(Baby Doll, #1)
by Heidi Acosta
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?
First of all, read the review before making a decision on my star rating – because there are caveats about the stars. I loved this book. I think Heidi Acosta did almost everything right with Barbie Starr, she knows how to build a story, and she knows how to write emotional and deep characters. This book could’ve been a five star read. (And the cover? LOVE IT!)
Barbie is a deep and complicated character…she knows she’s making bad decisions but her only real examples of decision making come from her whacked-out druggie mother. So she works with what she has. And she does a pretty good job actually – she avoids a lot of things, yet she does give in to temptations, and she does allow boys to have their way with her (up to a point), and she does help reinforce all the nasty rumors that are floating around about her at school.
She just doesn’t care and really, if I was dealing with her problems, I wouldn’t care either. She lives in her own reality – a reality which says she’s doing the best she can with the hand she was dealt.
Barbie is a five star character. And Third! I loved Third – he too was a well-developed side-kick. He’s more than the chubby friend – Third becomes Barbie’s number one fan – and not because she lets him feel her up under the bleachers, either. Third likes Barbie – he respects Barbie – and of all the characters in this book, Third is the only one she really lets into her heart. Even Dylan is held at arm’s length. Dylan is risky.
The issues presented in this book: drug and alcohol abuse, bad parenting, promiscuity, and even an implied incident of past child molestation – are all very serious and deep and Heidi Acosta handled each and every one with tact and skill.
Barbie Girl could’ve been a five star read – easily.
But it’s not. Because it lacked editing. Normally I over-look typos and small mistakes because to be quite honest I know my books have a few mistakes in them as well. But this book was simply not edited. And there’s a big difference between missing a few mistakes and not having an editor. So the final verdict is that I have to go with 3.5 stars but I am rounding up to 4.
It’s painful really – because this story captivated my attention, I felt for Barbie’s complicated life, I wanted people to pay attention to her, and I wanted her to get the happy ending. Even with all the editing mishaps, I never questioned whether or not I’d keep reading because this was a great story. If the book gets professionally edited I’d love to read it again and change my rating to five stars.
Heidi Acosta was born on Long Island, New York. Moving around a lot when she was younger, she has lived in New York, Arizona, New York (again), Washington, Georgia, and Florida, in that order. Each place offered her something special, but she will always consider New York her home.
Heidi started writing as soon as she could spell. When she was three, Heidi’s mother gave her a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods; thus beginning her lifelong love affair with literature.
Writing soon also became a form of therapy for Heidi, when she realized that no matter what was happening in her life, she could find emotional escape while writing. Some of her earliest stories featured her as a princess who explored new worlds with her horse Buttercup. If it sounds romantic, it wasn’t, there was no prince charming in those fairy lands (boys where yucky).
Heidi now resides in Florida with her husband, very active daughter, one hyper Chihuahua, two sweet cats, and one very fat moody cat.