Warning: If you have not read the book “Material Girls” by Elaine Dimopoulos and wish to avoid spoilers, do not read this review. If you have read it or don’t mind spoilers, feel free to read it!
Another book review is here, and this time I’m reviewing “Material Girls” by Elaine Dimopoulos! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s 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?
Smart, provocative, and entertaining, this thrilling page-turner for teens questions the cult like mentality of fame and fashion. Are you in or are you out?”
I’m just going to put it out here now: I did not enjoy reading this book. There is little-to-no context given about the world of the book, for starters. The impression I had from the summary was that this book’s setting took place in the real world, in the present day, not some futuristic setting, so I was a bit surprised when I started hearing of all these concepts which I’d never heard of before. All of the concepts such as the Taps and the Adequates, the Superior Court and so on weren’t very well explained, either. I felt like that the writing of the book was trying to avoid a large info-dump when world building, which was nice, but it left so many concepts not fully explained enough in the process, and so that made the book a struggle for me to read.
I felt that the plot was horrendously static between the protagonists Ivy and Marla until around chapter fourteen. If their plots are meant to converge together at some point, why have it so late in the book? I understand that maybe the first few chapters could introduce their characters and a bit of their background and situation, and that’s fine, but did it really need to take about thirteen-to-fourteen chapters long? Even when they did finally meet and try to start up a revolution against the Superior Court and the structure of how fashion is chosen to be trendsetters in the book, I didn’t feel much of a collaboration between either of the protagonists. It just felt like they had one somewhat common goal and then worked separately on it rather than collaborating with each other. I also felt like their “eco-chic” trend that they used to get attention from everyone was simply for the sake of them being rebellious, and that they didn’t really care a thing about the environment. The ending of the book also felt lackluster, and I’m not sure with how it ended that it was supposed to feel like a cliff-hanger or if it was supposed to be completely resolved. That definitely irked me as well.
None of the other characters really stuck out to me, either. Ivy’s groupies, the nymphs, had no depth to them and it felt like they were just there to be ornaments. The same went for the friends Marla made after she got demoted to the basement to do drafting. Even when they were doing something, such as the protests against the Superior Court and so on, I didn’t feel their passion in trying to combat the corruption their workplace contains.
What I also found puzzling was the way the story was narrated. The story is narrated through alternating chapters of Ivy and Marla’s points of view, but Marla’s point of view is in first person while Ivy’s point of view is in third person. It made the book confusing for me to read overall, and I wonder why there couldn’t be a more consistent point-of-view by at least having both characters narrate through either just first person or third person, not one taking the first-person while the other has a third-person point of view.
There was also a lot of use of this “P pill” throughout the book, and I thought that maybe it would bring importance to the main plot later on and end up with cases of people going through drug abuse and dealing with it which might have been interesting to read. I was sorely disappointed when it didn’t hold any relevance to the plot whatsoever other than just being a mere pain-killer.
Overall, I’m giving this book a rating of 1 out of 5 stars because of the static plot, the lack of character development, concepts that weren’t fully explained and/or not used to their possible full potential, as well as the inconsistent point of view. I honestly wouldn’t recommend reading this book, unless you want a book that at least feels a little fashion-centric.