American Girl doll Girl of the Year 2015: Grace Thomas

19 Dec

Grace thomas 16Grace Thomas 2 Grace Thomas 3 Grace thomas 6 Grace Thomas 7 Grace Thomas 10 Grace Thomas 11 Grace Thomas 14 Grace Thomas 15

Grace Thomas 4 Grace Thomas 5 Grace Thomas 8 Grace Thomas 9 Grace Thomas 12 Grace Thomas 13

Pictures for the new Girl of the Year 2015 are out there, if you haven’t heard. It has been leaked on somehow…

*This article has been updated with the latest information.

She is a brunette character this time with a side-swept bang, and long hair. She also has freckles and blue eyes. I’m assuming they are giving her freckles because of Saige’s success, as Saige helped Mattel boost up 3% in 2013. I heard Isabelle was not doing as well…I can’t say I’m surprised…

Read articles here:

Mattel’s Annual Report 2013

Isabelle: Girl of the Year 2014

What do I think of the new Girl of the Year 2015?

I think she’s adorable. I like the fact that she is NOT blonde. Yes, American Girl, thank you.

I thought she would not be interesting because when I heard her story for the first time, it seemed a little messy.  This is her book synopsis:

“Nine-year-old GOTY is always thinking up big ideas, like starting a business with her friends over the summer! When Mom announces a trip to Paris instead, GOTY gets on board, but it quickly seems as if none of her plans are working out the way she’d hoped. She and her French cousin aren’t getting along, and GOTY’s friends back home have started a business without her. Can she find the courage to stay open to new ideas and turn the summer around?”

This synopsis attempts to be interesting by telling us the setting is in Paris, but it left me feeling confused. Thus, this story seemed all over the place, like it’s trying to focus on Paris, then all of a sudden the story jumps on a completely new subject, and starts focusing on the business. This story also doesn’t seem to have a solid “lesson”. It’s not clear what direction the story wants to take. Ironically, that seems to be a trait of all children’s story-telling today, especially the stories that come with merchandising, i.e. Frozen. You can read more about that here and here. Thus, I wasn’t really interested in the story at first. She doesn’t get along with her cousin, which sounds almost exactly like Kanani’s story. She wants to start her own business, which reminds me of Kanani’s shave ice stand. And also, her story is going to take place in a foreign nation, just like Jess’s story took place in Belize. I know there are huge differences between Belize and Paris, but it’s still an American Girl who’s story does not take place in America. To add, it’s such a “privileged” story. Not every kid can afford to take a trip to Paris…

There didn’t seem to be anything…unique about this story. I guess that’s the main reason why I wasn’t interested. It felt like it had already been told, and so the outcome seemed even more predictable than the average GOTY. And it kind of still does, but later on I found some more interesting sides to the story.

Based on the collection, it seems she wants to open her own bakery. I suppose traveling to Paris will give her the inspiration to create her own French bakery in America? Many chefs travel around the world to find food inspiration. Perhaps that’s what she will learn while traveling? That’s just a hunch. That would make the story ten times more interesting.


Qualm 1: I know American Girl is eager to make use of the Parisian setting for their movie, but they are starting to appear like they are trying too hard to make a good movie. American Girl used to make movies based on the books, now it seems they have designed everything in a way where it appears the books are inspired from the ideas they want to put in the movies…And movies always feel less realistic than books.

The last GOTY movie I actually liked was Chrissa’s movie, and that’s because it touched on a real issue: Bullying. And it was realistic about it. Trust me. I work in education, and I have seen bullying at that magnitude. Despite how parents would like to see children, children can be very cruel…Moving on…

Qualm 2: Just like Isabelle, she is caught wearing pink as a signature color for her starter outfit. And pink has been sprinkled throughout the collection, too. (sigh, Attack of the Pink again…Another part of Mattel’s 18 Ways they Can Ruin a Doll Line).

Qualm 3: Am I the only one annoyed that the name “Grace” was used again? And to throw salt on it, she’s learning French, just like Marie-Grace. It’s a stabbing reminder of how they cast aside the NOLA historical characters. It’s also…been used before, and so isn’t so very creative. I, at least, hoped it would be the name of another historical character because it would mean that a historical character is on the way…And it would make the fact that Marie-Grace was removed easier to deal with. GOTY is only around for one year, and so that name will be out in the air all over again.

Qualm 4: She’s white…again. I’m not too mad, considering I’m fine with the concept they produced for her, but I don’t think American Girl is making the same impact with their GOTYs anymore. It’s time for them to shock the world and try something new. I think this is what will slam Mattel in 2015.

Qualm 5: Isn’t it a little stereotypical for Grace to be sporting a French beret? Like all French people nowadays walk around wearing a beret…Can we be a little more authentic, American Girl?


Pro: Despite my lack of interest in GOTY story-telling, I like that this girl is not a dancer or an athlete.  Sure, there were other subjects American Girl could’ve focused on, but this subject doesn’t seem too bad now that I have deciphered what the story may actually be about. At least she is a little entrepreneur. I also like the fact that they are teaching girls the value of hard work. Girls can do so much more today, and I think this collection will encourage girls to explore their options.

Pro: After seeing the doll in American Girl’s photos with her accessories, she is absolutely scrumptious! I’m not too excited about the pink dress. It sort of reminds me of Samantha’s dress for modern girls. But I ❤ that red “Love” sweater! I want, I want, I want! I also love that the bakery is a realistic color, blue and red. So, I want that, too. ❤ I half expected the bakery to be pink.

I heard…

Many people felt that American Girl did not live up to their expectations. Many people were hoping for an African American girl or a girl with a disability of some sort. I wrote a little segment about dolls of color here. I had no real hopes. However, even I will admit, there was nothing shocking about this GOTY. A GOTY of color would’ve made an impact.

Many people initially felt she looked a lot like Chrissa and Saige mixed together, but I think she looks beautiful with the combination of features.

I will admit, here we have your typical white girl, with the same tried-again features, with a done-again story. This girl is basically many GOTYs mashed together. But you also have to admit…She’s easy to fall in love with. It’s a bitter-sweet feeling.

Perhaps American Girl wanted Grace to have a mixture of old features. Young girls may not remember Chrissa or Jess or any other GOTY from more than 3 years ago. I suppose they re-used the features to reignite interest in the doll type and to bring the look into the modern generation. Still, it doesn’t do much for old-time fans. American Girl has a hard time bridging the gap between the old-time fans and the new fans. They are also having a hard time reaching out to people of color.

Overall, Grace isn’t everything anyone could want, but she’s a far improvement from Isabelle, the second GOTY dancer. At least they came up with an original concept for Grace.

American Girl shows more about the GOTY 2015 here —>American

So, leave me a comment and share with me what you think so far, and your expectations for GOTY in the future. Do you think she’s a let down or were you surprisingly pleased?


One Response to “American Girl doll Girl of the Year 2015: Grace Thomas”


  1. Lea Clark, Girl of the Year 2016, Takes Us to Brazil and Helps Girls Overcome Their Fears | Generation Next - 2016/01/09

    […] see a GOTY I just CAN’T pass up, I normally can’t resist. That’s how I felt about Grace last year. That’s not how I feel about Lea. In fact, the only other doll that bored me this […]


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