Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Title: Geek Girl
Author: Holly Smale
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 on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

*I received a free copy of this book for review from NetGalley.com. Thank you!!*

I finished this a few days ago and I'm still not sure if I liked it much. The book definitely didn't grab me and I had to start and stop it several times, reading many other books in between. The main character (Harriet) is difficult to like. While I enjoyed the quirky, socially awkward side of her personality, her complete lack of honesty drove me nuts.

The premise of the story is that Harriet is a geek. When she gets nervous, she spouts off random facts and is generally clumsy and awkward. Her best friend is a fashionista with dreams of becoming a model who forces Harriet to attend some sort of fashion show thing. While there, a REALLY obnoxious scout sees Harriet and decides she MUST be a model. He takes some photos of her, and when her best friend finds out she is extremely jealous.

So when the scout calls later and offers Harriet a meeting with a top fashion designer, she accepts but doesn't tell her best friend (or her step mother). At this point, the book kind of veers off and teeters with being a romance, but not really, as Harriet goes to Russia to do a modelling assignment for some big name designer. She has to work with a cute male supermodel named Nick that I wish we saw a LOT more of.

The "mean girls" in this book are stereotypical and over the top. At one point, the mean girl gets in front of the classroom and asks the class who hates Harriet and gets every single person to raise their hand. I just don't see this happening in real life, but maybe kids have become even crueler since my high school days.

Actually, almost every side character in this book is an over the top stereotype. The modelling scout is overly flamboyant to the point of being annoying - especially with his extensive array of nicknames for Harriet. The fashion designer is overly rude, harsh, and mean. The other models are all bitchy and catty. While I know some stereotypes are derived from truth, I'm not a fan of books that constantly reinforce them in such an exaggerated way.

I do like that Harriet (and her father) have to take responsibility for their lies and bad decisions. They both spend the entire book twisting things around and lying in order to get their way without their loved ones finding out and I was happy to see real consequences for those decisions.

My biggest issue with the book was the love story. I LOVE LOVE STORIES! However, this one just skirted with it and ended with a kiss that seems to come out of nowhere. Harriet meets the love interest (Nick, no surprise there) only two or three times and I wouldn't even say their conversations are flirtatious. While she is swooning over his good looks, he does nothing overtly romantic to make the reader think he's even interested in her as anything other than a friend. I just felt like there was no build up to their love story and the book would have been better off with the romance part either cut out completely or fleshed out a LOT more.

The book was also poorly formatted in a way that was really jarring to read. There would be several paragraphs in a row, then suddenly a break of blank space that makes you think the scene is over, then more paragraphs of the same scene. Also, there are ENORMOUS pics of sunglasses that show up in completely random locations. I thought at first they were between chapters, but they're not - they show up mid scene and were so distracting I sometimes forgot what was going on. I didn't mark down for the formatting, because this is a galley, but I usually get much better.

I didn't find out this was a trilogy until I finished and started reading other reviews. The book definitely works as a stand alone and I'm curious now to see what else in in store for Harriet.

3 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

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