Review of Geek Girl by Holly Smale

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So many people, including people that I work with on this very Project, have read this book. I’ve seen mixed opinions, some people love it, some people hate it. So I wanted to see what was causing this Marmite debate was really all about. I bought it for my Kindle and I can see where the debate comes from.

Harriet Manners is a geek, because the Oxford English Dictionary and the graffiti on her bag tells her so. She has only one friend named Nat, and a stalker named Toby. She is dragged to The Clothes Show at the NEC Arena in Birmingham one day and she realizes that all Nat’s ever wanted to do is be spotted as a model, and that’s why she’s going. So what happens when Nat doesn’t get spotted, and Harriet does?

First, I’d like to talk about the description of the characters. Harriet and her stalker are portrayed to be 15. I don’t feel as though I can really make a judgement about Harriet but I do want to make a point of Toby. Is he really 15? Do 15 year olds have runny noses constantly that they wipe on a jumper sleeve? Do 15 year olds really obsess over girls so much that they promptly begin to stalk them? I’ve heard of creepy instances that sound really similar to this before but this much obsession doesn’t sound like a normal 15 year old thing to do, since, you know, GCSEs are a thing?

I’m also not sure I agree with the message that I seemed to get about this book. The book, to be fair, shows someone who’s not impossibly gorgeous, impossibly thin, impossible full stop (because there is such a thing as Photoshop), becoming someone different in an industry where different is not celebrated. But I seemed to get the impression Geek Girl was advocating people changing themselves to fit other people’s standards. Granted, it may not work out for her that well, but it still happens.

Maybe the book is also an unfair representation of geeks. But I don’t think that’s a main concern to be honest.

My recommendation for people who like this book is the Geekhood books by Andy Robb. Rather than a girl it’s the boy in these books by Andy Robb but they follow a pretty similar story and I think they’re pretty good too, so go give them a read!

I liked Geek Girl and I even liked the World Book Day mini book as well. But it’s probably not a series for me.

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