Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Perfect Example

A while back, I posted my "blockbuster YA theory"-- an observation that, in a lot of chart-topping YA books, protags have "enviable problems,"big problems that are inextricably linked to major perks. The protags never fully enjoy the perks, but the readers certainly do, and I think that is what makes these books so charming. Well, I had to revisit my theory for a second because I am reading Meg Cabot's new book "Airhead" and I think it is the best example yet! The smart but mousy YA protag is killed in an accident, but her brain is able to be transplanted-- into the body of a teenage super-model! The protag spends a lot of time freaking out about her situation, only half aware of the fact that gorgeous guys are throwing themselves at her, she is breathtakingly beautiful, and she now earns $20,000 a day. I actually really like this book because it isn't afraid to go over the top, and yet the protag, Em, is extremely sincere and the question raised is a good one: Are we our looks? Since it is the purest example of the theory yet, I am thinking of renaming it the Airhead Theory. Obviously, Meg Cabot is still the queen of writing YA that taps into readers' fantasies.

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