New Books: Material Girls

Material Girls
By Elaine Dimopoulos

The press release I got for this book described it as “Project Runway meets the Hunger Games.” Which … it’s not. Not even close. But it’s still a pretty fun read.

In Marla’s world, you are what you wear — and teenage Marla was lucky enough to land a spot on the Fashion Court of a major design house. Like all tweens, she’d maintained an online presence throughout her childhood, hoping to be tapped into a cool arts and entertainment career rather than ending up as an Adequate with a boring job, like being a doctor or a journalist. On the Fashion Court, Marla and her co-judges decide what fashions will be the next trends (musketeer coats! barbed-wire bracelets!) and which will never make it into the showroom. It’s the best job in the world — even her parents envy her — so Marla’s crushed when she’s unceremoniously dumped from the court and sent down the basement with the grown-ups to work in the design department.

Ivy Wilde has made a name for herself as a party-hard pop singer, complete with a perfectly coiffed entourage and access to all the latest trends. But the more famous she gets, the less satisfied Ivy feels. Even the little pink P-pills aren’t lifting her mood like they used to.

When Marla’s path intersects with Ivy’s, they come up with a plan that could change fashion — and society — forever. Soon, Ivy’s encouraging her followers to bring back expired trends and Marla’s leading the fashion house workers on a strike. But in world that runs on consumerism, can two girls really make a difference?

Material Girls probably won’t be the best book you read this summer — it’s a bit shrill and preachy in some places, a little too predictable in others — but it’s definitely worth considering for your pool bag or airport layover. Some of the details — like the trend checker that Marla uses to scan her clothes for their current fashion status — are fun because of how realistic they seem. And the warning against conspicuous consumption is certainly a fair one. Sometimes, you just want a fun and frothy book — and if you're a dystopian fan or a fashionista, you'll find Material Girls a good bet.