Saturday, May 16, 2015

Review: Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Project Runway meets Divergent in this insightful young adult novel that looks at fashion and consumerism in a world where children are the gatekeepers of culture and staying young and trendy are the keys to success.
MY TAKE:
The Project Runway-meets-Divergent comparison had me intrigued so I couldn't pass this book up.

In Material Girls, Marla is a hotshot judge who is part of a group that approves clothes and trends for one of the Big Five fashion houses. Ivy is a superstar, wild-child singer who isn't happy with the image she is being forced to maintain. Their worlds meet soon enough and things look up for both of them. However, the powers-that-be have other things in mind.

To be honest, the first third or so of the book, I wasn't really feeling the story. There was plenty of fashion, which was cool, but their world and society felt so shallow that I was worried about the logic behind their society's rules and what kind of resolution it would have.

The explanations for the slang, the society's structure, etc. came slowly but once I understood what the point of the society was, I was actually quite impressed.

Trends are not only a fashion thing. For example, for awhile, there was a vampire-books trend, and currently, there's a dystopian YA book trend. While it's these trends and how silly they tend to be are the focus points of the story, this book also talks about more important things. Like sustainable clothing, like how wasteful fashion and following trends can be, and also, surprisingly, unions.

The interesting thing about this book is that the society's creepy, controlling aspects actually exist in our world today, although they're probably just a little bit exaggerated here. I found this to be a very good thing because the book does make you care about the issues like unfair treatment of laborers. The younger generations, or really anyone who has lived a fairly sheltered life, can learn a lot here and hopefully, they'll learn to care and ask questions and learn more about the world around them.

While I liked the book overall, I think my teenage and pre-teen self would have liked this even more. I had a Captain Planet phase for awhile back then, plus Ivy and Marla most definitely think like teenagers. I found that while I remembered feeling the way they did, it didn't really strike a chord in me anymore. I was cheering them on, though. As for their love interest, I was actually kind of meh about him. I didn't dislike him or anything, but I felt like Ivy and Marla's personalities were too big for him, and to me he just kind of faded into the background most times.

Thanks to NetGalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It actually has something to say, and not just some abstract concept that's been rehashed before.
  2. There's plenty of fashion.
  3. Young girls can learn a lot from this book. 

THE BAD:

  1. The alternating use of first-person voice and third-person voice can be confusing and odd to some.

READ IT IF:

  1. You like fashion.
  2. You like books that raise awareness of something that people need to know and care about.
  3. You like reality television. 

RATING:
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