Review: Model Misfit by Holly Smale

I loved Holly Smale’s debut novel Geek Girl, so I’ve been impatiently counting down the weeks until the release of the sequel, Model Misfit (Geek Girl, Book 2)

Model MisfitAt Geek Girl’s triumphant climax, Harriet has become a successful model despite being a huge geek, being bullied at school and having a huge crush on an unfeasibly good-looking male model.  We now rejoin Harriet to find that 6 months after her dramatic ugly-duckling-to-swan transformation…..she’s still as geeky as ever.  In fact Geek + Model = a whole new set of graffiti on her belongings.

Harriet still feels like a polar bear in the jungle when it comes to the modelling world, but with her step mother due to give birth imminently, she’s not sure whether she’ll fit in with her family anymore either.  When her best (and only) friend Nat is sent abroad, Harriet’s summer plans are in tatters & so when she’s offered a modelling job in Japan, she joyfully seizes it.

Whilst I invariably snap up sequels to books and films I’ve enjoyed, there’s always an element of nervousness in case it fails to live up to the cherished predecessor.  I needn’t have worried!  Model Misfit offers up the same ingredients that I enjoyed in the first book, yet somehow they’ve been artfully recombined to give a fresh new flavour.

The main bulk of the novel is set in Japan, and the setting is beautifully painted, with Holly’s passion for the country and culture clearly shining through.  Both the new setting, and Harriet being abandoned to her own devices for a brief period, allow us to see a new side of Harriet.  Favourite old characters are present, but the long distance element adds a new dimension to their interaction.  Fresh characters are introduced and, as in the first novel, painted in such a riot of glorious colour that they come triumphantly to life.  The plot is engrossing (sabotage, family conflict, love-triangles, what’s not to love?  I was awake into the small hours because I simply could not put this book down!) and the denouement is extremely cunning: if you see every element of it coming, I take my hat off to you!

Model Misfit can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, but trust me, read both, because even then you’ll be left wanting more.

Disclaimer: I received an eARC of Model Misfit via NetGalley for the purposes of this review, but the opinions given are, as always, entirely my own.

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