Monday 29 June 2009

Review - Being Nikki / Meg Cabot

Summary - Things aren't pretty for Emerson Watts. Em was sure there couldn't be anything worse than being a brainiac the body of a teenaged supermodel. But it turned out she was wrong. Because that supermodel could turn out to have a mother who's gone mysteriously missing, a brother who's shown up on her doorstep demanding answers, a former best friend who's intent on destroying Stark Enterprises to avenge the death of his lost love, and a British heartthrob who's written a song about her that's topping the charts. How can Em balance all that with school, runway shows, and weekend jaunts to St. John's - especially when she's got ex-boyfriends crawling out of the woodwork who want more than just a photo op; a sister who is headed to the high school cheerleading championships; a company she represents that seems to be turning to the dark side... Not to mention trying to convince the love of her life that models aren't really airheads after all... especially one model in particular. But then, nobody said it was going to be easy being Nikki.

Review - Meg Cabot is a genius. However, the concept at the core of this novel series, involves the reader taking a huge leap of faith in order to invest in the protagonist, Em. I have to admit that the whole brain swapping scenario makes it difficult for me to love this series as much as some of Cabot's other work. That being said, Being Nikki was a huge improvement on Airhead.

Em is a great character - she's smart, determined, empathetic and now beautiful. Unlike Airhead, Em has increased problems to keep her occupied. There's less emphasis on the modelling and more on her relationships, Nikki's family and her own conflicted emotions which makes this a much more fluid, relatable and enjoyable read. The addition of Nikki's brother, Steven, was a great move and the indication that he's around to stay. While the concept of Christopher is something I very much like, I found myself disregarding him a lot in this novel. He's less likable as his hard edges get sharper. Frida continues to grate though. I find the need of Em (and Nikki's body) to smooch on everyone within arms reach to be extra seedy and truth be told, it undermines the likability of the character.

Cabot is great at writing humorous, intelligent and feisty protagonists and she's been successful here too. However, the over-arching concept of brain transplants is beyond ridiculous and as it plays such a key part in the story development, it's hard to avoid. Em's adventures as a supermodel are a fun read and it will be intriguing to see what happens in the forthcoming titles in the series.

Published: July 2009
Format: Paperback, pages
Publisher: PanMacmillan Australia
Origin: USA
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prophecygirl said...

Y'know, I've never read a Meg Cabot book! Which would you suggest I start with?

Chicklish said...

Great review! I agree about Meg Cabot's heroines. I love this series and have no problem suspending disbelief when I read it. Prophecygirl, I think my favourite Meg Cabot book is "All American Girl: Ready or Not", but seeing as it's a sequel it's probably not a good place to start!