Author: Elaine Dimopoulos
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Dystopian
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Source: egalley received from publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 4 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?
Let me start this review by saying that I don’t think this book is for everyone. There were some things within that I think won’t work for people such as world-building, a quick romance (no instalove though) and a too quick ending. But if you love fashion, then you’re going to enjoy this book. Because I love fashion and I devoured the pages.
This book is set in a future where the creative industries such as fashion, movies, music and video games rule the world. Kids are tapped in 7th grade to work for one of the industries. Those not tapped become adequates and get jobs in the lesser industries like teaching or the medical field. The pressure that’s on these kids is crazy intense. If you don’t get tapped you’re in for a lifetime of disappointment.
There are two main characters in this book, Marla, who works for one of the big 5 fashion houses and Ivy, a pop star. Both girls POVs were really interesting. Marla serves on the Supreme Court at her fashion house which means that she makes the decisions on whether or not a design gets put into production. I loved hearing about all the crazy trends that cycled through the industry. Fashion moves fast in our world, but in this one it moves even faster. People have these trend guns where they can scan their clothes and see if the trend has expired. And if it has, most people are throwing the clothes out and buying new ones. The level of waste was insane. And I loved that the issue was addressed along with unfair wages and working conditions within the fashion industry. Even though this novel was dystopian, these are issues that we in our world can relate to.
For Ivy, life is just doing what she’s told. Even though she’s the pop star, she has no control over her decisions. She dates who they tell her to, wears what they tell her to and sings what they tell her to. I felt really bad for Ivy. She really gets no say in her life. Being one of the top people in her creative industry, you would think she would get to be a little more creative. But no, she’s basically just a puppet that her record label dresses up as they see fit. Again, even though this is a dystopian I believe that these issues exist in our world as well. I’m sure that certain celebrities are supposed to have a certain image and their agents/recording studios, etc. make them maintain that image. Maybe not to this extreme, but I’m sure it’s there. Just look at the desire to be thin in our world. Celebrities work their asses off and eat lettuce to maintain the bodies they have. I’m pretty sure that most of them would really just like to eat some pizza. Okay, maybe I just want to eat some pizza…
Now this book was not without its issues. The world-building was a bit lacking. There wasn’t really any explanation as to how the creative industries rose to power or why they decided to tap 13 year olds rather than adults. I also wasn’t crazy about the fact that these kids are literally pulled out of school and that’s it, no more education. I think education is so important and it made me a little skeptical that all these uneducated people are actually the ones ruling the world. And I’m not going to lie, I didn’t really connect to either of our two main characters. They didn’t have a lot of personality, though I think Ivy was the more interesting of the two. Which is why I think that this book isn’t going to be for everyone. I think you really have to love the fashion industry to be able to enjoy this, which I do, hence the four stars. A book full of crazy fashion trends, celebrity status pressure and an examination of the fashion industry workers’ working conditions/wages.
Have you read this one? What did you think?