Airhead—Being Nikki is Meg Cabot’s 60th book (10 of them under the name Patricia Cabot) since she kicked off her career with the Princess Diaries series in 2000. But her readers haven’t lost any of the fascination for her books—Being Nikki shot to No. 3 on The New York Times best-selling list in its first week of release in the US. However, this, I must admit, is my first Cabot.
Airhead—Being NIkki: Macmillan, 301 pages, Rs399.
For those who came in late, Airhead is a trilogy that revolves around young supermodel Nikki Howard and Emerson (Em) Watts, a 16-year-old tomboy whose life gets inextricably linked with the former’s. Being Nikki is the second instalment in the series.
Going back in time a bit, in the first book Airhead, Em is seriously injured when a plasma screen collapses on her and her younger sister, Frida, during a store-opening ceremony for the Stark Corporation where Nikki is the chief guest. It is while regaining consciousness at the hospital that Em realizes Nikki too was fatally hurt and that the doctors—aided by Stark Corporation—have transplanted Em’s brain into Nikki’s body.
The story continues in Being Nikki. Em is living the super-glamour life to the hilt, though she misses her old life. The only reason she carries on with the charade is that she can visit her family from time to time. The hitch is that—as Nikki—she has to pretend to be Brandon Stark’s (owner Robert Stark’s son) girlfriend as well. Stark Corporation is happy with the turn of events.
Everything is running smoothly for all concerned till Em runs into Steven (Nikki’s brother), who has come to the supermodel’s pad in search of their missing mother. Em’s room-mate Lulu promptly falls in love with him. A concerned Steven, however, has other things on his mind and tries to convince Em to help him in the search. To spice up things, Christopher, Em’s boyfriend from her earlier life who has no clue that Nikki is actually Em, pops on to the scene.
Christopher’s mission in life is clear: Destroy the Stark Corporation which was responsible for Em’s death. The mystery deepens when one of Nikki’s ex-boyfriends claims Nikki is in touch with him, sending out text messages. The trail leads them to a sinister-sounding Japanese doctor who would seem to hold the key to the entire story. As Steven, Christopher, Lula and Em hijack Brandon’s limo and get to Dr Fong, another surprise awaits them. They discover that Stark Corporation will not brook any interference in its ruthless bid to become the world’s richest conglomerate.
Cabot first shot to fame with the Princess Diaries series about Mia Thermopolis, a teenage high-school student who discovers that she is actually a princess. Cabot’s “chick lit” (for want of a better word) stories have had girls swooning for more. From children to tweens to teens to adult novels, Cabot’s repertoire is extraordinary.
The writer is the editor of Heek, a children’s magazine.
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