Harriet Manners, the geek of the school who is chosen to become the face of one of the
most prominent fashion lines has no idea what she has let herself in for.
The first book in Smale’s Geek Girl series catches you within the first pages and doesn’t let you go until the end. Within the book she has managed to capture the life of a geek in secondary school with true detail. Having finished secondary school six years ago now (six?!) my days are still very much imprinted with me of the being the geek of the year. Top sets for everything and averaging A grades, I could completely relate to Harriet’s school life and how other students treated her because of her intelligence. Thankfully during my final years I was able to “own” the title of geek which has certainly shaped me today; which is exactly what happens for Harriet. Wanting nothing more than to change her image, and possibly herself, she accepts a modelling contract in the hope she can become more popular and liked.
Throughout the novel the reader and Harriet come to realise that you should accept your identity instead of denying it and fully embrace everything it brings. As stated above I identified with Harriet (being a geek, not a model of course) and I think that Harriet is the type of character that everybody can relate to even if they are not a geek. The novel is about self-acceptance which is needed with any group and having your friends beside you, because that is the novels other key theme, friendship. Friendships in school come and go and the friends you make there may not be the ones that last throughout your life but, they are the ones that matter in that moment and the people that will stand by you and the decisions you make. Nat, Harriet’s best friend, desperately wants to model and when Harriet begins lying to her about accepting the contract splinters begin to form in their friendship causing them both pain. Of course arguments and fallings out are to be expected with school friends but it is how you deal with the aftermath which shows how the friendship with survive, something this novel does well. A true friend will stand by you, no matter what.
Besides Harriet my favourite characters were her Dad and Toby, Harriet’s self-confessed stalker and I know he shouldn’t have been but I will explain why. Her dad simply because he wants the best for his daughter which her step mother wants also but, he portrays it in a much more childish and fun way. Whisking her away to Russia without telling Annabel (not something I would recommend doing) he manages to make it fun for her and understands her reluctance and “Bambi legs” in this new world. And then there’s Toby. Ah Toby, I like him because of his confidence in his stalking and “owning it,” as it were. He makes no qualms about what he is and isn’t and is quite typical of crushes in school (not like obsessive stalking but still light stalking in awareness of where the other person is). It is a trait which many people can learn from (acceptance not stalking!).
I can’t think of anything negative about this book. I loved it and it even had the teenage romance weaved throughout it. It shows all of the problems that teenagers face realistically but in a fun setting. The relationship between parent child, self-image, friendship and teenage romance, and confidence; it encapsulated my teenage years and worries as I remember them and I’m sure many other people will as well.