Geek Girl by Holly Smale
Harriet Manners is a geek; it says so in bright red letters on her backpack. Her only friends are her best friend, Nat, a wannabe fashion model, and her stalker Toby; the rest of the class, under the threat of Harriet’s nemesis, hates her. When she gets “discovered” at a model scout, despite knowing nothing about fashion and potentially ruining her friendship with Nat, Harriet takes the gig, hoping it will change her life.
Geek Girl is funny, charming, and a cute Cinderella coming-of-age, of learning to embrace yourself, stay true to yourself, and trust in your loved ones. What I appreciated was that Harriet’s makeover steered clear of the typical Cinderella moment, wherein the physical transformation helps everyone, including Cinderella herself, realize what was there all the time; Harriet struggles because she doesn’t feel any different, and those around her don’t look at her any differently just because she got a haircut and a cool job. I also appreciated that Harriet didn’t change who she was, that she put her relationships over her new gig.
The audiobook’s narration was funny, quippy, and really helped to bring all the characters to life. The interpretation of Wilbur was perhaps my favorite.
The characters, though somewhat stereotypical, were each fun and had their own voice and purpose in the story. Wilbur is hilarious, Harriet’s dad is adorably clueless, her stepmom is driven and the voice of reason, and Toby is just cray, but in a good way. Harriet herself has a lot of internal dilemmas, but she’s a geek in essence, and is always there to point out an obscure fact or feel completely out of her element (much like I would feel in the fashion world).
Is it perfect? Not even close. Is it full of cliches? Buckets. But is it fun and light and ready to put a smile on your face? Absolutely.
I haven’t read The Princess Diaries, but I imagine Geek Girl is a British similarity.