Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on May 5th 2015
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley
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?
This is kind of a hard one to review, because there were some things I really enjoyed, but then some other things I really didn’t quite understand. Or maybe I didn’t care? I don’t know.
Also. We need to discuss the cover. There was another cover, and I don’t know if it is being used anywhere (like, foreign editions) or if it is gone forever. I also can’t decide which I like more, because I like them both, for different reasons, and they both fit the story. HEY, let’s do a poll!
Oh yes, the book, the reason we’re here. So, there were quite a few things that I enjoyed about this book. Things like:
- The main characters are very well written, and give incredible perspectives into their industries. Marla works in the fashion designing world, and Ivy is a huge pop star who wears aforementioned fashion, thus connecting the two. In a society where you’re a has-been by the time you hit 20, it’s interesting to see how these girls grapple with the inevitable decline of their careers at an age when we can’t even fathom having careers.
- Obviously, it seems ridiculous to us to be putting twelve year olds to work, but the way it’s portrayed in this society is frighteningly realistic. The “taps” are basically kids who were tapped to work in the entertainment industry based on evaluations of work they submit. If you’re not tapped, you go to school and get a “crappy” job, like a doctor or teacher or something. To me, this spoke volumes as to how our culture really does act. There is such a value put on youth and entertainment, while people who work in much needed service industries are neglected and underpaid.
- I love how we’re shown the dark sides of being a “tap”. It isn’t all just glamour and fabulousness, there is a lot going on behind closed doors that is just plain messed up. I imagine some of the things that Ivy and Marla go through are not too far off from some of what happens in today’s entertainment industry, and that part is quite fascinating.
- The decisions the girls had to make were quite compelling. Both girls had to decide for themselves what they wanted out of life, whether the prestige of being a tap was worth the nonsense they had to (and will have to) put up with. It wasn’t easy, since there were all kinds of pressure from families, peers, and superiors. And then things get much, much more serious and the girls have to make decisions that will impact not only their lives, but the lives of a lot of people around them.
- Speaking of friends and family, some of them were kind of great. I loved the storyline that surrounded Ivy’s family and her industry friends. Marla’s family, especially her mother, made me kind of insane and infuriated. Some of her industry friends were kind of fabulous too, but that all comes later in the book so you’ll have to just take my word for it.
The things I wasn’t so fond of:
- Some of the more technical fashion stuff, I just didn’t understand or care about. Talking about trends or a dress or something was fine, but there were a lot of details into the fashion. Which is fine, if you are really into fashion, but I started to get a bit bored with those parts. Like, I really don’t care how patterns for clothes are made or whatever, so I kind of zoned out.
- The world building just wasn’t enough for me. I mean, we knew what was happening in… wherever this was supposed to take place. But how did society get to this point? What was happening in the rest of the world (or country or whatever)? It was set in a place that I assumed to be almost like Hollywood, but again, I have no idea. Was it America? What was everyone who was not in this area doing? Again, confused.
- The romantic elements didn’t do it for me. I think it was clear from pretty close to the beginning who the romantic interest was going to be, but I just didn’t feel it. When the time came, I was underwhelmed, though I liked both characters. I just didn’t feel like there was enough of a connection between them to justify a romance, really. It seemed unnecessary, really.
- The pacing was a little off at times. Some parts moved quite slow, but then the ending seemed to move really fast. A bit more moderation would have been appreciated.
Bottom Line: I liked the messages that the book was trying to give. I think it was subtle in places, not so subtle in others, but very well done. I think with a bit more explanation, it would have led to more believability and a bit of a deeper connection, but overall I liked it.