Published by HMH Books for Young Readers May 5, 2015
Bookologists Analysis: Eco friendly book meets scifi meets good old YA.
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?
The garment industry’s environmental impact is not given a lot of attention or thought about, especially in the YA sphere let alone big issues in YA like global warming or fair working conditions. The draw for me to Material Girls is the tackling of the issue of the garment industry in its career paths, materialism, and waste. However I didn't fully realize that the clothing industry was pivotal till the end of the book which made the book that much more accessible. The issues were also very clear in the extreme of a materialistic quasi scifi world of Material Girls.
A fabulous thing about Material Girls is that it is a summer read-- very light and quick while still having a wonderful female centric character group. For a YA novel to be so light in the romance area it was refreshing and a reminder of how determined the heroines in the genre are. The character development was easy to follow as the book unraveled into differing opinions on environmental issues. Without being in first person the decisions and reasoning made in each narrator was remarkably clear. My one issue with the book was the worldbuilding. Some of the terms and technology were very hard to comprehend due to the lack of explanation. It took quite a time for me to understand the Tap (when children are chosen to be in the creative field or not). The family dynamic was also hard to pick up on as the looseness of the familial unit.
Material Girl raises questions about our habits in clothing and fair trade which is nicely supplemented with resources in the back of the book. The conflict between the pop star and fashion designer was simple and clean with the needed plot though it was a bit hard to appreciate without the setting well placed. An overall rounded read that comes to a satisfying conclusion that leaves a topic to ponder.