Both Daisy (11) and I (31 and 1/2) absolutely adore Geek Girl, the hilarious and touching contemporary, by debut author Holly Smale. We are equal parts honoured and delighted share this glimpse of Harriet Manners (from chapter 11) in all of her list making, uncoordinated, geeky glory. 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?
People Who Hate Harriet Manners
Owners of stalls 24D 24E 24F 24G 24H
I try to blame Nat’s coat dangling on the floor, but Hat Lady is having none of it. There is a lot of squeaking: mine, mostly, followed by hers. And then the crowd gets suddenly bigger.
Apparently I haven’t just knocked over the hat table. Her stall has dominoed into the stall next to it, which has dominoed into the stall next to that, and before I know what’s happening there are six stalls, strewn creatively over the floor, with me lying in a heap in the middle. It’s the fault of those silly fake partitions, in my opinion. They just aren’t stable enough.
Clearly, neither am I.
“This is why I didn’t want you to touch the hats,” Hat Lady is screaming at me as I struggle to get up.
Every time I put my hand down, something crunches. And not in a good-crunch kind of way. In a hand- through-hat kind of way. “You’ve ruined everything!”
From my position on the floor I can see that the tables have crushed at least seven hats, and another three have been hit by the jug of water on one of the now tipped-over chairs. Along with the sign. Another four hats have shoe-shaped dents in them and footprints on the brim. I’m sitting on at least three.
OK, she has a point.
“I’m sorry,” I’m saying over and over again (crunch, crunch, crunch). Everywhere I look are the faces of people who don’t seem to like me very much. “I’m really sorry. I’ll pay for it. I’ll pay for all of it.”
I have no idea how, but I suspect it’s going to involve a lot of car washing and about six hundred years’ worth of groundings.
“It’s not enough,” the woman yells. “This is my biggest sale day of the year! I need to attract a client base!”
I look around briefly. From the size of the crowd, she’s definitely attracted something.
“I’m sorry,” I say again, with my face flaming – because I really, truly, honestly am – and I’m just about to burst into guilty tears when a man wearing a fluorescent yellow jacket and a jaunty black hat leans forward and grabs hold of my hand.
“I’m afraid you’re going to have to come with me,” he says firmly. Then he looks at Hat Lady. “Don’t worry, Sugar,” he adds. “She’s going to pay for the hats. I’ll make sure of it personally.” And he starts leading me away from the carnage.
I gape at him, totally speechless.
So far today, I have nearly died of my own fake illness, fallen over – three times – been shouted at, humiliated, vomited on, abandoned and I’ve managed to trash an entire section of an indoor market. And now, just at the point where I thought it was impossible for things to get worse…
I’ve just been arrested.
Massive thanks go to the team at HarperCollins Children’s books for giving us permission to share this excerpt with you today.
Geek Girl by Holly Smale was published on the 28th February and is available now in paperback (£6.99) and e-book formats. Read Daisy’s review of Geek Girl here. Posted by Caroline