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Everyone's favourite Geek and her much-loved entourage are back
on 8 August 2014
Harriet is still Harriet - kooky, eccentric, loveable.
But this time the formula is starting to wear.
Set soon after the second book, when our adorable heroine has quit modelling. It's GCSE results time. Harriet and her friends are all nervous about their futures. But where is Nick on Harriet's important day? And why are her parents putting their belongings in boxes?
Her happy little world is about to get turned upside down. And just how Harriet copes with it is what readers of this series will be keen to see.
Except it felt a bit forced to me. It's 400 pages but it feels like very little actually happens. Alexa does her usual and initiates problems for Harriet. Nick hardly appears, smoulders from across the world and leaves Harriet to wonder how he feels about her (even though they are 'diary official' boyfriend/girlfriend). And you thought her modelling career was over? Well, where would the books be without her clumsy attempts to infiltrate the fashion world with her factoids and terrible dress sense?
Everything makes it's check listed appearance. And I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it. I love Harriet. And I always learn lots of interesting facts from these books. But it felt almost like half a book, and bitty. We see her friends, her family, a tutor plot, a secret modelling assignment, boyfriend trouble, but it's all quite quick and fast-moving from one to the other. Harriet learns some lessons (with sudden moments of revelation after some quite stunningly naive and suggestible decisions) and stumbles uncannily back to where you want her. The plot comes to an end when I thought it was just taking off.
I have to say, I just love Harriet's parents. They are my favourite characters. I want them to be my parents! A wonderful double act who could have their own spinoff. Toby is underused this time around, as is Nat. And Nick is just eye candy really (and also unrealistic in one sense - he's seventeen and never pushes Harriet beyond a kiss? Shows the age of the intended market I think). But he is sweet.
Anyway, those are my rambling thoughts. I love Ms Manners. I will probably still read book 4 as there are many aspects I love about this series. I recommend it to library readers already, aged 11-14. And I think it has a lot of merit. But it's not the best of the series.