Ironically, I immediately followed up The Disreputable History with Meg Cabot's Airhead. (I'll get to the ironic part in a minute--besides the title, of course.) I've heard lots about Meg Cabot--everyone loves ThePrincess Diaries series, and I have to admit I did see the movie, mainly because I have a girl-crush on Anne Hathaway--but I've always thought that her books looked a little, well, boring. The Princess Diaries series was frothy and fun, but nothing else of Cabot's really interests me. However, based on interviews and her web page, Meg Cabot seems pretty cool and I felt like she deserved a second chance. Thus, my Airhead adventure.
First of all, Airhead is indeed boring. I was right. (Who doesn't love saying that?) If you don't believe me after this review, read it immediately and please tell me how horribly wrong I am.
I was initially put off by the title, but it was the only Meg Cabot book checked in at the library, so voila, Airhead it was. Also I feel like the girl on the cover is Kate Bosworth but Kate Bosworth probably doesn't need supplementary gigs as a book-cover model. Anyhow, Airhead is about a slightly nerdy, average-looking girl (Em) who is involved in a freak accident along with a famous supermodel (Nikki). But wait! Em wakes up...in Nikki's body. Did you know that brain transplants are commonplace for the rich, the famous, and corporations avoiding multi-million dollar lawsuits? I sure did. The rest of the book chronicles Em's trials and tribulations as she settles into the supermodel lifestyle (in an truly absurd plot twist, Em is required to fulfill Nikki's modeling contracts). Cabot's prose is engaging and Em is easy to relate to, but the premise is so ridiculous that I had a hard time relating to the characters at all. Also, the irony of reading a fabulous feminist-themed books such as The Disreputable History and then jumping into a supermodel brain-transplant plot was not lost on me. I haven't given up on Meg Cabot, but for now, pass on Em and stick with Frankie, kids.
Books you should read instead of Airhead:
Maureen Johnson--her books are intelligent chick lit. Her characters are generally thoughtful and very well-realized. Also, her web page is really pretty. Yes, I am swayed by such things as web page prettiness.
My Johnson favorites are Devilish and The Bermudez Triangle. In Devilish, high school senior Jane has to save her best friend Ally's soul. Ally, it seems, has sold her soul to a local demon without quite realizing the consequences of dealing with the devil. High school is hell after all! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
The Bermudez Triangle deals with more realistic topics (I was going to say "serious" topics but selling your soul to a demon is pretty darn serious). When Nina leaves her best friends Avery and Mel (the three girls compose the titular triangle) the summer before her senior year to attend a "pre-college" camp, she comes home to find that Avery and Mel are now a couple. Johnson details the intricacies of friendships, sexuality, first relationships, and family so well and with great candor and sensitivity. A must-read.