“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am still a geek.”
Harriet knows that modelling won’t transform you. She knows that being as uniquely odd as a polar bear isn’t necessarily a bad thing (even in a rainforest). And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.
What Harriet doesn’t know is where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives.
With summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get as far away from home as possible. But nothing can prepare Harriet for the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes.
Because, this time, Harriet knows what a broken heart feels like.
Can geek girl find her place on the other side of the world or is Harriet lost for good?
About six months after we last saw her, Harriet is taking her last GCSE exam, painted gold. Yep, she hasn't changed much! It's her summer holiday and she has a amazing plan for her and her best friend Nat but then horror: Nat is disappearing to France! Just as she thinks her summer is ruined, Wilbur, the agent from fluffy, stylish hell, says she's going to Japan! I loved everything about this book: Harriet, her relationship with Nat, and her parents, Wilbur with his insane quips, and Japan!
It was just as addictive and amusing as the first book. If not more so! Harriet hasn't really changed much, she is still spouting random facts, still unbelievably clumsy, still doesn't quite understand people. This is especially demonstrated in her relationship with Nick. Yes, Lion Boy returns! But it isn't all peachy in Love Land; he broke up with her just before her exams and she is heartbroken. Not to mention confused. I couldn't believe that the sweet boy from the first book could be so horrible to poor little Harriet. Not to worry, fellow romantics, it is not as it seems!
It's not just her love life that's not running smoothly. She is messing things up worse than usual in her modelling life and it seems that she is being sabotaged! It was a little scary to have someone dislike Harriet that much because as annoying as she is, she is such a sweetheart that I cannot comprehend someone deliberately trying to ruin her career. Luckily, or not depending on how you look at it, this was all happening in Tokyo. I couldn't not tell you all how much I loved the descriptions of city life the other side of the world. Just like Harriet, I loved how Tokyo was so alive, how it was this insane and beautifully different culture. Smale did a great job bringing the city to life, even in Harriet's apartment and her modelling job at a fish market!
It's a good thing she has such great friends and family because as much as I love her, I'm fairly certain she could not cope without them! As usual, Harriet gets so bogged down in the little things and I just wanted to give her a hug. I desperately wanted everything to work out and, with a little help from Wilbur and her slightly-crazy grandmother Bunty, Harriet manages a perfect photo shoot and a happy ending. I know I've said Harriet hasn't changed much, and that is true but there is some evidence of slight maturity there. She stands up for herself a little better in this book and understands things a little better. Although, saying that, she is still naive and silly but I loved how she toughened up.
I know I've just gushed through this review but I really did love everything about Harriet's story. She is annoying and can't shut up, but she has a good heart and does deserve the good things coming her way. And with a little sibling ready to burst out of Annabel, Harriet will be busy teaching her geeky ways! Oh, and speaking of her family, I have to say: her dad and Bunty rocks! Smale can really write great characters. If you don't read this book for the story, read it for all the laughs you'll get from those two!
Published 26th September 2013 by Harper Collins. Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.