Thursday Review: Head Over High Heels by Marley Gibson

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The Blurb: Irina “Ira” Jeffries and her roommate, Fernanda Lopez, turn heads, even in a paradise like Miami’s South Beach where beauty is the rule, not the exception. Ira lands local modeling gigs while working at an ultra-hip art deco hotel. Fernanda’s classic Hispanic looks catapult her to the top of the local pageant scene. Both women take a mind-blowing ride into the cutthroat and competitive fashion and pageant worlds filled with seductive men, thousand dollar champagne toasts, Botox parties, spiked drinks, and the most incredible cities. Ira must choose between the frenetic pace of the fashion runways or the man she loves, sexy Spaniard and aspiring shoe designer, Pablo Andrews. Fernanda’s quest for being the best and nabbing the crown of Miss United States drives her into the arms of local celebrity and former trash-talking Miami Tarpon football player, Thomas Traylor. Each woman eventually has to make the biggest decision of her life about who she really wants to be. The options leave them both Head Over High Heels.

My Review: I downloaded this book for free on amazon when I was doing research to see how other authors managed the descriptions in their books. This book was similar to the rest of the modeling books that I’ve read. Shy, sweet, otherwise perfect girl doesn’t realize how incredibly gorgeous she happens to be and becomes a super famous, super popular, superstar of a model while struggling with whether or not she’ll lose her true identity to the evils of fame. Meanwhile girl meets a boy who appreciates her for being real but gets angry with her as modeling pushes her further and further toward fake. This book was written for adults so there was more sex, drugs, and plastic surgery than the YA versions of the tale, but otherwise it was similar. There were some plot points that bordered on the ridiculous, but all in all the book was good fun and for a free read completely worth the download.

Pros: Girl Friendships. Too often this type of book features the wallflower who is *different* from other girls and consequently doesn’t get along with other women. Gibson neatly sidesteps that oh so annoying cliche that sets women up against each other and puts a friendship front and center of the story that is every bit as important as the romance. Another major prop every character in this story has their own life. Even the love interest. And it doesn’t revolve around the protagonist! Instead everyone is reaching for their own goals, experiencing their own dramas, and supporting each other along the way.

Cons: The book got preachy on a few points, being anti-drug didn’t bother me, but the book came down just as hard on plastic surgery and botox. Now, I happen to agree that as women we should be happy with our appearance and screw anyone who tries to pressure a woman into going under the knife and I’m never going to spent my money on plastic surgery because for me, it’s just not a priority. However, the degree it was frowned upon ruffled even MY feathers. I don’t think it’s anyones, particularly not two natural born super models written as mouth pieces, place to judge whether or not a woman chooses plastic surgery. That’s no ones business but theirs and the sheer snide comments from the virtuous good guys about the amount of work different models got done just came off as grating.

There was also a missed opportunity in this book that completely made me lose respect for one of the characters involving a person who’d undergone a sex change. The character turned down an opportunity because *spoiler*

she’d originally lost to someone who was born male and was offered first place once this fact was uncovered. Her reason for turning down the opportunity was that she was insulted she’d lost to a biological male in the first place. She could have made a statement about how this person who identifies as female and went through numerous and painful operations so the rest of the world would see them as they perceived themselves won and she didn’t think it was right to take that from them. No, she just basically said she should have won in the first place. And I get that not everyone shares that opinion but in a book that’s completely about discovering who you really are and going after your dreams while discovering yourself, it seemed an odd plot point to throw in there for almost no reason.

But that’s my opinion, and that has nothing to do with the writing just an opinion I have. Ignoring those two things that just grated on my nerves, the book was fun to read. Well written descriptions too. Worth checking out.

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