Geek Girl: All That Glitters by Holly Smale

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Geek Girl: All That Glitters by Holly Smale

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Harriet Manners is excited about going back to school as a Sixth Former: plenty of chances to shed her geeky image and make new friends. But although her two best friends seem to have changed and moved on over the summer, her enemies are still out there in force. And, sad to say, sometimes the worst one of all is Harriet herself.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 460 Date: February 2015
Publisher: Harper Collins
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780007574582

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If you're a bright, enthusiastic teen but not top of the popularity polls at school then this series of books by Holly Smale is absolutely made for you. Harriet Manners is, according to your point of view, either beautiful enough to travel the world modelling fabulous clothes, or a girl with a very ordinary face who got very, very lucky. She's clumsy and accident-prone, her dress sense leaves a lot to be desired, and she's far more inclined to research the fine art of making friends in a book (or ten) than go out there and have a go.

Everybody can identify with a girl who, despite her best intentions, makes dopy mistakes now and then. Mind you, if prat-falling were an Olympic sport Harriet would be up there on the podium draped in gold: there's isn't a puddle she hasn't fallen in or an awkward silence she hasn't made worse by trotting out some random bit of trivia. And she always, always manages to make her most memorable mistakes in front of bully-girl Alexa, ill-tempered new boy Jasper and half her year group. The girl really does have a lot of bad luck!

What really makes Harriet stand out is that in theory she's living the life others can only dream of. She travels to exotic locations for model shoots. Her name is linked with that of one of the most gorgeous boys on the planet. She's bright enough to catch up with any school work she misses, so a couple of days off for the occasional last-minute trip to, say, Marrakech isn't a problem. Her stepmother, far from being a wicked witch, is kind, insightful and patient with her. She has two really good friends (well, one friend and a stalker, but it comes to the same thing in the end). So, why is Harriet unhappy?

What follows is a lively, amusing tale of accidents, mishaps and misunderstandings. There is a hilarious account of the filming of a TV advert for a watch in the Sahara Desert (well, natch!). Holly Smale was herself spotted by a top London modelling agency when she was fifteen and, by her own admission, spent her time falling over on catwalks and generally breaking stuff, so she knows what she's writing about. Back at school though Harriet is hopelessly lost, a situation not helped by the fact she returned three or four weeks after the beginning of term, and her increasingly desperate efforts to make friends, while tear-inducingly funny from the outside, will cause many a kindly reader to feel a pang or two of pity. It all works out a little too easily at the end but if it's fun and laughter and a light-hearted adventure you're looking for, then this is the book for you.

You can read this book as a standalone but it would be a pity to miss all the nuances of Harriet's relationships. Start with volume one, Geek Girl, move on to Model Misfit which is Bookbag's favourite, then hit Picture Perfect. There's an interesting interview with Holly Smale on the site, too. Oh, and just as a bonus, there's a short story called Geek Drama in the World Book Day books-for-a-pound collection, which goes to show how popular the series is!

Holly Smale's Geek Girl Book in Chronological Order

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