Sunday, September 07, 2008

Airhead by Meg Cabot

In this new series by Princess Diaries author Meg Cabot, a tomboy gets transplanted into the body of a supermodel. The template isn't all that original, and, while it was a good read, I'm not sure if it will really last as a series.

Em Watts couldn't care less about the world of models or the lives of the "Walking Dead" as she calls the social, school spirit obsessed students at TAHS. All that mattered to her was her best friend Christopher and playing computer games. That all changes, though, when a hanging TV lands on her. She wakes up and everything is different because her body is now that of Nikki Taylor, the world's youngest and hottest supermodel. Now, thanks to a two million dollar contract with Stark Enterprises, Em has to live Nikki's life, upholding all of her modeling obligations and dealing with her boy troubles that include a moody boyfriend, an affair with her best friend's boyfriend, and a musician with a crush on her. None of that matters to Em, though, because her former best friend (whom she realizes she loves) thinks she's dead and won't give the new her the time of day. Will she ever make sense of this new life she's living, or will she fall flat on her picture-perfect face?

Thanks to Freaky Friday, the idea of living in someone else's body is not that new. While this scenario is a little bit more sophisticated than a spirit transfer, the dilemma facing Em isn't all that different, especially since she goes from being unnoticeable to beautiful. Part of that bothers my bitter brain because it emphasizes the belief that, as the cover of the book states, "It's what's outside that matters. No one cares what's inside." With the insecurities of teens, I don't really think this is something we need to be encouraging. Would it have been too cliche to have supermodel Nikki be transplanted into "ugly" Em's body? We don't need to prove the already known fact that the world is superficial. But, then again, this is just a teen book, so maybe I'm giving it too much credit for perpetuating the world's stereotypes. Just the same, that small point bothers me. The book, though, was enjoyable to read. Em has a great personality that contrasts with the new world she's been placed in. Lulu, Nikki's best friend, is a wonderful secondary character who proves she's more than just a ditz. The only problem is that it's the first book in a series and I don't know if it'll really last. This concept could have very easily been handled in one book. I know Cabot is trying to make it more complex with this theory that Stark Enterprises is spying on Nikki, but I think that there's a big risk that the next novel (or novels depending on how many she plans) will just become a pity party for Em who isn't getting the attention she wants from Christopher. I see the story getting old very fast. But, then again, I don't know what Cabot has in store for the sequel.

I'm sure the fans of Cabot will love this new novel. It is an enjoyable novel and does suck you into the prospect of a sequel since nothing is solved. What the sequel provides, though, simply leaves me wondering if two books is too much.


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