Glitter Book Cover
Glitter by Aprilynne Pike
Random House Books for Young Readers
October 2016
Glitter Duology (Book 1/2)
Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology. When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother blackmails him into making Dani his queen. She has six months to raise the money to escape her terrifying destiny. Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted.
Adapted from : GoodReads

When I was about 14, I had an obsession with the French Revolution. It was a horrific time period, but I couldn’t get enough. I read books about it, diaries by people living at the time, spent my free time watching movies and became very enamored with the esthetic of Versailles. So when I saw the cover of Glitter, I was immediately transported back. Without even reading the summary, I bought it. Because hey. Pretty cover, right? When I finally got around to reading the summary, I was a little surprised. A teenage queen to-be turned drug dealer in technological Versailles? Definitely a premise I’d never heard of before.

I started reading the book at 8pm that same evening, figuring I’d read a couple chapters before going to bed. I had to be up at 6am the next day for school after all!

5 hours later, I read the last page.

Marie Antoinette meets technology

I definitely think that’s the beauty of this novel. It is very fast paced and very easy to read. Is it the most thought provoking, boundary pushing piece of literature I’ve ever read? No. And I don’t really think it tries to be. That being said, it does address some important ideas and themes:

Throughout the novel, Dani tightens her corset until her waist is the smallest in the court. At first, the reader might see this as the vanity project of a teenage girl, but we quickly realize that this is Dani trying to regain control over one of the few things she still can control: her body. Her corset becomes her battle armour, and she is reliant on it to keep her steady, literally. Even Dani’s mother, who she paints very poorly throughout the novel, notices this and expresses concern.

One thing that I think is well done with this representation of self-harm is that it doesn’t just let it happen without ever addressing it. Once we realize what it really is, the book goes into deconstructing it in a very explicit way. I think that was an important move, lest Pike romanticize self-harm.

The second, more obvious dangerous behaviour that is commented on, is the drug dealing itself. Not only is Dani dealing Glitter, but she’s dealing it to unknowing victims and (SPOILER): in doing so, killing them. Her moral character is therefore constantly up for debate. There is no doubt that she is selfish, but she is also trying to escape an abusive situation, and so while I personally didn’t agree with her choices, I understood them.

One thing that I did notice as I was reading was that this world is by no means all white, which is good to see. Because the country of Sonoman-Versailles is basically a very international, powerful company’s home base, people living and working there would naturally come from everywhere around the world. It would therefore be ridiculous if all the characters in this story were white. It is never really addressed or talked about past introducing character’s physical traits, so some might argue that it is superficial diversity. That being said, I think it’s important that YA books have a diversity of people in them. Otherwise the genre is not doing its job of reflecting the world we live in.

This novel is not perfect by any means, but it did what I wanted it to do: entertain me. Will I read the next one? Sure. Will it be at the top of my TBR? Probably not. What reading this did tell me however is that I really enjoy Pike’s writing style, so I will likely pick up another one of her older series sometime soon.