I really enjoyed sharing middle level book ideas at the Barnes and Noble summer reading kick off. Many of the books I suggested were the latest or first books in series, so that readers would have additional book ideas if they liked a book that was introduced. Yesterday, I finished the final book in Meg Cabot's Airhead series entitled Runaway. Although I loved the first book in the series, I did not think Being Nikki and Runaway were nearly as strong.
If you are not familiar with this series, Airhead introduces a video game playing feminist, Emerson Watson, whose brain is transplanted into the body of a super model. Em and her best friend Christopher deal with their outcast status at school by immersing themselves in online video games. When Em's mom makes her accompany her sister to a star studded opening at a Stark Megastore, Em suffers a terrible accident and wakes up in the hospital one month later with her brain transplanted into the body of teen supermodel Nikki Howard. She's dying to tell Christopher who she really is, but to protect her parents from a law suit, Em has to keep her identiy a secret and learn to live in her hot new body. Keeping up with Nikki's modeling schedule and attending school is almost more than Em can handle, and she begins to realize that Nikki was more than just an airhead. Geeky Em's adjustment to her super model body creates an opportunity for hilarious "fish out of water" antics.
In the sequel, Being Nikki, Em aka Nikki, is now the "Face of Stark Enterprises." Unfortunately, Christopher is determined to destroy Stark to avenge what he believes is her death. Then Nikki's brother shows up, demanding that Em help him find their missing mom. At the cliffhanger ending, Christopher discovers Nikki's true identity, and they find out some shocking news that leaves readers clamoring for the final book in the series.
The final book, Runaway, takes up where the second abruptly ends and Nikki/Em is being held captive by Brandon Stark, the son of the Stark Enterprise owner. She learns that Christopher is right about the nefarious plans of Stark Enterprises, and she enlists his help to engineer her escape and expose them to the world.
Without the endearing awkwardness of the girl geek turned supermodel that permeates the first book, the next two enstallments are not as engaging. Nikki/Em seems annoying at times and idiotic at others. However, the reader loyalty that the first book creates makes the next two "must reads" for fans.