Geek Girl: Model Misfit
London, HarperCollins, 2013, 387p
I have only just read this second book in the Geek Girl series and already I cannot wait to get my hands on the third!
However much Harriet tries to convince herself that her modelling career has changed her, she continues to be the socially awkward, highly unfashionable, unnecessarily intelligent girls she always was. She has just finished her exams, and has created an extensive and detailed Summer of Fun Flow Chart for herself and her best friend, Nat. So when Nat announces she is being shipped off to France for summer school, Harriet is devastated that her plans are crumbling around her ears, especially as she has been dumped by Nick a.k.a Lion Boy.
Luckily, the glorious Wilbur chooses this moment to call and announce that Harriet is needed in Tokyo for a new campaign. Unluckily, Harriet's parents refuse to let her go alone, and ship in her zany grandmother to escort her across the world. But in Tokyo, nothing seems quite as easy as it should be; and when Lion Boy turns up, things just go from bad to worse.
Although this book is a bulky 400 pages, it felt like a breeze to read, with short chapters and a fast paced narrative. I found myself wondering if Holly Smale has been to Japan, and what she truly thought of it, because she completely sold it to me, and now I want to go!
Harriet is a ridiculously entertaining protagonist, with her ability to come up with a random snippet of information for any awkward occasion. Where does Holly Smale get her facts from? I felt inclined to check some of them, but Harriet is so convincing that I was happy to just believe everything I read.
I like that Harriet doesn't change throughout her transformation into a model - partly because she herself seems unsure that she is even good enough to pull this off. But also because she has a brilliant supporting cast, with her excitable father and grounded stepmother, and her ever loyal stalker, Toby. In Model Misfit, Harriet is plagued by self-doubt - she is in a strange city, unable to contact her best friend, and haunted by the loss of the boy she loves. Like most teenage girls in this situation, she wants to just hide under a pillow and cry (and she often does), but as the reader roots for her, Harriet puts on a brave face and ultimately steals the show.