By Elaine Dimopoulos
Available now from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt BFYR
In the future, creative industries like fashion and video game design are staffed by teenagers (hired at thirteen) because everyone knows that young people know what is cool. Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde both rose to the top of their fields, but now their teens are almost over and their afraid of becoming obsolosers. When Marla loses her prestigious position and Ivy gets threatened by a new pop starlet, the girls start seeing the downside to their world and getting the gumption to fight back.
I found that MATERIAL GIRLS took awhile to kick into gear. I think it was a mix of two things. Elaine Dimopoulos built a dystopian that took a lot of set up to explain and ground the setting, and both girls start out shallow and unquestioning in order to make their journey more satisfying. I found that the plot didn't really move until Marla and Ivy met each other.
I thought MATERIAL GIRLS was full of good ideas. The way it mocks trends and commercialism reminds me of Scott Westerfeld's slicker SO YESTERDAY. I liked the way the girls' revolution came about, and that all the leaders had different ideas about what they wanted to achieve and how. I liked the messy, slightly ambiguous ending, that doesn't provide the story with unearned resolution. As the slow start showed, the execution could use some work.
MATERIAL GIRLS is the first novel by Dimopoulos, and I think it proves she has talent. If I were on a court picking the next big thing, I don't think I'd pass this book on to the next level. I would, however, encourage the artist to keep submitting ideas and honing her craft. There's a good foundation here.