Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Barbie Girl by Heidi Acosta

Title: Barbie Girl
Author: Heidi Acosta
Series: Baby Doll #1
Release Date: November 1, 2012
ISBN13: 9781301739783
Format: eBook, 189 pages
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Source: blog tour

The only thing that 17 year old Barbie Starr wants to do is graduate high school so she and her little brother, Everett, can get out of Alabama. She doesn’t care about the rumors that are spread around about her like wild fire. Rumors are nothing new to her. Sure, maybe she could change her reputation, but why bother. She is leaving Alabama as soon as she can. That is, if she can pass algebra and graduate.

The only thing Dylan Knight would like to do is go through high school unnoticed; he has had enough of the drama that is high school. He took the whole of last summer to bulk-up: finally he is not being called names or being shoved into lockers. He wants to remain on the outside of the circle of constant rumors that surround the so-called popular kids who get all the attention. He would not, however, mind if his long time crush Katie took notice of him.

But it is Barbie who notices Dylan and she offers him a deal he can’t pass up: if he helps her pass algebra, she’ll help him get the girl of his dreams. Dylan agrees, but, as it turns out, nothing is simple when it comes to Barbie. Somehow, she can’t help but draw attention to herself — and to him. Soon Dylan finds himself tossed into the whirlwind of rumors that seem to follow Barbie everywhere. Can he save his reputation and still get the girl of his dreams? Or will Barbie be the one to break through his carefully-built facade?
Barbie Girl is a story told from alternating PoVs of Barbie, a girl who lives on the wrong side of town, and Dylan, extremely uptight nerd. They make a unlikely acquaintance due to Barbie's need of passing math, and become seriously involved in each other's lives.

Firstly, though Barbie Girl's title seems slightly whimsical, this book is not to be looked upon lightly. It pulls in the family issues, the viciousness of high school, as well as expectations the status quo places upon everyone, even those at the absolute summit of the social hierarchy. I was a little taken aback with how frankly it presented itself, borderlining on exaggeration, but it's just making the truth a little bit obvious.

As for how the entire plot was done, Acosta did a very good job setting up the drama and romance to keep us on our toes, but if a bit more attention could be drawn to the conflicts in the characters, and how they affect each other's lives, I think it would've made a more long-lasting emotional tie for me. However, in the end I felt like things began to rush, and felt like the plot was a bit forced. The grand finale in the story didn't give me a closure as it ended after a huge catfight over who Dylan really wants. I needed an ending . . .

I really enjoyed the dual perspectives in this book, though Barbie's voice did sound a bit stronger than Dylan's, probably because a lot of Dylan's life revolves around him thinking of Barbie, while Heidi Acosta focused a lot on Barbie's life at home with a "broken" mother and an autistic little brother, Everett. Don't be fooled by Barbie's name. Like the book itself, she is not to be underestimated. She has this incredible resiliency that helps her go through her difficult life: torn up family at home, the ability to ignore the rumors of her promiscuity at school.

Dylan, on the other hand, I thought of a lot as a wimp. Yes, he goes through a dramatic change of character, but he wasn't truly able to learn how much Barbie was teaching him about life until past the halfway point. And let's not even go into how hung over he is about Katie, preppy, gorgeous, smart, perfect, even after he discovered how much of that was just an act.

One thing that both characters need to work on? Realizing the obvious. They like each other. A lot. So why not just admit it instead of being general buttheads to each other? C'mon, guys, I'm rooting for the two of you, but you won't even consider being together?

Barbie Girl was an interesting change from the usual fluffy contemporary reads I take, but it did need a bit of improvement. In the end, however, I can easily say that I will be looking forward to picking up Acosta's next story.
Waking Up to Boys by Hailey Abbott - Chelsea has a plan for this summer that would catch her a second glance from Todd. Take a one-eighty turn and turn into exactly one of the girls that'd make anyone drool over. And Sebastian, hot, Brazilian, and a tennis player, fits perfectly into her plan . . .

Saving Zoë by Alyson Noel - It's been a year since Zoë's murder, and Echo, her younger sister, lives amongst the aftermath. Her parents can't seem to move on, which is something her friends are beginning to do. But Marc, Zoë's former boyfriend shows up, with Zoë's diary, filled with an endless amount of secrets.

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols - Meg is as terrible as one could get. Just inches away from juvenile delinquency, she is thrown into a project with John, police officer and her polar opposite, in hopes that she could somehow be "reformed".
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