378 pages
Expected publication: February 28th 2013 by HarperCollins

3/3 Smarties

A Long Story...Short!

This book is so much more than you might expect. It's everything! It's lovely and funny and witty and sweet and intelligent and socially critical and ...everything you could ask for in a YA contemporary novel. The main character is sympathetic and someone I, at least, could identify with. The plot - although not exactly original - made for an entertaining read and the message of the book got across without the author having to raise their pointing fingers at you - or the fashion industry and media. If you feel the need to laugh your butt of and don't expect a super serious and deeply moving novel - Geek Girl is for you.

Review for You:

I have to say, after having read this book I don't exaxtly consider myself a geek anymore. Harriet Manners, the main character of Geek Girl, just owns this title and I guess I will never steel that crown no matter how many times I swoon over fictional YA characters. This girl's head is going to explode at one point from random facts she picked up somewhere and friendly enough shares with the reader. After a few pages, I was not only on the floor, unable to stop laughing, but also desperately looking for a way to memorize all the facts Harriet throws into her story randomly. And that was just the beginning! 
Geek Girl got better with every chapter. Not only does Holly Smale handle the balance between fun and seriousness, action and slower writing perfectly - she also has that ability to make characters appear real, relationships pure and just display life as it is - for teenagers. This book certainly features some well-known cliches when it comes to the fashion industry later, but especially the problems Harriet has at school are issues many people probably face in their teen years and different from other stories, Harriet doesn't just find the solution after a time or learns to "deal with it". No, she has to work her way through it and it's hard and it hurts and it makes her do things she will later regret but it also shapes her personality.
I talked about the image Smale creates of the fashion industry earlier and I called it cliche. And it kind of was. But then, it also kind of wasn't. Because we didn't just have one big mass of people acting the way you'd expect them to. You know, models starving themselves, or gay assistants or ice cold fahion icons. We had a mix of everything. Even though all the fashion industry characters were sidekicks, they were three dimensional and had personality - another aspect I liked.
Lastly, I have to say that although this book was fun and entertaining and brilliant and thoughtful - you can't completely ignore the resemblance to Hannah Montana and The Devil Wears Prada. It is there, yes, but that's not a bad thing. I, at least, am part of the generation that grew up with Hannah Montana and that nowadays does quite a poor job at denying it, so doesn't it feel a little bit like coming home? That's what I think, anyway.

Review for me:

Favorite Quote:
Arghh...forgot marking them on my Kindle!!!

What I want to remember from this book:
Not to take things so seriously!

When I want to reread the book:
Whenever I feel crappy about myself. Or when I'm in a reading slump. Or when I just really need something to cheer me up :)

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