Fashion judge Marla Klein and pop superstar Ivy Wilde have achieved success their teen peers only dream of, but in a world where clothing trends come and go so fast that only high-tech trendcheckers can detect their passing and “stay young” has replaced “goodbye,” no one rides high for long.
Ever since she was tapped to join the lucky few leaving school after seventh grade to enter the creative industries, Marla’s worked for fashion powerhouse Torro-LeBlanc. But in an economy dominated by youth-oriented media and with trends carefully orchestrated to drive consumption, exercising independent judgment gets Marla demoted to drafter. While her friends drop her and her vicariously invested mother berates her, Marla’s new colleagues—a smart, creative bunch—invite her to help foment rebellion against lousy pay and working conditions. Elsewhere, stardom’s taking a toll on Ivy. Reliant on an entourage of personal assistants called nymphs and placidophilus pills that engender docile acceptance of the status quo, Ivy stumbles through her micromanaged days, her supremacy increasingly threatened by a younger rising star. Forced to wear outfits showcasing the new torture trend (agonizingly painful) is the last straw. Then a chance meeting with Marla offers both a way out. Through its likable characters, sly humor, and smart, fast-moving plot, this entertaining debut raises serious questions about the costs of disposable fashion and pursuit of celebrity, asking readers to ponder who’s driving the bus.
Sly, subversive fun. (bibliography) (Fiction. 12-18)