In the newly released Glitter Girl, Kat Connors is an 8th grader in Indiana who is selected to be a part of a new marketing campaign called Glitter Girl, for a company called Remoulet. The company focuses on teen fashion products and wants to use actual teenager to sell their products. Kat is selected as one of fifty Glitter Girls throughout the United States.
Kat has discovered popularity and influence in the world of junior high. She keeps a popular blog about fashion that spreads like wildfire throughout her school. Her peers look up to her and look for her advice. This makes her perfect Glitter Girl material. After all, the company wants to influence young minds.
The story focuses on the dangers of power and fame at the expense of individuality and friendship. Loyalty is easily discarded in the face of celebrity. Kat’s best friend, Jules, does not fit into her new found leadership position in the school, or in the Glitter Girl line. Forces work to separate Jules and Kat in order to keep Kat focused on the Glitter Girl campaign.
The book also discusses new romantic relationships and the changes that begin to occur in middle school as boys and girls become more aware of each other. Kat begins dating Jules’s 9th grade brother. This age is a time when Catholic families have to begin to decide when their children are old enough to date. In most cases, it is not until the middle of high school, but the book does discuss teen dating. The book itself is secular in nature, but the material is not inappropriate.
There are many good attributes to this book. It shows teens the power of marketing and peer pressure. Junior high can be a time of conformity. Everyone wants to fit in, so they follow whatever trend is popular in the moment.
The book highlights how parents are dragged into this conformity by shopping feverishly for Glitter Girl products. There was some manipulation of parents in the book, a topic that parents should discuss with their kids if they see this behavior. It is astonishing how quickly a trend goes through school, and parents need to make sure they keep this within reason and not let it get out of hand.
Friendships are tested greatly in the novel. Kat learns that life requires difficult choices and she is the only one who can make those choices. Junior high and high school can be a time when long held friendships wither due to differing interests and changes in friendships. It can also be a time when those childhood relationships are cemented and the differences help the two grow. In this case, Kat and Jules learn to love and accept one another for who they are, rather than who the world tells them to be. In the face of overwhelming pressure and a dream come true dangling in front of her, Kat chooses the path of friendship, loyalty, and love.
The only observation that I had was that the book did not seem to represent your average junior high. Like a lot of teen novels and movies, it seemed to depict junior high in what I can only describe as L.A. While trends, popularity, and fashion are important in all junior highs, the degree seems to be higher in places like L.A. My Catholic mom friends would not allow this kind of behavior in their families. Most of us desire to have our children develop into who God created them to be, and blind conformity to materialism isn’t acceptable.
The book has a solid family dimension. It showcases that family is more important than money and things in the final analysis. Children, even teens, desire a stable home with both parents. Kat’s father is a workaholic and her mother lets him get away with it. In the end she tells her mother how she feels and her parents make the right choice, putting family first. I definitely liked this part of the book and Catholic families would appreciate this message.
While the book is a pretty easy read, I would say it would be good for junior high age kids. I would definitely recommend the book and many aspects of it can be applied to our Catholic Faith, especially as we work to teach our children right from wrong and the dignity of the human person.
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Copyright 2014, Constance Hull
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