Dimopoulos, Elaine Material Girls, 319 p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. Language: G (3 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG (making out); Violence: PG (battery of security officer).
Marla and Ivy are at the top of their game in a world where youth rules. Some kids are tapped straight out of 7th grade to curate their creative talents in the fashion and performance industries, while those not tapped are labeled “adequate”, destined to fill those loathsome, low-status positions in society like doctor, scientist, journalist, or teacher. However, youth is fleeting, and it is a dog-eat-dog world to stay on top of the latest fashion and pop trends, lest one be disgracefully labeled an obsoloser. Both Marla and Ivy learn what it takes to stay at the top, and begin to question whether the sacrifices are worth the gain to maintain their respective places in their industries.
The fast-pace of change in the industry is mirrored in the writing in this book, and the reader is drawn irresistibly into the high-pressure world of fashion and fame. Appealing characters abound in situations that make the reader question where they would stand, or what they would do differently. Ultimately, this book introduces young readers to complex ideas about freedom, competition, and the economy, as the roles of management, labor, and the consumer are explored. Additionally, this book has the reader question the necessity or use of substances that dull pain and blur one’s thoughts and feelings in an effort to improve their mood. This book is great fun while providing much food for thought.
MS -ADVISABLE HS-ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: JA