June 11, 2015

Material Girls - Elaine Dimopoulis

Author: Elaine Dimopoulos
Pages: 336 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley
About: 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?

Material Girls took me a while to get into and I think that it's probably the fault of the description on Netgalley.  It tried to sell it as Divergent meets Project Runway, so my brain kept trying to shove it into a dystopian box and it wasn’t working.  Usually with dystopias there is a very clear picture as to why our world has fallen apart and we’ve transitioned into a new government system.  With this one I couldn’t really figure out what would have necessitated the corporations to be so harshly structured.  The other issue that held me back in the beginning was it was a little too ‘fashion’ at first. (I know, that’s what it’s about, whatever).  There was a ton of detailed descriptions of fabrics and over the top trends that I had to slog through to get to the story.

As I kept reading the storyline did become easier to swallow and I think a big part of that is because of Ivy.  I expect celebrity stories to be over the top as a rule, so this hyper consumer driven atmosphere was a lot more natural in her part of the story.  I liked that you got to see how this system affected all different levels of people: from Ivy’s brother Constantine, who was just young enough to start being affected by the rules and regulations concerning his future career, to Ivy at the top of the ladder setting the trends (kind of), to Marla who was demoted from her job of deciding what’s trendy and becoming a basement dweller creating the trends (a lot less glamorous than it sounds). 

This was kind of a bleak story.  The amount of job insecurity on every level was bananas, the trends were insane-like actually make you bleed, insane, there’s no place for older people in the workplace, the overseers of your job can drug you to get you to do what they want.  It was just crazy.  I think my favorite aspect of this world was the trendchecker, which allowed you to scan your item of clothing to check if it was on trend or expired.  It sucks that you basically had to get rid of expired trends, but I would spend so much time scanning my clothes just to see if something was expired or not.  And then I would probably wear it anyway because I don’t care as much about trends as the powers that be would want me to.  

All in all, Material Girls was too much concept and not enough reasoning behind the concept.  

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