Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos
Genre: Dystopian? Social Critique? I have no idea.
Published by: HMH Books for YA Readers
Format: ARC e-Book
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon
Maddie requested this book from NetGalley, but because she had a bunch of other things to read, I said that I would read Material Girls instead, therefore I had absolutely no idea what it was going to be and what it was about. I’ve now looked at the blurb which claims Material Girls was a mix of Project Runway and Divergent. I saw neither of those things. Overall, I’m not entirely sure whether this book was the most ridiculous take on dystopian that I’ve ever read, or a really interesting satire on materialism with some epigrams thrown in for good measure!
The characters were two dimensional. I didn’t really connect with either of their stories. I probably preferred Marla, but she still wasn’t a very dynamic character. She was materialistic – as expect – but by the end she seemed to realise the error of her ways and Material Girls turned into a critique on a society that forces uniformity onto it’s population. Undeniably there were some good messages in this book, and it was rather education about ethical business practices, which was a tangent I was not expecting to find. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I did enjoy the social commentary aspect.
As for the dystopian setting, I really didn’t see it. The world was poorly built, with the only strange and dystopian-eske information being the Unum communicators and the fact that everyone called their parents by their first name. There was also this whole your job is assigned to you thing that was explored in Ivy’s perspectives, but nothing was really done to resolve the issue. Material Girls just sort of shows a realistic portrayal of the momentum of a rebellion amongst workers. It ended rather abruptly with little closure as to whether Marla was successful in her quest and whether Ivy was actually happy with her life.
The portrayal of punishment and the idea that people will go to ridiculous lengths to be simultaneously original whilst also being part of a crowd was really interesting, but it wasn’t highlighted enough. I can see why this book has had unpopular reviews because unless you really read between the lines it’s hard to see this book as anything more than the story of two spoiled brats who have to put up with a little unfairness in their lives which is still incomparable with the people who are actually suffering – boo hoo.
I think I would’ve liked the characters lives to intersect more. Ivy mentioned a lost love of hers so it was pretty obvious that the boy would be one of Marla’s friends. The relationships were contrived and added absolutely nothing to the story line. It was a slow build and very anti-climactic.
Maybe I’m being harsh, but overall I gave Material Girls 2 stars mainly for it’s educational value, and for the satirical undertones.