Title: Glitter (Glitter Duology #1)
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Random House Books For Young Readers (BFYR), 2016
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Here’s that beautiful cover that lured us all in…
Now, I’ve read a lot of reviews that gave this book a low rating. I don’t know why. I actually liked it. It was a creative premise with an anti-hero as the protagonist (though she’s probably supposed to be sympathetic, I saw her as devious and lacking morals…and I loved it, lol). But let’s get past the #coverlove and delve into the blurbness, shall we?
Danica lives in the palace of Versailles. Outside the palace, it’s a futuristic setting with technology and traditional lives. Inside the palace, however, everything is different: once a corporation bought the palace for “preservation,” they moved all the shareholders in and started playing dress-up. But it goes beyond that because the people here believe they are what they are: Dukes, Ladies of the Court, and Kings/Queens. It’s legit. The palace is a sovereignty of its own.
Danica lives with her controlling mother and her alcoholic father. Before she was palace fodder, she was normal as can be. But with a nose job, etiquette lessons, and the proper dress, Danica is now in line to be a Queen. It helps that her mother is blackmailing the King, a man Danica can’t stand but has no choice but to marry. If she were to leave, she would leave with no citizenship, no identity, and no future. She must marry Justin, or the recreation of Louis XIV.
But all Dani wants is to leave the palace. When she discovers her father is abusing a drug called Glitter, she gets a revolutionary idea: put the drug in makeup and sell it to the aristocracy. She’ll make money, and by the time people find out she will be long gone. The only problem? A man named Saber who is tied up in the Glitter trade and a man Dani has fallen hopelessly in love with.
I wouldn’t use it. The contrast between the palace life and the real world is quite fascinating, but I can’t see any real educational merit beyond that. The drug trade that Dani gets involved with would make me very hesitant to bring it in to a class setting. Mainly because we are supposed to feel bad she’s a drug dealer, and despite the idea that she’s hooking these people on a dangerous drug, Dani seems to feel no remorse except the occasional twinge of guilt.
I would like to think that this book is one that could be considered for a college level class, though. At that age range, students could discuss the contrasts with real Versailles, and the anger the French people in the book have over the so-called “aristocracy,” as well as the moral/ethical implications of dragging people without their knowledge. I’d find it interesting to scaffold this book with a classic French story or a Marie Antoinette section. It would be pretty interesting to see what students could take away from this book.
So Lexile.com does list this as a 920L. However, I disagree that they left off the HL (high-low) designation. Usually, I find that the designation warns the reader that while the Lexile measure suggests the reader’s ability, it does not recommend it for a younger audience because of the content. This book has mature content, but not in the traditional way most people consider “mature.” It’s not violent, it’s not racy, it’s not crude. But the drug use and the drugging people without their knowledge….I would consider that mature material. Pike goes into detail about some of the effects of the drug, and I find that to be a little mature.
The suggested age range on Lexile is 14-18, and while I would consider that close, I would still push for 15 at the earliest. Then again, you all know I am extremely conservative in my views when it comes to anything questionable and young readers. This would be one subject that I feel only older students or readers would be able to read and see the enormous problems with Dani’s, her father’s, her mother’s, and the King’s behavior.
So…you may not like this book, but I have to go with how I felt, and I give Glitter ★★★★☆. I did not like (or condone) Dani’s behavior, but I did like the idea that someone would be that desperate. It’s interesting and the plot is fascinating (people actually believe they are what they are in the palace, and there’s little to no technology…these people reject the outside world to pretend they live in the seventeenth century!
Luckily, they don’t do powdered wigs, but Dani is obsessed with tightening her corset as a means of control). I would recommend it to anyone who likes an anti-hero story or is sick and tired of the Mary Sue “speshul snowflake” character trope. Dani is not special. She is not magical nor has abilities.she is not “the one.” What she is is desperate to escape and be free of this life of decadence and pretend. And she is legit afraid of Justin, the “king.” After you read about him, you would be, too.
Would you read this book? Don’t you love that cover? Do you think I’m mad for giving it this rating? (Well, I prob am)
Happy Reading, y’all! I’m off to give my thesis presentation so wish me luck! (I’m so nervous! Argh!)