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Literature / Airhead Series

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Meet Nikki Howard...or Emerson Watts. Or whoever that is.
In this series written by Meg Cabot, Emerson Watts didn’t even want to go to the new SoHo Stark Megastore grand opening. But someone needed to look out for her sister Frida, whose crush, British heartthrob Gabriel Luna, would be singing and signing autographs there—along with the newly appointed Face of Stark, teen supermodel sensation Nikki Howard. How was Em to know that disaster would strike, changing her—and life as she’d known it—forever? One devastating accident later, and Em Watts, always the tomboy, never the party princess, is no longer herself. Literally. Brainiac Em Watts loses her body in an accident and has her brain transplanted into supermodel Nikki Howard's body. Now she has to deal with fame, the shallow lifestyle she hates and a conspiracy behind the imposing Stark Enterprises.

Books currently in this series:

  • Airhead
  • Being Nikki
  • Runaway

Not related to the film Airheads.

Tropes appearing in the Airhead series:

  • Alpha Bitch: Nikki was this in spades before her faked death.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling:
    • Em initially views Frida to be this, but comes to appreciate her more as the series goes on.
    • Nikki is certainly this to her brother.
  • Big Brother Is Watching You: If you buy a Stark Quark or a Stark-brand phone. The worst part is they're doing it to find donor bodies like Nikki's.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Em ends up in Nikki's body because she pushed her little sister out of the way of a falling television, which led to her developing fatal injuries. Even though Em doesn't like her new life, she doesn't regret that Frida is alive and will do anything to protect her.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Robert Stark, with his son coming close to following in his footsteps. Not only does Robert Black Mail Em's parents into transplanting their daughter's brain into Nikki's body but also plans to replicate the process for elderly wealthy clients, for a tidy profit.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Initially, Em and Frida but they get over it. It helped that Em saved Frida's life by shoving her out of the way of a falling television.
  • Good Parents: When they realize that Em has been pulled into a tangled web of conspiracy, though they don't know the full details, the Watts say they'll Work Off the Debt to Stark Industries. Once they do, they can pay for the transplant and buy Em her freedom. Em doesn't want them to because she realizes that she needs to uncover Project Phoenix, and her parents made a lot of sacrifices already.
  • He Knows Too Much: Nikki in this case. Yeah, it's not a good idea to blackmail your boss over something scandalous you might have overheard.
  • I Have Your Wife: When Robert Stark discovers Em at the Project Phoenix presentation, he threatens to use Frida, who is on a plane, as one of the donor bodies unless Em keeps her mouth shut.
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  • Love Epiphany: After Em suffers her Disney Death, her childhood friend realizes that he loved her.
  • Mega-Corp: Stark Industries, to a point. They literally dominate almost every market in this fictional universe, though competition does still exist.
  • Name's the Same: Brandon Stark.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • The real Nikki sending an email using her address leads Emerson an company right to her, giving them exactly what they need to bring down Stark.
    • Also, Stark's idea of putting recording devices in their phones comes back to bite them in the ass at the end.
  • One-Word Title: Two of the titles, one of them being the Named After First Installment:
    • Airhead
    • Runaway: The third book.
  • Really Gets Around: Nikki. Emerson starts out being forced to dally around with several boyfriends.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: In-universe in Airhead. So the main character is anti-materialistic? OK. But she and her mother loathe femininity so much that they insist on her little sister not trying to be a cheerleader because they think cheerleading degrades women. Em hates on model Nikki Howard (without knowing anything about her!) simply because Nikki advertizes a cosmetics brand. All of the other girls in Em's class are shallow, slutty, and Alpha Bitch-y. She describes popular girls as "The Walking Dead". The only girly girl in the series portrayed in a nice light is Lulu, and even she is supposed to be dumb, but goodhearted.
    • To be fair, Em gradually starts to change her mind on this as the books progress. And near the end of the series she calls her mother out on the fact that she is such a Straw Feminist that she does not even tell her daughters that they look pretty. Her mother seems to learn from this.
  • Rich Bitch: Nikki Except when she is out of her body where she is forced to literally become a new person.
  • Spanner in the Works: Nikki. Especially when she is out of her body. It's revealed that she figured out Stark Industries was going to do something illegal and tried to blackmail her boss about it. This led to her brain transplant, since her body was too valuable for Stark Industries to dispose of, and later she keeps up her dalliances with multiple boyfriends.
  • Spoiler Title/Trailers Always Spoil: The first Airhead book spends a great deal of time leading up to the reveal that Em has had her brain transplanted into Nikki's body. Anyone who read the back cover already knows this.
  • Spot the Imposter: A rather impressive case, considering it involves Nikki's actual body. Nikki's brother immediately realizes that something is off with his sister, even with the amnesiac story, and quickly gets Em to admit the truth.
  • Taking the Bullet: If Em hadn't pushed her sister out of the way, the TV that ended up "killing" Em would have landed on Frida. Given this was planned by Star Industries, it means Frida would have ended up in Nikki's body.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Lulu thinks it's a spirit transfer, but otherwise she's correct about Nikki not being Nikki.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Emerson and Frida, Emerson!Nikki and Lulu.
  • Wham Line: Nikki's brother reveals that Nikki would never have suffered an aneurysm; she was "healthy as a horse". This throws Em's preconceptions to the winds about what is really going on with Stark Industries.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Christopher and Em, for all three books.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Stark Industries threatens Frida in the last book, and Word of God has confirmed that Frida was the designated brain replacement for Nikki, which would have made her an Unwitting Pawn.