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 light and fresh read that also broke my heart over and over again. It’s about a girl, Barbie, who basically lives a horrible life. She lives in a run down trailer with a druggy for a mother, an autistic brother, and a reputation as the biggest slut in her high school. It doesn’t matter that she’s never been with a guy before. Nope. All that matters to the other kids in her school is how she looks. And since she LOOKS like a slut, she just must be one.
On the verge of failing her math class and having to stay an extra year in high school, Barbie gets Dylan Knight to tutor her with the promise of getting his long time crush, Katie, interested in him. But hanging out with Barbie is bad for Dylan’s reputation, and he wants nothing to do with a skanky girl like her. The promise of finally getting Katie to notice him, though, is too much to resist, and Dylan soon relents.
Barbie is aware that Dylan pretty much hates her guts, but that’s not going to stop her from passing math and graduating high school so that she can get the hell away from that place. But before she knows it, Barbie starts to develop feelings for Dylan. Barbie Girl is told from both Barbie and Dylan’s POV and explores the topics of bullying, labeling, love and abuse.
I found myself instantly hooked to Barbie Girl. I especially loved Barbie’s character. Barbie reminded me a lot of Leah from Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols. She lived a shitty home life and was ultimately trying to make something of herself. Her home life was heartbreaking. My only wish is that the book would have been more about her home life. I wanted more emotional scenes. I got some, sure, but I didn’t really hit the point where I was a blubbering mess.
Barbie Girl also talks a lot about bullying and labeling. If you follow my reviews, you might have picked up on the fact that I love that kind of stuff in books. Those types of topics are so real…so raw…I can’t get enough of it. It was pretty hard to go through an entire book with everyone labeling Barbie as a slut…and even having Barbie consider herself one when she really wasn’t….but it was beautifully executed. Those topics are not going to be for everyone, though. So be warned.
The one downfall of Barbie Girl was Dylan. I didn’t just dislike Dylan, I hated him. Throughout the entire book, he was a total jerk to Barbie. He didn’t even want to be in the same room as her, because he was terrified of his precious reputation. He wasn’t even a popular kid! Even toward the end of the book, he was still acting like a jerk. I know that this is a series, so I’m assuming that Dylan’s character matures a lot in later books, but he didn’t in this book. There were several times during Dylan’s POV that I just had to skim the pages. The writing was still amazing, but Dylan’s character was just too much for me.
Overall, I really enjoyed Barbie Girl. It was a great first book, and I’m really interested in continuing the series. I would recommend that all contemporary fans go read this simply for Barbie’s story. Beautiful!
Publication Date: November 1st, 2012
Rating: [rating: 3.5]