Book Review: Geek Girl

I wasn’t supposed to buy any books this week. I told myself this. My logical overseer had a very civil talk with the mischievous imp that sometimes lives inside of me.

LO: Erin. Listen. You are a broke college kid who routinely goes over budget. No books.

MI: But–

LO: No. No arguments. No books.

MI: No books?

LO: Yes. No books.

MI: Yes books?

LO: No. No books. You are not to buy any books.

MI: I see. I see…buy books.

LO: NO. LISTEN, you will not buy ANY books until at least after your essays are turned in, is that clear? And while you’re at it, start writing those essays. And clear your desk off. And stop eating dessert for breakfast.

MI: *sigh*

With that important conversation over, a very chastened me had to go to the bookshop just to, you know, cheer myself up, and then I just  happened to see the Night Circus which was buy one get one half off, and I got so excited that I lost all monetary reasoning, and clearly this is not my fault, and I FEEL NO REMORSE, alright?!

Where was I? Oh, yes. So anyways, I bought Night Circus and because Geek Girl was also buy one get one half off I bought that too. In this case, two wrongs might just make a right

Book: Geek Girl 

Author: Holly Smale

Goodreads Score: 3.88 

My Score: 4.0 

Genre: YA contemporary 

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Harriet Manners 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. She knows that bats always turn left when exiting a cave and that peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite. 

But she doesn’t know why nobody at school seems to like her.

So when Harriet is spotted by a top model agent, she 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 impossibly handsome model Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

Veering from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, Harriet begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn’t seem to like her any more than the real world did.

As her old life starts to fall apart, will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

(Taken from Amazon)

I really don’t know what’s been up with me, but for some reason I’ve been on a row with YA contemporary lately, even though I usually find myself gravitating toward the YA science-fiction and fantasy and all that stuff. I’m loving it, too, even if I do sometimes expect daring sword fights to break out in the next chapter… Geek Girl, however, differs from my recent YA picks because it’s neither sad, soul-searching, or emotionally wrenching. Instead, Geek Girl is a fun, fast read from page one–the kind of book you read with chocolate and a blanket when you’re feeling sad. Yes, it deals with some weightier issues such as bullying (what is Alexa’s problem anyways? Much like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie-pop, the world may never know), family drama, and the like, but it’s the kind of book where you know that everything’ll turn out right in the end.

As for plot? Well, the modeling world as portrayed in literature can make for a fascinating and fun read, but what really enticed me into buying the book was simply the author, Holly Smale’s, voice. Harriet Manner may be clueless at times, but she’s endearing throughout and I loved reading all the quirky fun facts she intersperses throughout the book (like the true origin of the word ‘geek’…but I’ll leave that for you to find out).

That said, while Geek Girl was fun and fluffy, the basic premise of the book (nerdy girl transforms herself inside and out) has been done many times before, and Holly Smale didn’t deviate much from the standard, ensuing that most plot lines were resolved as soon as they popped up. The characters themselves often fell into categories that felt constrictive. Arch enemy Alexa is mean girl bully because she is mean girl bully. I also found Harriet, no matter how endearing, frustrating at times–especially since she seems to dramatize things just so that the book can have a plot.

Finally, the romance?

Well, the first meeting between Nick and Harriet was great:

“Do you often hide under furniture?”

“I don’t make a habit of it. Do you?”

“All the time.”

But it felt rushed towards the end and fourth-of-july corny. (Cuz of all the corn on the cob? Get it? No? Well, it’s late.) I’m also nervous to see how the romance will progress in the next couple of books, as, honestly, the two didn’t spend all that much time together in the first.

Of course, maybe some of the corniness and other gripes will be lost on the age group that this book is aimed at. Although I certainly enjoyed it and am planning on reading the sequel, I’d say that Geek Girl is probably marketed at middle grade. To sum up my feelings on the book, at its best, Geek Girl is a novel brimming with laughs, excitement, and fun. At its worst, it’s stereotypical and cliche. However, as quick of a read as it is, the latter two are minimum risks for you to take on the book, especially when you’re feeling down.

Have you read Geek Girl? What did you think about it? Have any books to recommend? Let me know in the comments below! 

Muses, Music, Muse, and More

So, if you’re anything like me, you love books, you love music, but you don’t love the two of them together. I much prefer reading in silence, or at least as silent as it can be in this world that we live in. I like putting all my concentrating on the book that I’m reading, and so music can be distracting. Music I’m content to listen to whenever I’m not reading, so it works out. But sometimes, I’m in that strange mood where I need to read, but I also need to listen to Spotify. So in honor of this feeling, I’ve compiled a list of songs that fit the general mood of each of the following five genres. This is less of an informative guide than a bookish game, so feel free to play along in the comments and list your own suggestions.

1. Dystopian 

  • Eyes on Fire – Zeds Dead RMX by the Blue Foundation
  • Uprising by Muse
  • Prelude 12/21 by AFI
  • Don’t Stop Dancing by Kaskade, EDX, and Haley
  • I Am Not a Robot by Marina and the Diamonds

Since I equate the future with electronic influences, anti-authoritarian themes, and just general music that you would listen to while walking down a dark street at night while angry, I picked out these songs. Well…all but the last. I Am Not a Robot I included solely because of the name. Robots! The Future! Yeah!

2. Humor 

  • Just the Two of Us – Dr. Evil Mix by Dr. Evil
  • Goofy Goober Rock by Spongebob SquarePants
  • YOLO by the Lonely Island
  • Nice Guys by Chester See, Kevjumba, and Ryan Higa
  • Bananaphone by Raffi

These songs will either enhance your comedy reading experience, or drive you crazy (especially the last song). In any case, they’re all either funny, silly, or so annoying that it’s actually a good song.

3. YA Contemporary 

  • Human by Jon McLaughlin
  • Maybe by Sick Puppies
  • This Ain’t Goodbye by Train
  • The Mixed Tape by Jack’s Mannequin
  • Stacy’s Mom by Fountains of Wayne

I feel these songs encompass a few of the themes that YA Contemporary books explore. How people change over time, for good or for bad, first loves and the way they end (or don’t). How, in the end, we’re all just human. (Really. You know, since YA Contemporary isn’t about werewolves and warlocks and death deities. Hehe.) I had to include The Mixed Tape because Mixed Tapes were such an iconic part of the teenage life, back a few years ago (and I’m looking right at you Eleanor and Park, as I include this song). And finally, I included Stacy’s Mom because it was the song of my teenage years, and it just captures that fun essence that a lot of YA Contemporary books include (except for the ones who don’t have any fun, and just proceed to break your heart, time and time again.)

4. Paranormal

  • Bring Me to Life by Evanescence
  • Dark Doo Wop by MS MR
  • Bloodstream by Stateless
  • In Fear and Faith by Circa Survive
  • Demons by Imagine Dragons

Vampires, Zombies, Immortals, oh my! The paranormal category features all kinds of different creatures, and more often than not an angsty love pairing. Some of these songs have great titles that match up to certain creatures (Bring Me to Life = Zombies, Demons = Duh). But Bring Me to Life also has that creepy, supernatural feel to it. In Fear and Faith brings that much needed angst to this category, and Dark Doo Wop is a haunting song that would pair perfectly with a number of paranormal books. I was biased to Bloodstream because I heard it on the Vampire Diaries soundtrack, and it’s title is perfect for all those Vampires out there, but the general feel of it is also very paranormal. Give it a try. You’ll be hooked.

For the fifth genre, I’m switching it up a little. (I know, I’m such a liar). Instead of picking a genre to coordinate with songs, I’m picking a single book. I’m just going to wonder over to my ‘favorites’  shelf and pick a book at random.

5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

  • I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie
  • Oblivion by Bastille
  • Slow Dancing in a Burning Room by John Mayer
  • Look What You’ve Done by Jet
  • Dark Paradise by Lana Del Rey

I think all these songs exactly describe the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff, or the way their relationship affects others. Slow Dancing in a Burning Room is basically what they do. Even when everything is crashing down around them, they cling onto each other, shutting out the outside world. Catherine is inherently selfish, and Look What You’ve Done is dedicated to her. Why, Catherine? Why didn’t you just marry Heathcliff and contain all of these events?! The other songs are mainly from Heathcliff’s point of view, as he is haunted by the need to join Catherine. To end, let me quote Dark Paradise. For all of those who have read Wuthering Heights, it’s pretty accurate, right?

“Loving you forever, can’t be wrong.                                                                                                          

 Even though you’re not here, won’t move on.” 

and

“Your soul is haunting me, and telling me

That everything is fine, but I wish I was dead.

Every time I close my eyes

It’s like a dark paradise

No one compares to you, I’m scared that you

Won’t be waiting on the other side.” 

So, thanks for reading. What are some songs that you would match up to certain genres or books? Let me know in the comments below! Also, as an important side note, thank you guys so much! I recently hit 100 followers, and I’m both so honored and so humbled by everyone who has taken the time to follow and comment on my blog posts. Thank you, all. If there was a way to send out virtual cookies to you, then I would take that opportunity. But since I cannot, I offer my gratitude instead. Thanks, again!