Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers on May 5, 2015
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 started out liking Material Girls. I think it had a super powerful message and I could easily draw comparisons to our real lives! It’s like the current fashion world, but multiplied and blasted into the future.
You know how there are trends today? Things are “in” and “out”. Well in Material Girls the trends last only weeks, or sometimes even days! They’re chosen by a “superior court”, which is made up of teenagers in the fashion world. There’s even a device where you can scan a piece of clothing and see if it’s “in” or “out”.
I felt like I could easily see how our world could become this world.
But where was the world building?
There was both good world building and bad world building.
The good was because the world itself was believable. There were so many details and parallels to our current world, that I believed the events in this book could happen. That’s definitely a good thing!
But the bad was because there was no history in the book at all. We got zero sense of how the laws and trends came to be. How, when, and why were the courts formed? How did the entire social system evolve? I don’t know the answers to ANY of those questions!
There was so much about Material Girls that I wanted to know but never got the chance because it wasn’t explained. For at least half the book, I kept thinking the explanations and history would come later… they never did. That was massively disappointing for me.
Then what about that ending?
Material Girls was a good book and I loved how it led to everyone questioning the system they were part of. But then the ending… IT JUST DIED. View Spoiler » [It’s like they decided it was too hard to fight and so they should just give up. I honestly didn’t expect everything to just end. I thought the rebellion would lead to change, I thought we’d see society reform. But none of that happened. Marla just gave up and let the “bad guys” win. « Hide Spoiler] Talk about an unsatisfying ending!
I really liked Material Girls.. BUT
The biggest disappointment for me is how much potential Material Girls had, and then it didn’t follow through. It was still a good book, but two big things really brought it down: the lack of explanations/history and the lacklustre ending that left me with the feeling that it was all for nothing.
If the plot interests you, I would still encourage you to check out Material Girls, just because it has such an interesting and believable concept. It’s almost freaky!
Oh too bad you couldn’t get on board with that ending, Ashley! I actually loved this book, because the way our world is changing behind the scenes, I could totally see this kind of thing happening silently, without many of us even noticing. Even how we see a certain body-type as being ‘right’ (not that we all agree with that, but we do see on body-type in advertisements), how those who do follow the fashion sometimes do so blindly.
And I thought the fact that they got kids out of school so early helped towards the goals of the 1%, by making sure those kids didn’t learn enough history for example, to make up their own minds about today’s society and what was wrong with it.
I’m glad you still found it pretty good, though, and I totally get what you mean 🙂
Have a fantastic Friday!
This book sounds really interesting, there seems to be a bit of a theme with all these books coming out revolving around looks and such. Anyway! The premise of this sounds fascinating, it’s disappointing that it didn’t really go into the history or deeper social systems or how they got there. I always want to know things get the way they do. I didn’t read the spoiler, but I’m very scared the ending is lackluster and not really “evolved” or anything. I think I will end up giving this a try because like I said, it sounds really interesting. Good review, Ashley.
I agree, the book kind of just died. The “climactic” part of book seemed so small and just not “loud” enough. It was too easy. Climaxes are the fights that the protagonists spends half the book preparing for. This climax just seemed like another part of a book you would read before the actual climax… Great review and thanks for sharing!
I went into Material Girls with rather high expectations and kind of fell flat on my face. It wasn’t bad, but I agree with you on the aspect of world-building and it took away a lot from what it could have been. Some things also felt a little far-fetched to me, even a bit off. And the characters shallow. I did enjoy some of it nevertheless