It’s a situation that’s been done many times over – the plane Jane character is miraculously and unrealistically transformed into the beautiful swan of her most powerful daydreams. And her life is so much better for it. But in Airhead, there’s just one catch: what if the plain Jane was happy being who she was? What if a transformation into a beauty was not a dream, but a nightmare?
This is a story about identity, the values of looks and intellect (and looks versus intellect), judging people based on the superficial, and about control. But even though Airhead does fall into the YA chick lit genre and style that Cabot is so well known for, these issues are handled surprisingly well, and while subtle, are kept to the forefront at almost all times.
Although the premise is based around an idea that may seem a little far-fetched (brain transplants), when combined with more outlandish occurrences in reality and Cabot making sure to include the dramatic negatives to both the surgery itself, and having to deal with the concept of not being her. How do you continue to go on living – as someone is not only a stranger, but everything you despised – when everything you were no longer exists?
When it comes to being herself as well as someone else, Emerson gives her best shot, and even learns and grows as a character along the way.