Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos

As the hottest singer out there, Ivy Wilde is a name no one is going to forget any time soon. But now her reign at the top is threatened by a new bright spot in the music industry. Fearing she's destined to become a has been before she's even out of her teens, Ivy begins to take drastic steps.

Marla was lucky to have been tapped for Torro-LeBlanc. Luckier still when she rose to the ranks of the Superior Court. But it looks like her luck may have finally run out when she's demoted - sent to the basement with the drafters. It doesn't take long for the unfairness of it all to really sink in, though, and when that happens Marla finds herself at the center of a revolution.

Elaine Dimopoulos's debut imagines a world where kids are "tapped" at age 12 to become trendsetters for the creative industries. It's a move that was made ostensibly to save the economy and apparently - or we're led to believe - has worked. But it means that those who aren't tapped - like Ivy's own brother - are the only ones who continue their educations and enter the regular workforce. Though these "adequates" are the doctors, scientists, reporters, accountants, etc, so much emphasis is put on the creative industries instead that the adequates are basically the bottom of the barrel.

At first it's an odd premise, and one that we don't get a full explanation on until about halfway through the book. But I do recall a very real story not so terribly long about people who troll college campuses and high schools to see what "the kids are into these days."

Dimopoulos's world isn't rosy and sunshiny, though. And the disappointment isn't felt solely by inadequates either. Marla believes in the system even after she's unfairly demoted. Ivy has every imaginable benefit of this system as well but spends her days popping pills to remain "placid." And once things get set in motion, it becomes very clear that only those at the very top are apparently pleased with the way things have been going.

Material Girls is a fun read. It's dystopian and it's dark, but dark in the way that Kiera Cass's The Selection is dark. Skirting dark, or dark themes bound up in a lighter story than, say, Divergent and Hunger Games. Still, it is thought provoking and probably a bit higher on the I-could-see-this-happening scale than some.

I don't know if this is to be the first in a series - it does work quite well as a stand alone, but I certainly hope we'll get to explore this world more in the future.

Rating: 4/5

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi - I'd seen this before but didn't realize it was dystopian.
@dino0726 from 
FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews