Dystopia meets the fashion world in Material Girls. Expect a lot of awards from adults who think teens should be thinking harder while they read. I thought it had an excellent message for YA readers, but I’m an adult, so . . . What will teens readers like? This is set in a world where teens rule the entire economic world. Really!
In a future where teen consumerism dominates the economy and being a unique individual is scorned, Marla and Ivy are beginning to question the roles they play in the manipulative grand scheme of the corporations that dictate society. This is a book about deciding if the freedom to make your own choices in everything from your career to your accessories is worth fighting for. Set in the cut-throat worlds of the fashion and entertainment industries, readers will delve into a world of glamour only to find hidden depths. Material Girls is well written and plotted. The dual narratives are shared between Marla, a sixteen year old fashion judge for one of the major fashion houses, and Ivy, a teen pop sensation. Both characters are rather superficial at first, but as the story progresses, it becomes clear that they are more than initially meets the eye. It takes a short while to sort out the social order of the setting, but once it is established, it is easy for readers to navigate. There are some pretty heavy handed themes about consumerism, corporate manipulation, and personal choice in this book. The message is one that I would love for my own daughter to consider. However, the mechanics of staging a revolution in the corporate world are rather boring, and both the pace and reader interest hit a wall when they become the focus. It is hard to predict whether high school readers will have the resilience to push past that roadblock to get the message. Hiding a smart book in fluff could be a brilliant move or it could be a disaster. I would recommend this book to high school readers and urge them to stick with it, but this may be one that is more popular with adult readers of YA rather than with YA.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.