Author: Holly Smale
Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: Harriet knows that modelling won’t transform you. She knows that being as uniquely odd as a polar bear isn’t necessarily a bad thing (even in a rainforest). And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.
What Harriet doesn’t know is where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives.
With summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get as far away from home as possible. But nothing can prepare Harriet for the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes.
Because, this time, Harriet knows what a broken heart feels like.
Huge thank you to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy of this book!
I will admit that I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up if Harper hadn’t sent a copy to me. I do have the first book, but I haven’t read it and wasn’t really planning on it… but after some asking around I found out that I don’t HAVE to read the books in order so I put this back up towards the top of my TBR and got to it.
Oh did I mention that this book takes place in Japan? Yes, another reason that I picked it up as soon as I did. I feel like it’s my duty to read ‘white-girl-goes-to-Japan’ books to determine if they’re accurate or not.
Surprisingly this book was really well done in that aspect! And I’ll get into that in a second.
This book is about Harriett’s continued journey of being an unconventional teen model. As I said, I haven’t read the first book, but I can assume that she was this super geek-y math/science/physics loving girl that got accidentally discovered and due to her uniqueness she shone as a model and got a modeling contract. She’s much like that in this book anyway. Harriett loves, and knows!, a lot of facts. A LOT of them. So many that it got to be a little annoying that every. single. chapter. started with one. I wish it would have been a little more random. I mean, I guess I learned a lot, but it was getting predictable and a little monotonous.
Anyway, Harriett is upset about her boyfriend, Nick, stepping out of the picture, and about her BFF going away for the summer. So when she’s offered the opportunity to go to Tokyo for the summer for a modeling job, she jumps right on it! Harriett is young, fifteen, and has to convince her parents (who were SO hilarious, I loved them!) to let her go. In steps her eccentric grandmother and off they go!
So I have yet to find a book about a white girl going to Asia that I don’t have some small problem with. I have found one that I didn’t DESPISE and I will now add this one to the list. I did nitpick while reading (see my updates) but overall this was very accurate and on point for a book about a girl going there as a tourist. And I think that because Harriett wasn’t moving there and living there that the surface observations and the tourist-y picture of Japan didn’t bother me. Yes I was annoyed that some of the Japanese was romanized wrong, yes I was annoyed that the white-girl-goes-to-Asia-can’t-us-chopsticks trope was used AGAIN, and that some of the ~weird Japan~ stuff was a little eye-rolling but overall it was very good. And made me homesick for Japan. But the tourist picture of Tokyo, Harajuku, Shibuya, and even Mount Fuji all worked for me. Nothing was over exaggerated (well, okay, Shibuya crossing was), or wrong. And this pleased me so much. Because whenever an author writes about a culture not their own they are teaching about that culture and it makes me SO angry when they teach things that are just plain wrong.
The story itself was nothing amazing. But it was cute and Harriett’s misfortunes and mistrals were entertaining. I actually did a little modeling in Japan while I was living there (nothing like this! More freelance armature stuff) so I really enjoyed the peek into the modeling world.
Harriett herself was a little frustrating at times because she was just so oblivious to a lot of things. I know, she’s only fifteen, but still, sometimes I wanted to shake her and be like JUST LISTEN!!!
Overall this book is very fun, a quick read, and highly enjoyable. If you’re already a fan of the series then you’ll surely like this! And if you’re just interested in this one (like I was) then read it without worrying about if you need to read the first one or not. Just enjoy!