Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Young Adult: Coming of Age
Release Date: February 28, 2013
Harriet Manners knows a lot of things.
She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.
As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did.
And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?
Let me start out by saying I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book or not when I settled in to read it. However, I wound up giving it a five hearts rating, because I wound up loving it. Harriet is an amusing character, if one that isn’t entirely relatable to me. I’m most definitely a self-declared geek (and proud of it), but Harriet takes this to the extreme.
I can’t spout off random scientific facts the way that she can, but I can certainly relate to the feeling of alienation that she experiences from her peers. I think that nearly all young adults experience this at some point in their lives, though hopefully not to the degree that Harriet does.
Harriet’s best friend is a seemingly typical pretty young woman who doesn’t experience the same alienation that Harriet does. Like many typical pretty young women, she dreams of being a model, and being in fashion shows all over the world. She drags Harriet along to a fashion expo and much to Harriet’s shock, Harriet herself is picked out as a modeling candidate.
This drives a bit of a wedge between the two girls, and the way Harriet chooses to deal with it isn’t the most advisable. Worried that her BFF will be angry at her, but desperately needing a change in her life, Harriet agrees to set about on a modeling career. This brings quite a few more conflicts into play, because her stepmother most decidedly does NOT approve of this road for Harriet. Her father, on the other hand, is ecstatic.
There were times that this book had me in stitches, rather unexpectedly. It plays host to a whole array of colorful and entertaining characters, not the least of whom is Harriet. It is very well-written, believable, and full of warmth. The relationships between the characters are solid, and relatable. I’m incredibly glad I read this book. For those seeking a bit of romance, there is a hint of that, too, though over-all the core of the book is about a young woman who sets out to discover who she is, and learns to accept herself for being that person. I’d highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys the YA genre. You won’t be sorry!
Holly fell in love with writing at five years old, when she realised that books didn't grow on trees like apples. A passion for travel, adventure and wearing no shoes has since led her all over the world: she has visited 20 countries, spent two years working as an English teacher in Japan, volunteered in Nepal, been bartered for in Jamaica and had a number of ear-plugs stolen in Australia, Indonesia and India.
As a teenager, she also did a little modeling in the hope that eventually she would be sent somewhere exciting.
Holly has a BA in English Literature, an MA in Shakespeare, and currently lives either in London or @holsmale.