Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Geek Girl Blog Tour: Geek Chic

It is my absolute pleasure to be taking part of the Geek Girl blog tour today with a post by author, Holly Smale. I absolutely loved this book and you can read my review of it next Wednesday. Here is the synopsis:

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?



The word GEEK is everywhere right now: you can’t move without being confronted by a T-shirt, or a jumper, or a badge, or a cleverly designed necklace. “Geek Chic” has gone from bad trousers and too-white trainers to big glasses and cardigans and baggy jumpers to just cutting to the chase and branding yourself.

Is it a good thing? Yes and no. On a train last week, I saw a group of young girls with confidence and style proudly wearing GEEK T-shirts. Great, I thought, until I noticed that they were giving another girl a hard time. A quiet girl with slightly greasy hair and solid shoes and red eyes from where she’d been crying. It was a bit like watching somebody thrash a horse with a horse-tail whip: the irony just made it even more cruel.

“Geek” is not a fashion choice. It’s not a trend, or an image. It’s a hurtful word, and it’s used to wound and to ostracize. It’s one thing to take that word and reclaim it; make it a positive thing, and something to be proud of. It’s one thing to admit that you’re an outsider without shame: that you are a bit different, and that’s OK. That you’re obsessively passionate about unpopular things, or that you’re shy, or awkward, or uncomfortable around other people, or all of the above. That you don’t fit in, but it doesn’t matter.

It’s quite another to take that word and exile people even further.

The word GEEK has changed over the years. There was no place in the 90s for geeks, and slowly that seems to be shifting. But it’s a delicate balance. If the word GEEK becomes too fashionable, it risks creating even more isolation: not just of geeks from popular kids with the confidence to brand themselves (confidence that real geeks usually don’t have), but of geeks from a word they can identify themselves with. If all the T-shirts and jumpers become the property of bullies, it makes it even harder for real geeks to find pride in being what they are or to stand up against the people trying to hurt them.

GEEK is a powerful word. It brings with it pain, and pride, and separation, and unity. It can make people cry, it can make people feel stronger; it can divide people and it can allow them to feel part of something. We should use it carefully. And - if we decide to wear it not in our hearts but on our sleeves - we should do so knowing what it means. 

And behave accordingly.


Thanks Holly for such a fantastic post! Geek Girl by Holly Smale is out on 18th February and published by HarperCollins Children's Books, £6.99 (PB). Also available in e-book formats.


  1. That is a pretty great post! I love how Geek right now is a positive thing, something to be proud of, especially in YA books. But yes, it could also be used in a way to hurt people.

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  2. This is a very important post - I remember a saying back when I was at school which was "bricks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" - I remember thinking at the time it was a pretty stupid saying.

    Thinking about it now makes me think how damaging a saying it was, it makes it seem like the *ahem* teachers who used to say it look like they were brushing the problems under the carpet and secondly can give the impression to young people that it's OK to call people names and tease people as it will "never hurt them" .... when it's really not and really does hurt.

    Fab post :)