Publishing Date: January 27 (originally published in UK, Feb 2013)
Genre: young adult, contemporary
Harriet Manners is tired of being labeled a geek. So when she’s discovered by a modeling agent, she seizes the chance to reinvent herself. There’s only one problem: Harriet is the definition of awkward. Does she have what it takes to transform from geek to chic?
Geek Girl is the first book in a hilarious new trilogy. It was also the #1 bestselling YA debut of 2013 in the UK, where it was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Best Book for Teens. With all the humor and fabulous shenanigans of Louise Rennison’s Confessions of Georgia Nicolson and Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries, Geek Girl is about to become an international superstar.
Harriet Manners is definitely the girl to take on trivia nights — she watches documentaries, researches random events, figures, and cultural concepts for fun, and stores it all away in that big brain of hers. Unfortunately, she’s a “polar bear in a jungle,” a misfit in her class, and bullied every day for being a geek. She only has one friend, Nat, and Holly promised Nat she’d go to Birmingham with her for a fashion event. It’s Nat’s dream to be involved in the industry, so when Holly is discovered by a modeling agent, it causes quite the rift between the girls. Not to mention Holly’s confusion over her sudden fame in the fashion world. How is she supposed to transform from a geek to a model when she’s attacked by every loved one?
Harriet is incredibly charming, witty, and funny. Strange things happen around her each day at every turn, and watching her stumble through the social etiquette made me both laugh and wince. This girl is intelligent, but her social fumbles really place her as an outcast. For example, before she’s whisked away to Russia for a fashion shoot, she stays up all night researching the history of fashion, and ends up spouting trivia to other models that are completely unrelated to current fashion trends, like the origin of cufflinks.
Everything about Geek Girl is a comedic whirlwind of snappy dialogue, fast action, and exaggerated caricatures. A quick read, and despite the humor and wit, it truly does speak volumes about bullied young adults with unbridled enthusiasm and curiosity. It takes time — as it does for everyone in life — to realize she doesn’t need to blend in to be spectacular, to conform with others and lower her intelligence to be liked and popular. She’s perfect the way she is, “polar bear in a jungle” and all.
I’m very excited for this to be published in the US! Stacey gave great reviews for the trilogy, so brilliant that I was upset to find it was a UK publication. This will be a major hit in the US, and I can’t wait to read more on Harriet Manners!
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from HarperTeen for review!
2 thoughts on “Book Review: “Geek Girl” by Holly Smale (ARC)”
Morgan @ Gone with the Words
I’m really excited for this book!! I found it on Book Depository but I’m glad it’ll be pubbed in the US now too. It sounds really funny and cute, and any book that is compared to Louise Rennison is a book I’ll read 🙂 Loved your enthusiastic review!
Thanks, Morgan! I’ve been stewing away on this side of the pond ever since Stacey @ Pretty Books reviewed the trilogy. When I saw it was coming to the US I died over and over and then devoured the ARC. Definitely cute. It’s like…Gilmore Girls meets fashion meets Georgie Nicholson meets AWESOMENESS.