Skip to main content

Airhead

Review

Airhead

Sixteen-year-old Emerson Watts thinks she has problems, but she hasn't seen anything yet. Sure, her Public Speaking teacher keeps waking her up during first period (when he isn't snoozing himself). And Em's popular classmate, Whitney Robertson, directs many of her mean girl witticisms at Em. Not to mention the fact that Em's little sister, Frida, seems to be turning into a mini-Whitney, criticizing Em's wardrobe, makeup and general uncoolness.

On the other hand, life as Emerson Watts is not without its good points. Christopher, her best friend in the world, is quirky and funny, and loves the same things she does. Sure, she passionately wishes that he also would love her, and not in a best friend way. Still, when Em and Christopher are not mocking the soulless popular kids at school, calling them the "walking dead," they're competing with each other on the computer games they adore.

Em's life changes (and that's an understatement) the day she accompanies Frida and Christopher to the grand opening of the Stark Megastore in their neighborhood. Em sympathizes with the E.L.F. (Environmental Liberation Front) group, which wants to boycott the store that has closed so many local family businesses. But her mom is concerned that starry-eyed Frida will manage to interest rock star Gabriel Luna, who will be signing his CDs at the opening.

Therefore, under extreme parental pressure, and despite her protests, Em escorts Frida to the crowded gala, along with Christopher. There, as they stand in line to get an autograph, Em is amazed to discover that Gabriel Luna actually is a fabulous singer and songwriter. He's also extremely handsome, and he dresses normally. In fact, Gabriel Luna is quite swoonable.

The rock star isn't the only famous person at the Stark Megastore opening. Teen supermodel Nikki Howard is there, as "the face of Stark." Nikki, attended by her best friend Lulu, wears a revealing evening gown and sky-high stiletto shoes, unleashing much snarkiness from Em and Christopher. Meanwhile, security guards are kept busy trying to prevent E.L.F. members from shooting paintball guns at the huge plasma monitors in the store.

Frida rushes off to get Nikki and Lulu's autographs, leaving Em arriving in front of Gabriel Luna, where she's at a bit of a loss for words. But she feels a bolt of electricity jolt through her when the singer smiles into her eyes. Just then, Em sees a plasma screen falling from the ceiling. Frida is immediately below it, so Em runs to push her out of the way…and then she knows nothing.

When Em awakens, she is in the hospital. Her parents are with her, but everyone is acting very strangely and looking at her weirdly. Em feels odd, too. Her voice is high and breathless. Her hands look slimmer and prettier, and (unbelievably, for nail-biting Em) she has a perfect manicure. She dozes on and off, awakening to find that famous rock star in her room offering her roses. The next time she wakes up, she's sure she hallucinated the Gabriel Luna incident, but the roses are still in her room.

Then things get really crazy. Two people kidnap Em, insisting she is actually Nikki. And when Em finally looks into a mirror, she sees Nikki's face. When she looks down at her body, she sees Nikki's figure. This can't be happening --- except it is. Em is now in the body of a famous teen model, which means she is ensnared in a tangly spider web filled with Nikki's men, friends and work.

AIRHEAD is a funny, fast read with an endearing main character in an impossible (and yet extremely glamorous) predicament. Like the premiere episode of a gripping television series, it pulls the reader in, setting up an irresistible storyline. Plot points are not resolved by the end of the book, causing readers to yearn for the sequel, BEING NIKKI. Meanwhile, we can ponder the cliffhanger mysteries: Who is spying on Nikki’s/Em's computer? What's the story with the Stark protesters? Which guy, of four romantic possibilities, will Em end up with? And will she ever get the hang of those grueling modeling shoots?

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on May 13, 2008

Airhead
by Meg Cabot

  • Publication Date: April 15, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Point
  • ISBN-10: 054504054X
  • ISBN-13: 9780545040549