Mar 6, 2013

Book Review: Geek Girl - Holly Smale

Title: Geek Girl
Author: Holly Smale
Release Date: February 28th 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Source: NetGalley
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?
When I read Geek Girl's title and summary, I thought I was going to love it. I thought I'd be able to relate to it. Finally, I thought, a book about a smart but socially-challenged girl who decides to reinvent herself. Unfortunately, Geek Girl couldn't have disappointed me more.

In less than fifty pages, I already wanted to stop reading this. Everything was just so exaggerated. Harriet was a know-it-all who couldn't stop herself from making her classmates feel stupid. Hermione Granger was a know-it-all who couldn't stop herself from making her classmates feel stupid. The difference between them? I loved Hermione; I hated Harriet.

With this book, I finally understood the difference between 'nerd' and 'geek', and if Harriet's a geek, then I'd like to be a nerd, thankyouverymuch. If not for all the trivia that her brain was loaded with, she would've been completely stupid. Everything about her character was forced, from her smartass-ness to her non-existent social skills. And since this book was written in her perspective... well, let's just say I was irritated and rolling my eyes almost the whole time.

The first few chapters were Harriet introducing herself and all, so I thought it'd get better once other characters were introduced. I couldn't have been more wrong, because it just got worse. Turns out it wasn't just Harriet who was exaggerated to the point of ridiculous, but all the other characters as well. In fact, the only character from this story who felt real was Harriet's best friend.

Even the plot felt forced. First, Harriet went on and on about how she knew she's a geek and that she's used to everyone ridiculing her because of it (by the way, I'm no supporter of bullying but if I'd known Harriet, I'd hate her too), but one day, after a bullying incident that, for me, was actually less hurtful than having geek written on her bag, she realizes that enough was enough and decides to change herself? Please.

I didn't think I'd need to elaborate on the bullying bit of the book. I mean, we all know it happens in real life, and it's not pretty. But for someone as knowledgeable as Harriet, she sure didn't handle it well. So there's Alexa, a girl from her school who hated her and had been making her life a living hell since they'd first met. And then during her first runway show, Harriet met models who made sure she knew that they hated her. Before she walked onstage, they told her that because people in Russia drove on the right side, they had been also been instructed, on the last minute, to walk on the right. Harriet didn't have a way of confirming this, so she's left with two choices: believe the models (who were just messing with her), or think they're lying. She thought that if she didn't believe them, it was like she's losing faith in humanity just because of her past experiences with Alexa. Major facepalm moment, everyone.

I don't think I've ever struggled this hard to finish a book, and if not for the fact that I've already DNF-ed a few books in the past weeks, I wouldn't have bothered trying so hard with this one, anyway. But if you think you can handle a heavily dense main character, then I suggest you give Geek Girl a try, because despite all my rants above, it did entertain me with the smart dialogue and especially with that sweet ending.

MY FAVORITE PART was Harriet's dad's pair of trousers and couple of gloves. So sweet.

(cover and summary from


  1. So the girl is a know-it-all geek and changes herself because people make fun of her and bully her. Is that the story? Really? Why would you change yourself? I don't get it and yes I would have hated Harriet to if she made other students feel stupid just because she's knows everything. I think I'm going to skip this one but the cover is pretty though.

    1. She did get enlightened in the end, but I was too disappointed with her by then :(

  2. I'm pretty certain now that this isn't for me! Not that I know what the difference is between a nerd and a geek, but I always considered myself a bit of both, though Harriet doesn't at all sound like a character I could relate to. Sorry to hear this was a struggle for you! I've had to DNF quite a few books myself in the last few weeks. Hope your next one is better, Kazhy! x

    1. I've seen lots of positive reviews for this so I was really surprised to not like it. Thanks, Sam! :D

  3. I really like the cover of this book and the plot seemed pretty interesting. Harriet doesn't sound like an appealing character at all. Thanks for the honest review. I think I will take pass on this one. Too many other books to read anyway.

    1. I thought it sounded really good, too. No problem, Kay :D

  4. I was sad when I wasn't approved for this on NetGalley but reading your review, whew, bullet dodged! Haha! What an honest review! :)


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