by Elaine Dimopoulos
Review by KM
One of my biggest guilty pleasures is marathoning Project Runway whenever a new season ends, taking a full weekend to bask in the design process as I lay on my couch in pajamas. I myself suck at fashion; I’d be considered to be a total obsoloser with my geeky graphic tshirts and jeans. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy some great fashionable books.
I knew I had to have Material Girls in my collection when it was described as “Project Runway meets Divergent.” Seriously, does anything sound cooler than that?
In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves. Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives?
I love this book. It’s exactly the type of book I’d recommend to a high-school girl who was having trouble finding a book that really grasped her while reading, or a girl who loved reading and needed something fresh.
Marla and Ivy come from different, but similar, backgrounds in the beginning. They’re both at the top of their career pyramids; both have the potential to fall to the bottom whether they like it or not. What made this great is how they could be friendly, but had such different reactions to their situations. Their paths diverged based on their decisions, but I would be hard-pressed to say either of them made the wrong choice. They both valued their priorities and understood the sacrifices they’d have to make. Sure, one character seemed to be more fulfilled in her life at the end of the book, but the other woman doesn’t seem unhappy. More than that, the ending left an opening for a sequel if wanted, but closed enough of the plot for it to feel like a satisfying end.
The dystopia that Material Girls shows is so based on corporation control that it isn’t hard to see how our society could transform into that. If it wasn’t so clear, there are hints throughout that show exactly how this came to be. It’s interesting to evaluate our current lives to see how close they are to those in the books, if not to the same severity.
My favorite part of the book though had to be how well Dimopoulos nailed the feeling of being seventeen. There is just something about being almost an adult that makes you feel like you’re capable of anything. You’re at the top of your world, handling all these new ventures with the optimism that comes from never having been disappointed. It is exhilarating and wonderful; it was great to feel that through Marla and Ivy.
Welp. I wrote a longer review than I intended, but if you manage to get to this last sentence, I sincerely hope you look for this book that releases on May 5th.