This book follows the transition of Harriet Manners from class geek to globally recognised model. It was funny, well – written and easy to read, however I wasn’t completely convinced.
The characters in the plot were well developed, unique and relatable. Everyone has that one crazy parent, best friend and desire at least once to change your life. I really enjoyed the personality of Harriet’s father as he was supportive and trying to act cool in a bid to make Harriet happy. He just didn’t realise he was embarrassing her and acting improper in front of renowned people. I found him lovable throughout the book and a real champion parent. Harriet, Nat and Alexa were all typical characters who were expected after reading the blurb, yet Harriet’s other parent, Annabel was another unique, likeable, supportive and fun character. I came away from reading the book wishing I could find out more about Harriet’s parents rather than her modelling career.
As for the setting, Holly Smale did a great job of describing Russia, I felt like I was there experiencing it all with Harriet; the snow, the architecture, the personalities of the people and the culture. I really loved that part of the book, yet I had to wait 200 pages before any exciting travel could happen. I found the plot slow in places and upon reflection despite the book being interesting and funny, the real depth of the plot didn’t begin until three quarters of the way through and before I knew it, I had reached the end.
Reading this book, I had to remind myself it was set in England and not America. I felt much of the book was based on the type of American high school drama novels which is a silly thing to say because the bitchy character, the class nerd, the confident friend are all people who we can recognise from our own school days no matter where we are from. Therefore I think this is more of a reflection on the amount of American set novels I read rather than the writing style of Holly Smale.
The overall plot of the book was interesting, yet predictable. However I blame no-one but myself as the book is aimed at 11 years and up. I can imagine myself at 11 and I know that I would have loved this book back then and I would not have expected the twist of events, the change in Harriet’s life. I would have even envied Harriet’s opportunities, her friends and I know I would have loved reading this in the library in my own school setting. However I can assure many people that when you are grown up and working, the high school setting seems a lot farther away and because you know better than to listen to horrible comments and actions, the whole scene starts to become a little bit ….childish?
I thought this book was good, I liked the characters, the writing and the layout of the chapters. However this book was a wakeup call for me. I am getting old and losing touch with those early secondary school years that I loved, long before GCSE’s and when school was still sort of fun, no stress, no pressure, just school. I think I’ll pass this book onto the younger ones in my life and let them enjoy it. I gave it a 3 out of 5 stars on goodreads and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys the younger school setting in a book.