I received this book for the Book Blogger Holiday swap from Marireads.
The Premise: Teenager Emerson Watts has always been a little bit of a outsider. A smart girl who likes to play video games and isn’t interested in fashion or girly things, she mocks the popular kids and despairs that her sister wants to be a cheerleader. Then one day, Em suffers a fatal freak accident. Well, almost fatal. In order to save her, her brain is transplanted into the body of supermodel Nikki Howard.
My Thoughts: We’re introduced to Em in her old life, arguing with her younger sister, feeling resentful of the way the popular girls are treated just because they are pretty (even when they spout superficial things), and crushing on her best friend Christopher, a fellow geek. Then disaster strikes, and Em wakes up in a hospital and learns she’s in someone else’s body. Of course, despite her new celebrity status, this is not a dream for Em. Officially she’s dead -only her immediate family, and the Stark Corporation, Nikki’s main employer, knows that Em is still alive. She has to learn how to be a model, figure out the complexity that is Nikki’s lovelife, and hide the fact that she’s not Nikki. Turns out that being a teen-aged supermodel is not as simple as you’d think.
Surrounding Em/Nikki are several secondary characters. At first they are what you’d expect – Nikki’s bubbly best friend, the rich boys who follow her around, the annoying kid sister, the quiet geek, but as the book progresses, you see that they are more than that. Lulu is the best example of this. She starts off as a perky ditz, but you discover that she really IS Nikki’s friend and has Nikki’s back. She listens and gives her own special brand of advice, and it may not be what you’d expect, but she’s very sweet nonetheless. She surprised me. Similarly, Nikki’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Brandon at first seems like the typical playboy, but there are hints about Brandon’s relationship with his father, the head of Stark Enterprises, which suggest that his life isn’t that golden. And Christopher, who is on the page very little, has one of the most interesting characters because whenever he does (or doesn’t) speak, his body language conveys volumes more.
This is the first book in a series, and there looks to be a lot of set up for the next books. The story really feels like a beginning and I didn’t feel as satisfied closing this book as I have with other Cabot stories. There seems to be more going on with this brain transfer than it would initially seem. Stark Enterprise is painted as doing some shady things – from doing this to Em and making her family sign confidentiality agreements and contracts, to spying on it’s employees. Meanwhile, there are a gaggle of boys pursuing Nikki/Em (who discovers that in Nikki’s body, she gets addle-brained no matter who is kissing her), and Em still harbors her crush on Christopher. And that’s not even counting Em having to learn how to be a model and go to high school at the same time. There should be plenty of fodder there for an interesting series. I particularly like how Meg Cabot seems aware of the current celebrity news and fashion, and it’s reflected in this story. I found myself wondering what real life teen idols Cabot had in mind while she created some of these characters.
Also: The model in this cover looks a lot like Kate Bosworth, doesn’t she?
Overall: Well, this is Meg Cabot, so the story is a light bit of fun. Cabot has a way of writing that’s warm and entertaining and has the right voice for a young adult novel, but this one spends so much time setting up the premise for the series so I feel like I got just the beginning of a story. it made me feel unsatisfied, but maybe reading the next book will fix it.