Review: Being Nikki, by Meg Cabot

Being Nikki

From the jacket flap:

Things aren’t pretty for Emerson Watts.

Em was sure there couldn’t be anything worse than being a brainiac the body of a teenaged supermodel.

But it turned out she was wrong. Because that supermodel could turn out to have a mother who’s gone mysteriously missing, a brother who’s shown up on her doorstep demanding answers, a former best friend who’s intent on destroying Stark Enterprises to avenge the death of his lost love, and a British heartthrob who’s written a song about her that’s topping the charts.

How can Em balance all that with school, runway shows, and weekend jaunts to St. Johns – especially when she’s got ex-boyfriends crawling out of the woodwork who want more than just a photo op; a sister who is headed to the high school cheerleading championships; a company she represents that seems to be turning to the dark side…

Not to mention trying to convince the love of her life that models aren’t really airheads after all…especially one model in particular.

But then, nobody said it was going to be easy being Nikki.

Being Nikki, by Meg Cabot, is the second novel in the Airhead trilogy, and despite the book’s cliffhanger ending, it was, on the whole, an enjoyable read. Being Nikki takes the original premise outlined in Airhead, and adds in some very interesting twists and plot turns. Now not only do we get to see what it’s like to find yourself in the body of a gorgeous supermodel, there’s also a good dollop of suspense and mystery.

While I enjoyed reading Being Nikki a lot, I must admit the ending disappointed me. Not the fact that the ending is a cliffhanger; cliffhanger endings in a book can work, as long as they’re constructed properly. In Being Nikki, the mystery that occupies the characters throughout the book is resolved before we’re moved toward the cliffhanger at the end, so as cliffhanger endings go, this one works. I still don’t like being left in the air like that, but I’ll accept it enough to be on the edge of my seat for the last book in the trilogy.

What disappointed me, then? It seemed to me that Em made what I call a “damsel in distress” decision in the end, which then leads to the cliffhanger. A “damsel in distress” decision, in my opinion, is a decision that generally results in the protagonist being put into peril unnecessarily. I probably shouldn’t call it a “decision”. It was more of an “I have no choice but to …” sort of thing. I just wasn’t convinced that Em had no other choice. Sure, what she did was noble and self-sacrificing, and guided us smoothly to the cliffhanger ending, but I wasn’t sure such a noble and self-sacrificing act was actually necessary, not for a smart cookie like Em.

Still, I’m looking forward to Runaway, the next installment in the trilogy, to see what happens. Cabot is a masterful storyteller, and in her hands the plot and characters are nothing short of fun. So despite my disappointment with the ending, I still found Being Nikki to be a good, fun read; if you haven’t read Airhead yet, I’d definitely recommend you read the two books back to back. Then settle back to wait for the last book in the trilogy.

Where to buy Being Nikki:

U.S. (Amazon.com) | Indiebound | Canada (Chapters) | UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Review copy details: published by Point, 2009, Hardcover, 336 pages

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