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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Harriet Manners is the textbook definition of a a geek. She's actually okay with that. She likes her intelligence and doesn't understand everyone else's fascination with clothes and makeup and superficial pursuits. Then she accidentally gets discovered as the next big model and things spiral from there. Does she have what it takes to shed her geeky exterior and become a worldwide sensation or will her never quieting mind prevent her from letting go enough to allow it to happen?
I loved Harriet from page one. She's smart and funny and completely unpopular in the best way. Climbing the social ladder isn't really on her to do list. She is a little sick of being picked on, but she doesn't necessarily want to be the highest rung on the ladder. She just wants to be allowed to geek out. So when she get's discovered as a model, she decides that maybe it's time to try something new. Try on the pretty clothes and the makeup and actually talking to Nick, the male model she'll be posing with. Things go from awkward to normal and back again over and over and over and it was thoroughly entertaining. I love Harriet with the makeup and wannabe girliness and without it. Her inner snark had me rolling in laughter from page one and I couldn't help wanting more. I love that she likes who she is, but I also love that she is brave enough to try something new. Stepping out of her normal role and into something scary and new is far from easy, but she tries. She gives it her all even though she doesn't really know what she's doing. It just made me love her more.
I could speak to the other characters, but really, she's the main one. The rest all play their roles, filling in where they are needed and making connections with her at the appropriate moments. Nick shows up every so often to provide just enough confusing swoon-worthy stares to move her obsession along just a bit more. Her dad and Step-Mom provide parenting like moments. I gotta say that I loved her Step-Mom quite a bit by the end. She's not perfect and she's not Harriet's bio-mom, but she loves her and is more attentive than Harriet and Dad realize. In the beginning, I was irked by her bossing Harriet around, but she really does have the best of intentions and that scene, in her office at the end, well, let's just say we should all be so lucky.
What really won me over with this novel was it's laugh out loud comedy. I know LOL is a term people throw around constantly, but rarely does a book make me snort or laugh or giggle out loud. Smiling or internal chortling happens constantly, but few are good enough to make me really laugh out loud. And this was one of them. It is full of humorous dialogue and outrageous shenanigans and enough awkward situations to have you laughing and hiding your face simultaneously. I also loved the ending and the message that carries. I won't spoil anything, but I will say that it is the perfect message for teenagers and more books need to go in that direction.
I know many people have compared it to Louise Rennison's Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series and I whole heartedly agree with that comparison. This is right on that Georgia level and that is a huge compliment. This is laugh out loud funny with enough heart to make it feel real. I recommend it to every reader out there. Old, young, boy, girl, chick-flick fan, or nerd lover, this will be loved by all!
****Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****