Book Review: ‘Picture Perfect’ by Holly Smale

March 31, 2016     Holly     Reviews

Book Review: ‘Picture Perfect’ by Holly SmalePicture Perfect by Holly Smale
Series: Geek Girl #3
Published by HarperCollins Children's Books on June 5, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Humor
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
4 Stars

Harriet Manners knows more facts than most. She knows that New York is the most populous city in the United States. She knows that its official motto is "Ever Upward". She knows that 28% of Americans believe we never landed on the moon.

But she knows nothing about modelling in the Big Apple, and how her family will cope with life stateside. Or how to "become a brand", as the models in New York put it. And, even more importantly, what to do when the big romantic gestures aren't coming from your boyfriend...

Does geek girl go too far this time?

The laugh out loud follow-up to award winning GEEK GIRL and MODEL MISFIT will have you in stitches.

There’s only one thing to say about Picture Perfect, Holly Smale’s third venture into her Geek Girl series…

Holly, how could you end it like that?! We Hollys need to stick together!

Okay, obviously I have quite a bit more to say about this novel, because it’s another wonderful example of Smale’s ability to tell stories through strong narration and witty language, but that ending. (Also, obviously, I’m not going to tell you anything about the ending because the spoilers would ruin it all.) But before I get into the nitty gritty, let’s talk about Picture Perfect‘s plot.

Harriet Manners, our favorite geek-model, is once again watching her entire plans float off into the distance like dust in the wind. A sudden move to NYC for her father’s job leaves Harriet friendless in a foreign country with no one but a stressed out mother, wailing baby sister, and incredibly tough tutor. The only good news? Her gorgeous model boyfriend, Nick, is closer than ever! Picnics in Central Park and kisses at the top of the Empire State Building are all part of her NYC plans…that is until she finds out she’s living an hour and a half outside the actual city by train.

But when her parents forget her sixteenth birthday, Nat is too busy to call, and Nick ends up at the wrong train station, Harriet has had enough. Thus begins her summer of “running away,” and it all goes downhill from there.

What I love about Picture Perfect, much like I loved about the other novels in the Geek Girl series, is that Harriet is about as real of a teenage narrator that you can get. She’s still super awkward and oblivious and adorable, and her humor blends in with her strength as a narrator to make her one of my favorite characters of all time. I will say, in this particular novel, I found moments where I was rolling my eyes at some of the stuff she was doing and saying, only because I felt she had grown past a lot of her immaturity in Model Misfit. But those moments didn’t taint my view of her at all. I just had to keep reminding myself that we all did silly, immature things at sixteen.

And I love that Smale expanded Harriet’s world into NYC, a place that I’ve actually visited and could really imagine in my minds eye. Reading about Harriet experiencing her first view of Grand Central Station’s ceiling and walking onto the streets of New York for the first time was like reliving the same things all over again. I felt a bit more connected to Harriet in those moments than I ever have. Watching Harriet’s universe expand was also like watching the character herself expand and grow as Picture Perfect unfolded.

I will say that the reason this novel got a less than a 5-star rating was because I felt that the new supporting characters added in Picture Perfect we no where near as strong in this novel as they were in the last two. I was much less interested in them, and would have rather seen more of Wilbur or Harriet’s grandmother. I felt like they didn’t further Harriet’s story in ways that others had in novels past.

Lastly, before I wrap up this review, I have to talk about Nick. Obviously, I wasn’t Nick’s biggest fan in other novels. He was okay, and there was never anything wrong with him, I just didn’t feel like Harriet’s story needed a love interest in it. Well, I TAKE IT ALL BACK! Nick was wonderful in this novel. Simply amazing. And I will never ever EVER take him for granted again. View Spoiler » The relationship in Picture Perfect between these two was just so much more evolved that I can’t not jump on the Nick bandwagon.

Obviously, I’m still totally in love with the Geek Girl series, and after reading Picture Perfect I’m dying to get my hands on the next book. What could Harriet possibly get into next?



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