material girlsI don’t know what you say about this book. I didn’t know much about it before I started and I was intrigued by the ideas it looked, however completely aware that this novel would either be a complete flop or thought provoking and entertaining. Luckily, this novel wasn’t a flop and I read it in one day whilst on holiday. I just couldn’t put this book and why, I’m not sure.
This novel focuses on lots of different, currently very relevant issues such as the price of fame, fashion and trends, different jobs and their value and being environmentally conscious. These issues were all taken to the extreme in a futuristic world, where image is everything. Looking good is important, children don’t even call their parents Mum or Dad and must have the latest trend, never wearing anything more than once.
This novel focuses on two protagonists who’s stories eventually intertwine in a clever way. The first is Marla Klein, an ex Superior judge who was demoted to a mere drafter, someone who draws the new fashion designs, for one of the Big Five fashion houses Torro LeBlanc. The other is Ivy Wilde, a famous popstar who is constantly acting in order to make sure she looks good. Both girls are 16, but have been working since the age of 12, when they were tapped into one of the creative industries.
Fashion and trends are the main focus on this novel, with both girls have a trendchecker which tells them when their clothes are out of date, as only the latest fashion can be worn. Ivy Wilde is even forced to wear a range called Torture which puts her in extreme amount of pain, in order to appear fashionable. This seems exaggerated and extreme to me, however realistically in a world where we are all becoming more and more obsessed with how we look, it may not be that far away.
In this novel, at age 12, children go through a process where some of them are ‘tapped’ into the creative industries which are the well paid jobs everyone wants and those who don’t make it, have to endure more years of school to become an Adequate meaning they do more academic jobs. Being an Adequate is frowned upon by society and really shows how they value jobs differently in a way that our world is becoming increasingly more like.
Through the character of Ivy Wilde, the author explores the price of fame. This character is forced to have a pretend boyfriend, be dressed in the latest fashion like a doll and do whatever her record label tell her. By trying to rebel against them, Ivy discovers she truly has no power and that is something she will have to live with I’d she wants to continue in her luxurious lifestyle.
This novel even delves into what it means to be environmentally conscious and how that can be reflected in fashion, be repeating clothes and using recycled materials as well as making sure the workers making the clothes are treated fairly.
My only complaint about this novel is the romance. It is just unnecessary and to me, appears to have been shoved in becuase every YA novel needs romance. I really didn’t feel the spark and just detracted fro! The dynamic of friendship that had been built within the group.
This novel is incredibly interesting in a way I never could have expected, the issues it looked at were thought provoking in a gentle sort of way that allowed me to still enjoy the storyline and appreciate the characters. One of the things I loved most about this novel is thee arcs that both characters make. You barely recognise the Marla from the beginning of the book, by the end. Both of them have to make tough decisions and in the end it doesn’t turn out happily ever after, but it does leave the situation with more hope than it started with. Originally I said the ending was unsatisfactory which in some regards is true becuase it doesn’t end in the usual way, that the main character wins, the evil corporation is destroyed and every one skips away happily, however what I have realised is that the situation is left with more hope than it started with, making the ending both happy yet realistic.