Lea Clark, Girl of the Year 2016, Takes Us to Brazil and Helps Girls Overcome Their Fears

9 Jan

Lea, Girl of the Year 2016, is another destination character like Grace Thomas Girl of the Year 2015. This time, the destination is tropical Brazil.

Lea Clark, the 2016 Girl of the Year, dives in to
new adventures and explores what’s in her heart.

She discovers it takes courage to do something you’ve never done before.

Lea’s interests are animals and photography.


Lea Dives In: In her second book, Lea Clark is all set for an animal-discovery adventure! She’s never been to a rainforest before, and her mind is filled with exciting thoughts about the animals she’ll get to see—and the pictures she’ll get to take deep in the jungle. During a hike with her brother through the Amazon rainforest, they discover a baby sloth that is badly injured. Lea quickly decides she must do all she can to help the little sloth survive. But as she learns more, she wonders: Is that the right thing to do?


Lea Leads the Way: Lea Clark is all set for an animal-discovery adventure! She’s never been to a rainforest before, and her mind is filled with exciting thoughts about the animals she’ll get to see—and the pictures she’ll get to take deep in the jungle. During a hike with her brother through the Amazon rainforest, they discover a baby sloth that is badly injured. Lea quickly decides she must do all she can to help the little sloth survive. But as she learns more, she wonders: “Is that the right thing to do?”


Lea and Camila: For spring break, Lea Clark has invited her Brazilian friend Camila to St. Louis for a stateside adventure. They find a stray kitten and make a mysterious discovery while visiting a grand but crumbling mansion. Lea is determined to uncover the secrets of her discovery, but in her search for clues she forgets to be a good host to Camila. And when Lea’s best friend, Abby, becomes fast friends with Camila, Lea feels a little left out. Can she find a way to reconnect with her friends—and solve the mystery, too?

Lea will encourage your girl to face her fears, explore the world around her, and open her mind. These stories inspire girls to have new experiences.

lea movie

A movie will accompany her collection in the summer. Unlike movies that have come out before for other American Girl dolls, this movie will not be based on the books (or rather a re-telling of the books) and will be the “fourth” story. American Girl announced that it will continue Lea’s adventures in the rainforest.

“An unexpected twist sends Lea back to the rainforest for an all-new movie adventure!”

Her collection includes:


Her Meet outfit and Beachwear for kayaking.

lea 3

Lea’s souvenir outfit

lea 4

Pajamas for sleeping under the tropical rainforest.

lea 5

Lea goes hiking in this ensemble.

lea 6

Lea’s photography and animal-watching accessories.

lea 7

Beach accessories

lea 8

Hiking accessories

lea 9

Kayaking accessories with Kayak.

lea 10

Sea turtle

lea 11

Banana Berry stand

lea 12

Margay cat

lea 13

Lea’s rainforest house

lea 14

A sloth

lea 2

bathing suit and beach outfits



I know. I’m late. Lea has been out for 9 days now, and I’m just now posting this. See, the thing is I thought I’d already posted this. My issue was I was so excited about Melody, I forgot to post this for those interested in Lea.

And I must admit it: I am not one of those people.

Don’t get me wrong. She is pretty. I like the combination of her hair and skin color. I’m tired of the hazel eyes trend, though. :/

Still, there is just something so BORING about her. Is it just me or is American Girl Girl of the Year suddenly…uninspiring? It’s starting to feel like they are repeating the same dolls over and over again. And I’m not talking about the way she looks. I’m sure a lot of people are disappointed that she is another white, blonde character. That doesn’t quite disappoint me. Maybe it’s because I’m not as interested in the Girl of the Year as the Beforever collection. Still, when I see a GOTY I just really love, a doll I can’t resist, she must really be amazing. 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 much was Isabelle and for the same reason. There are several things that bore me about this collection.

Haven’t we done the tropical destination theme before?

I understand eventually American Girl will run out of ideas, but they haven’t even covered the SCOPE of ideas before settling with something they’ve already done before. Placing a movie with Lea’s collection will not resolve this issue. Lea seems like a last-minute character. They borrowed some ideas from old collections and put her in a familiar tropical environment.

What about a chess player? A musician, like a pianist or violinist or guitarist? I would’ve thought they would even try a singer or model before doing something over. What about a cheerleader? What about a girl football player?

Why don’t they make all the science items they failed to make for Maryellen and place them with the Girl of the Year?

But NOOO. That would be too original.

Girl of the Year has done this tropical theme TWICE, along with Kailey’s beach theme. Lea’s collection lacks identity.

Let’s just observe this boring collection closely for a moment…

The Kayak

I already have my Kayak from Jess’s collection.

jess kayak

Why would I be interested in Lea’s Kayak? :/ BOOORRRIINNNG. YAWN. I like the inflatable feel of Jess’s Kayak versus the plastic piece of junk in Lea’s collection. It’s not tempting. But I guess it’s easier for bath-time use.

Tie-dyed fashion

I’m also tired of the tie-dyed look as well. I’m feeling a Jess vibe from that, too.



And it’s not that the styles are anything alike, but Lea’s theme is so redundant. It has been done too many times. It’s bad enough I’m not a big fan of tie-dye. It’s worse that they’ve done this more than once.

Rainforest House

I’m interested in the rainforest house a bit, but it does not make me long for Lea. It suits my Jess perfectly. Jess looks more unique than Lea does, so I see no need to add Lea to my collection for any reason, not even because a rainforest house was mentioned in her story and is supposed to be a part of her collection. I have no interest in reinventing Lea’s stories.

Berry Banana Stand

The Berry Banana stand reminds me of the Shave Ice stand from Kanani’s collection. Another tropical-themed collection. Though I actually prefer the Banana-berry stand, I already have a stand. I don’t feel the need to have both.

kanani's shave ice stand

Kanani may have been a repeat of Jess for me (as well as Kailey), but at least she had better fashion sense, cultural pieces, and different accessories in her collection at the time.

I can combine all of the collection pieces I already HAVE and create Lea’s collection.

American Girl has had TONS of hazel-eyed dolls, and the sandy-haired types, too.

What can I gain from this Girl of the Year?


Girl of the Year has had enough tropical swimsuits to make my head spin.



Jess swimsuit

Kailey swimsuit

lea 2

I understand they are all from different years. I understand that girls today probably don’t remember Kailey and Jess and weren’t able to get their wardrobes when they were available. I get it. Still, I’ve had enough. I’m not interested in purchasing any more of this tropical junk, not for me or anyone else.

If you keep revamping ideas just to give old ideas to the new kiddies, when will you give kids some new stuff? When will you be more creative American Girl? American Girl is a company that has the potential to step outside of these basic ideas. They can do more with their resources than they used to when Girl of the Year first arrived on the scene. So why not broaden the Girl of the Year brand with a more unique destination? Why didn’t they try Africa? I mean, that IS where they filmed the movie!

I don’t even think her books are all that interesting. I’m not interested in learning about the rainforest as I feel the novelty wore off after Jess’s story.

Isabelle was the same way for me. Why would I be interested in a ballerina when I already have Marisol? But at least I was interested in Isabelle’s sewing set. Lea bores me all the way around.

After Grace, I thought American Girl had finally come to their senses. How foolish I was to think that this company would ever live up to my personal expectations.

So, no, Lea isn’t come home. Not one item in her collection is coming home. I’m not even interested in her movie. The fact that she isn’t even Brazilian is worse. I’ll pass. For those of you interested in Brazil or didn’t get a chance to get the other tropical characters, go for Lea.

As for me, I’m more excited for Melody and Girl of the Year 2017.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Do you think I’m being too harsh? Do you like Lea Clark? What would you add in your collection? Or do you think she’s boring as well? I want to know!


6 Responses to “Lea Clark, Girl of the Year 2016, Takes Us to Brazil and Helps Girls Overcome Their Fears”

  1. Ruby Rosynfeld 2016/01/13 at 21:22 #

    No, I don’t think you are being harsh. Even though Lea is pretty, she isn’t original. I would have loved a doll that goes to Africa! The animal rescue theme is borrowed from both Kanani and Jess, since they rescued monk seals and orangutans respectively. I guess the photography aspect is sort of original, but that isn’t the biggest theme for her. I think she should have been an african american doll. I get that we are getting Melody, but so far the only racially diverse GOTY dolls have been Marisol, Jess, Kanani and Sonali. Also, in her books it states that Lea is only 1/8 Brazilian. COME ON AG!!! In the leaked movie scripts it stated that she is supposed to be of mixed heritage. Are they really that afraid of diversity? I’m sorry if this seems like an angry rant, I just need to share my thoughts. 🙂


    • generationnext 2016/01/14 at 03:22 #

      It doesn’t sound angry at all. In fact, it mirrors my thoughts exactly. XD Kailey also rescued the Tide pools in California. Really, “animal rescue” is becoming a common theme.

      Even though photography is unique, she wasn’t the first to have something so similar. Kailey also came with a water-proof camera. -.-

      African American, Native American, Korean American, she could’ve been anything but blonde and white. Along with being afraid of diversity, they already designed Grace last year and SHE was a brunette. So in order to make the doll look different, they lightened her hair color.

      They are also under the assumption that black dolls don’t sell fast. They also have to pay extra for black dolls because they come in separate boxes when shipped to stores. So here comes another white girl.

      What’s worse than that is the fact that this whole theme is boring. :/ I actually think she’s pretty, but her collection is such a turn-off, I don’t see a reason to buy her. She’s going to come in that Meet outfit and with that tie-dye. I’m not a fan of that look. That’s more disappointing than her being a blonde, white girl again. If they were going to do something again, at least give it an original flavor.

      Thank you for sharing your comment. 🙂


      • sedepuy 2016/01/17 at 01:41 #

        Definitely agree. Every year I keep hoping that this time the AGotY will be different, not white, not blonde, because they have made so many of those kinds of dolls. I was again disappointed this year when they kept to their tradition and released another white blonde doll. The historical dolls are having a rough time too. Currently, all of the dolls of color (with the exception of Rebecca who just scrapes in at 1914) are set in pre-20th century times. All of the white dolls are set in the 20th century. This means that AG doesn’t have to confront issues that deal with race and ethnicity in more recent historical periods. For example Kit doesn’t have to deal with the fact that she goes to a segregated whites only school and Maryellen doesn’t have family members talk about their experiences during WWII in Japanese concentration camps or living on a reservation. Personally when I heard that AG was retiring the friends collections I wanted them to retire Julie and make Ivy the new AG doll, flesh out her story beyond “Good Luck Ivy” and give her her own amazing outfits like Julie had. No such luck. Julie sells well partly because she’s blonde and partly because AG worked really hard to give her a lot to work with (she’s the only doll who has a bike and a car for gosh sakes!). I had the same hope with Maryellen, please AG let there be another Asian American doll, 1950s is the perfect time period and you’ve just retired Ivy. Apparently not. The maddening thing is knowing as an adult that these decisions are arbitrary. As you said AG decides years in advance what kind of doll they are going to make and lately they keep making the same one with a slightly different story, ultimately no real changes. The positive in all of this is Melody, can’t wait to see her!


      • generationnext 2016/01/20 at 01:44 #

        When they MADE Julie instead of Ivy, I was shocked! Hopefully, they make 1980s doll that is Asian. That’s the only other era I can think they would make an Asian doll for.

        1950s was such a superficial era. They would’ve wanted to cover the culture. Asian Americans didn’t really gel with 1950s culture the way we understand 1950s culture, like with the poodle skirts and jukeboxes.

        I can’t wait to see Melody either. I hope she looks different from Addy and I hope she’s cute as a button.


  2. sedepuy 2016/01/17 at 01:48 #

    *typo-aren’t arbitrary

    Liked by 1 person


  1. American Girl’s Girl of the Year 2017: Gabriela McBride! + ‘Girl of the Year 2017’ Is Set To Last More Than A Year! | Generation Next - 2016/12/31

    […] have to be fair about this. I talked about Isabelle being another dancer, I talked about Lea being another tropical princess, so I can’t let this […]


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