Meg Cabot’s newest series will debut in June 2008. The first title in the series is Airhead and I just finished reading the ARC.
It’s difficult to summarize the novel without giving away the elements of surprise in the plot. The story follows Emerson Watts, self-proclaimed outsider at Tribeca Alternative High School. A brainy tomboy, Em’s best friend is the video game loving Christopher. When Em and Christopher are forced to chaperone her younger sister’s day at a mega-story grand opening, tragedy strikes. After a horrible, tragic injury, Em wakes up in the hospital a full month after being hurt. As she begins to emerge from her coma, she comes to the realization that her worst nightmares have come true. Through a sci-fi-type surgery she has become Nikki- the seventeen-year old supermodel who has taken the world by storm.
The story started off a little slow, but picked up in the middle. I really enjoyed this book! Em is a character who is easy to relate to- she is very much like I was in high school. I also enjoyed the secondary character of Lulu. As the story moved forward she became less like a caricature of a society heiress and more like a sweet, fun-loving girl who just happens to have all the money in the world. The story was humorous and thought-provoking, which is not an easy combination to work with as a writer. However, Cabot makes it work! I am already dying for the sequel, because I want to know what happens next! The story isn’t left as a cliffhanger but it does leave you wanting more.
I would consider pairing this with The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson. Both novels offer a glimpse at teenage girls struggling to figure out who they really are. They also have that slight sci-fi edge to them, adding more mystery and intrique to the story. I think the struggle to define “who they are” is something many teenage girls will relate to, so I plan to recommend Airhead to a few of my students when we get back from spring break.