Material Girls

336p. ebook available. HMH. May 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544388505. LC 20140009171.
Gr 9 Up—In this debut novel, the setting is a future world that is suspiciously like our own. The failing economy was supposedly reinvigorated by adding children to the workforce, and all of society is controlled by fashion trends. Told in alternating perspectives of Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde, this preposterous premise only gets more convoluted as the story progresses. Both teens were chosen in a ceremony to work in the all-powerful creative sector of society. Mara is a supreme-court judge for a fashion design firm and Ivy is a superstar singer living a manufactured life as a glorified spokes-model for the corporate "Silents." Following Marla's fall from favor at her company, and encouraged by her new coworkers in the "drafting" department, Marla and Ivy have a chance encounter at a fashion show that leads to a collaborative attempt to break the cycle of injustices that plague their society. The protagonists lack the charisma of dystopian heroines and the romantic triangle that emerges among Marla, Ivy, and their mutual friend, Felix, feels formulaic and lacks tension. The climax and conclusion are muddled by too many competing plotlines. Perhaps the most puzzling aspect is that in this world that is so focused on the novelty of fashion trends, no actual new ideas appear—Disco, Bohemian, and even 'Eco-Chic' are all old news to any reader with a genuine interest in fashion.
VERDICT Only for die-hard dystopian fans who have read everything else in the genre.

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