Thursday, 28 February 2013

Geek Girl (Holly Smale)

Baby Pip (my very own Geek Girl?)
" “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?
Geek Girl was one of the reasons that I got to thinking about Young Adult fiction/literature last night. I pre-ordered this book last autumn sometime and it arrived last week, although it's official release date is today. What's that you say? A timely post? Anyhow.
You might have realised I love young adult fiction and, within that, strong female (teenage) characters. It was whilst I was reading Geek Girl that I realised that Harriet Manners is the first teenage character I've encountered who has a mobile (and who lives in this current decade - what *is* it that we are calling it - the 2010s?). This makes Harriet different from any character in any YA book that I've ever read and, I think, why I found it harder to relate to her.
That's not to say I didn't like or even love the book, I did. It's funny, and fast paced and well written and not too predictable. It's just that I can't get over the fact that I didn't recognise Harriet and it made me feel old and out of touch. And also made me a little worried for it will be like when Pip is a teenager. And Harriet's nemesis, Alexa, didn't even seem to be using social media to help enforce Harriet's status as a geek. Goodness knows what she'd have achieved if she did. 
I found Harriet an interesting protagonist. On the one hand, I could see my teenage acquaintances in parts of her, although, strangely, not myself. I wasn't enough of a geek to be a geek and whilst I had friends, no best friend like Harriet. Neither pretty or ugly, I don't think I stood out particularly at school. On the other, as is often the case with teen things these days (don't I sound so like a grandmother) I often can't understand why a character struggles and so on, when it seems they have all the required attributes. That said, she was quite self obsessed - maybe that was the problem!
In the end, I liked that Geek Girl wasn't a simple geek to chic story - there was a lot more to it than that. Complicated relationships that all teenagers suffer; parents, friends, boys. Harriet's 'big moment' didn't really mean anything after all. Or did it? There is a sequel to come, after all.
This was not a sponsored post. I bought my own copy. That said, in the interests of full disclosure, the author is a friend of mine. She didn't ask me to review it; she doesn't even know that I am. What she (hopefully) does know is that if I didn't like it, I would say it and I certainly wouldn't post a review here.

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