Airhead by Meg Cabot
ISBN-13: 978-0545040549
Point, New York, 2008
352 p.

GENRE: Chick-lit

TEASER: Em Watts is dead, well not quite. Em has switched bodies with the most famous teen model in the world. Can she convince everyone that she’s Nikki Howard?

SUMMARY: Emerson (Em) Watts is far more interested in playing computer games with her best friend/secret crush Christopher than having anything to do with the vain popular crowd. All of this changes when a horrible accident causes her to switch bodies with Nikki Howard, famous teen supermodel for Stark. But Stark needs Nikki alive. Now Em is told she is legally dead and she must pretend to be Nikki Howard. But something’s not right with the people Nikki works for and it’s getting harder and harder to convince the world the she is Nikki Howard.

CRITIQUE: The book is written in first person perspective. The main character, Em, is very relatable. She is smart and happy with her life. She doesn’t like the same things as her appearance obsessed sister. She believes that a girl would be seen for her mind and not what jeans she wore yesterday. It was interesting to look at the shift of her character later on in the book. Once she becomes immersed in this superficial world, her opinions begin to change on some things. However, she’s still not happy with her situation and she wants her old life back. She likes being notices my attractive guys but she misses her family and her friend Christopher. I appreciated that even though she could see a deeper side of people like Nikki and Lulu she didn’t completely change her believes and values.

The romantic relationships in this book become quite complicated the instant Nikki is in the picture. I felt rather bad for Em when she though that Gabriel was there for her in the hospital. It’s quite depressing that she is lost in the shadow of Nikki Howard. The only ones who seem to be affected by her “death” are her family and her friend Christopher. There is also a sadness to Nikki’s best friend’s character, Lulu. She seems jaded by her lifestyle and doesn’t appreciate everything she has.

The story is the first in a trilogy so there is a lot that is left unclear. We see hints that the Stark corporation is up to something. There is also a hint at the end that Em might have been able to show Christopher some proof that she is still alive. I wouldn’t say it ended with a cliff-hanger but there are definitely plenty of unanswered questions to keep readers coming back for more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Meg Cabot is the New York Times bestselling author of The Princess Diaries series. The Princess Diaries has sold over 16 million copies and has been translated into 38 languages. She is also the author of The Abandon Trilogy, the Avalon High series, the All-American Girl series.

Cabot worked for ten years as an assistant resident hall director for New York University. She is known to write some of her novels entirely through emails and text messages. She used to write under several pen names but now writes exclusively under her real name. She currently lives in Key West with her husband and two cats.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://www.megcabot.com/

READING LEVEL 12+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: In the book, Em is nearly invisible to all boys except Christopher; however, when she is in Nikki’s body, she can’t seem to keep the boys off of her. What kind of message do you feel this is sending to the audience? Do you think Cabot is simply being realistic?

WHY INCLUDED: I initially read this book because my roommate suggested it. I knew Meg Cabot is a popular chick-lit author for young adults. I also knew from working at Borders that this series is heavily marketed to teens.

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