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?
Material Girls is an enjoyable book that subtly questions the way that our society behaves in regards to things that don’t necessarily matter all that much.
From the time they are born, people work towards getting “tapped” in one of the creative industries—things like the fashion, film, singing and video game industries. Every child creates a Tap page to showcase their creative talents, and then on a specific day when the children are 12-13 years old, they are either “tapped” for a creative industry, or left to work in one of the “Adequate” industries like math or science. Those who aren’t tapped receive lower pay and have a harder time caring for their families. Even those who get tapped can still struggle, depending on their position in the industry they were chosen for.
For those who work in the creative industries, if you aren’t wearing the absolute latest trends, you’re considered an “obsoloser” and are pretty much doomed to fall off of society’s radar. And with the rate that trends change, it is a job in itself just keeping up with what is still “in”.
Once Marla, one of the two main characters, gets demoted from her job at one of the top five fashion houses, she begins to see that perhaps working in a tapped industry isn’t all that it is portrayed to be. Along with some new friends, Marla sets out to reform the way that the fashion industry—and perhaps all creative industries—work.
One thing that I absolutely loved about this book was that the ending wasn’t the predictable, typically happy ending that seems to be everywhere these days. While the book definitely isn’t disappointing in the way it ends, it didn’t end in the way that it is set up for readers to hope that it does.
I give this book 4.5/5 stars.
Material Girls goes on sale May 5. You can purchase it here.