It’s been a few years since I last read ‘Airhead’ and its sequel ‘Being Nikki’, so when I saw that the whole trilogy was in my local library, I was intrigued to get some closure on the series. So, here are my thoughts on the first book…which I may not have fully understood when I read it for the first time.
The basic premise is that this nerdy geek Em Watts and supermodel Nikki Howard are in an accident together. As a result, Em has to get a brain transplant into Nikki’s body, making her an instant supermodel and legally obligated to fulfil Nikki’s contracts with Stark Industries, which is incredibly shady… (and not run by Iron Man, unfortunately.)
The antithesis of the characters for an interesting story line, but overall, I was surprised by the complete lack of plot for a first book in a series. Basically, what is written on the blurb is what happens. Along with some scandalous boy moments, but I’ll get to that later.
As to be expected in a world of celebrities and modelling, it’s all quite materialistic. Almost cringe-worthingly so. I thought Em’s geekiness would make her relatable in a way I knew Nikki wouldn’t be, but other than saying she loved video games and didn’t feel comfortable in heels, there was no substance to her.
And don’t even get me started on the host of male characters in the story. Gabriel Luna, Brandon Stark, Justin Bay and Christopher Maloney…and I’m expected to believe they all like her at some point? It was just madness reading about how Nikki/Em reacted with all of these boys, and the kind of lifestyle that was insinuated famous people live.
I guess, in some way, it was interesting to see how the other half live, but that didn’t mean I was willing to overlook all the strange and unbelievable things that happened.
The mother of the Em is a feminist professor. I was excited by this addition, because it wasn’t something I understood when I first read it. I thought this would lead to some great developments of the story, but I think Meg Cabot got her wires a bit crossed when she was writing about feminist issues.
So, Em’s sister Frida wants to be a cheerleader, but she’s hindered from doing so because it sets women back 30 years, and her mother wouldn’t approve. I did NOT agree with this. Just because a girl has to (and wants to) wear a short skirt and a halter top doesn’t mean it’s anti-feminist. We should cheer women on for doing what they want to do.
Also, the idea that girls need to use their boobs to get a guy to like them was disgusting. I really disagreed with the way Lula and Em were discussing relationships as if girls were just sex objects, made for a boy’s pleasure.
I guess it’s hard to articulate my feelings about the whole thing, but it just didn’t sit right with me.
Overall, I’d give Airhead 2 stars, if I had to rate it. It was an OK ‘girly read’ if you didn’t read into it too much, but otherwise, ‘The Princess Diaries’ is definitely the better of Meg Cabot’s works.