Book Review: “Material Girls” by Elaine Dimopoulos

Warning: If you have not read the book “Material Girls” by Elaine Dimopoulos and wish to avoid spoilers, do not read this review. If you have read it or don’t mind spoilers, feel free to read it!

Another book review is here, and this time I’m reviewing “Material Girls” by Elaine Dimopoulos! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:

“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?”

Worldbuilding Development: 1 out of 5 stars

I’m just going to put it out here now: I did not enjoy reading this book. There is little-to-no context given about the world of the book, for starters. The impression I had from the summary was that this book’s setting took place in the real world, in the present day, not some futuristic setting. As a result, I was a bit surprised when I started hearing of all these concepts which I’d never heard of before. All of the concepts such as the Taps and the Adequates, the Superior Court and so on weren’t very well explained, either. I felt like that the writing of the book was trying to avoid a large info-dump when world building, which was nice, but it left so many concepts not fully explained enough in the process, and so that made the book a struggle for me to read.

Plot Development: 1.5 out of 5 stars

I felt that the plot was horrendously static between the protagonists Ivy and Marla until around chapter fourteen. If their plots are meant to converge together at some point, why have it so late in the book? I understand that maybe the first few chapters could introduce their characters and a bit of their background and situation, and that’s fine. However, did it really need to take about thirteen-to-fourteen chapters long?

What I also found puzzling was the way the story was narrated. The story is narrated through alternating chapters of Ivy and Marla’s points of view. However, Marla’s point of view is in first person while Ivy’s point of view is in third person. It made the book confusing for me to read overall. I wonder why there couldn’t be a more consistent point-of-view by at least having both characters narrate through either just first person or third person. It did not have to be one taking the first-person while the other has a third-person point of view.

There was also a lot of use of this “P pill” throughout the book. I thought that maybe it would bring importance to the main plot later on and end up with cases of people going through drug abuse and dealing with it. That might have been interesting to read. I was sorely disappointed when it didn’t hold any relevance to the plot whatsoever.

The ending of the book also felt lackluster. I’m not sure with how it ended that it was supposed to feel like a cliffhanger or be completely resolved. That definitely irked me as well.

Character Development: 1 out of 5 stars

I didn’t feel much of a collaboration between either of the protagonists, even when they did finally met and tried starting a revolution against the Superior Court and the structure of how fashion is chosen to be trendsetters. It just felt like they had one somewhat common goal and then worked separately, rather than collaborating with each other. I also felt like their “eco-chic” trend that they used was simply for the sake of being rebellious. It felt that they didn’t really care a thing about the environment.

None of the other characters really stuck out to me, either. Ivy’s groupies, the nymphs, had no depth to them and it felt like they were just there to be ornaments. The same went for the friends Marla made after she got demoted to the basement to do drafting. I didn’t feel their passion in trying to combat the corruption their workplace contains. This passion lacked even when they protesting against the Superior Court and so on.

Overall, I’m rating this book 1 out of 5 stars!

This is because of the static plot and the lack of character development. Another reason for this rating is that concepts introduced weren’t fully explained and/or not used to their possible full potential. The inconsistent point-of-view is also unhelpful. I honestly wouldn’t recommend reading this book, unless you want a book that at least feels a little fashion-centric.

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