shortened to "Suzie" or just plain "Z." Z got her start on YouTube when American Girl started using her to provide tips for stop motion videos. In the beginning Z was played by a Just Like You #40, and she was joined by a friend named "M," who was a Just Like You #44. Yes, #44 with the beautiful brown curls, the same one that rode out the tornado in Dayton. M never got her own special release, but Z did get her own doll for a very brief time, as a member of American Girl's short-lived Contemporary Characters. She was joined by Taylor Swift-wannabe Tenney Grant and Tenney's bandmate Logan Everett, neither of whom I was particularly fond of. First and foremost, I don't know why anyone would want to be like Taylor Duck-Lips Swift with her dime-a-dozen voice. This meme, shared by my cousin out in California, sums up my feelings on the little twit.
Caroline, who'd only been available for three years before her archival? Third and most importantly, Tenney badly stole Gabriela McBride's thunder. Or maybe it was the other way around; no one in the AG fandom is 100% sure, but there is evidence that Tenney was supposed to be 2017's Girl of the Year instead of Gabby. During...I think it was during Lea Clark's reign that some motormouth on the news made some comment about how there'd never been a black Girl of the Year. AG apparently panicked, Just Like You #46 was hastily retired, and Gabby was subsequently rushed into production, possibly/probably as a redressed #46. I don't think American Girl handled that situation well at all, considering that the gripe about the lack of diversity among GOTY is at least as old as Nicki Fleming. One more year with a boring white doll wouldn't have hurt anything; indeed, one year would've given folks time to develop Gabby's collection a bit better. Gabby could've subsequently gotten the five-star treatment she deserved as Girl of the Year, and then Z could've been worked in there somewhere, and then Luciana and Blaire could've followed and we'd have all been happy...or somesuch like that. It was all unnecessarily confusing to have the Contemporary Characters line come up out of nowhere, particularly when AG already had the Girl of the Year line and the Truly Me line to fill the contemporary gap. And what good did introducing the Contemporary Characters do??? The line was axed within two years, meaning that Z saw...I think it was eighteen months of production. Indeed, Z has the second-shortest run for an American Girl, not counting the Girls of the Year (Marie-Grace and Cecile tie for the shortest run, by the way).
Sigh...have I lost any of y'all yet??? Based on her aforementioned short run I'm willing to bet a well-kept Z doll will be worth a pretty penny one day. Maybe not, but you never know. My Z won't be minty-mint since I've already deboxed her, but I'm keepin' the box! The box is quite different from the boxes I'm familiar with; instead of the opaque lids that my old dolls came in, or the current box with a small round window for the face, this one has a full-length window. It has accumulated some crud along the way, but Z is still plainly visible on the inside.
hanbok (Korea's national dress). I've always wanted a hanbok for one of my dolls, and Carpatina has a lovely one, but I'm getting waaaaay off the subject as usual. It's been well over twenty years since I opened my first American Girl, so I'm not really sure what to expect. Will Z have a super-tight hairnet like the dolls on YouTube? Jeez, I hope not. I've seen girls really struggle with those hairnets.
this post by Talolili. Most of the AG fandom (Tal and me included) was not thrilled with this change, and within a couple'a months American Girl had reverted back to panties as a separate piece. According to the wiki all initially released Z dolls have these permapanties, meaning my doll has a very good chance of having them. American Girl offered a free one-time body swap for anyone who wasn't happy with permanently attached skivvies, but if my Z is afflicted I'll probably just leave her as is for curiosity's sake...and because I don't want to pay shipping and handling and be separated from my new doll for two or so weeks!!! Frankly I'm hesitant to send any doll to AG's doll hospital anyway, as Rhonda F sent her Kirsten doll for eye repairs a few years back, with the specific request that Kirsten's braids be left alone. Kirsten returned...with an inch cut off her left braid!!! So I'm very reluctant to send Z off for repairs.
Of course all that depends on whether Z even has permapanties. We'll soon see, but first I want to look at her face.
Eyes now. Z's eyes are brown like Denise's and Samantha's and quite a number of other AG dolls' eyes, but notice that they're different from Denise's. Z's are on the top, and Denise's are on the bottom.
Ivy are the only two dolls made with this unusual decal brown seen on Denise. LOL, those decal eyes give away Denise's former identity as a Samantha doll! The other brown-eyed dolls have pinwheel eyes. I love the shade of brown used on these eyes.
my Molly has it, for example). Gray eyes were the worst for some reason, but dark brown and navy blue eyes were also not immune either, as some Kit, Addy, and Just Like You #4 dolls could attest. As far as I know silver eye is a thing of the past, so Z should be alright...but I won't guarantee that she will be! I'll just watch her as she ages...or maybe I don't have to worry, because Z's eyes do not look like pinwheel eyes. The brown coloration is smooth all over, with no lines or markings of any sort. Compare that to the brown eyes of JLY #80, and to my Molly's "healthy" eye.
I made a bit of a to-do about eyelashes when I discussed Molly's silver eye, so let's look at those briefly. Denise and my other girls have the softer pre-Mattel lashes (Denise is the bottom image), while Z has the more modern stiff plastic lashes (top image). Do they look all that different to y'all???
Z's paint job is a little specialized so I'm going to discuss that briefly. Since she's the younger doll she's got more vibrant paint than my older dolls (especially Denise). Her cheeks are ever so slightly blushed, and her lips are a bit more pink. She has soft pink lips plus the teeth that all American Girls have except for Kaya and the boys.
JLY #30, JLY #40, and Jess. All four dolls have left side parts and no bangs, but Z is the only one of the four with highlights painted on her eyes. She's also the only one with a little mole on her left cheek. Indeed, I think Z is the first American Girl to have something like this.
Hearts for Hearts Mosi's...
Paola Reina Abigail's.
I want to break away from Z momentarily and show y'all what I have done for Xenia.
Now let's punch that elevator button and go up one floor. I usually start a review with hair, but I gotta keep y'all a-guessing, LOL! Perhaps I SHOULD have started here, since Heather at PennilessCaucasianRubbish got two (count 'em) TWO Z dolls (one with permapanties and one without) and they BOTH had horrid hair! But then again this YouTuber got a doll with decent hair, so maybe, just maybe my doll dodged that bullet??? We'll soon see. Z's hair is straight and black with subtle reddish highlights (this helps further distinguish Z from #40, as 40's hair is all black).
...and to Denise's part and Xenia's (they WEREN'T designed to have a part). The gaps between rows of hair are not terribly obvious on Denise's wig, even though she wasn't meant to have a parted hairstyle. The back of Xenia's wig is a fright.
this doll, seen by Miss Emily at Boston's now-defunct American Girl place, also has a wig that's thin and poorly cut in the back. I guess that's just a thing for AG dolls nowadays.
Now that I've pounded another point into the wood, time to take off Z's cute little outfit. I'm just going to skim the body review since if you've seen one AG body you've seen 'em all. It should probably be obvious in this picture that my doll does indeed have permapanties.
Since I've got Sadie out, let's look momentarily at her part.
With another rabbit trail out of the way, let's go back to Z's body. I've established that Z feels lighter than her older AG sisters and she's missing the neck strings. I've also seen several Z owners complain about puckers at the neckline, but my doll looks okay here.
has to lean forward in order to stand.
Regarding motion, Z ekes out her older friends in one crucial way: she's very tightly strung, mostly due to being younger than my other dolls. She can thus hold poses that Denise and the historicals have trouble holding. The tradeoff??? C'mon, y'all knew there'd be a tradeoff! It's hard to get Z to sit. Her hips are so tight that I have to fight with her to get her seated, and even then she can't sit very...ladylike, shall we say.
Oopsie, I didn't look at molding yet! The molding is okay. Nothing va-va-va-voom, but nothing bad either. If there were any significant differences I'd say that maybe Denise's nails are more sharply molded than Z's.
Even though it's acceptable and indeed common for girls to wear pants nowadays, American Girls still wear skirts and dresses quite frequently. This is so in Z's case, though her skirt is pretty short. It's a denim miniskirt...or I think that material might be denim. It's a thick material with ZERO stretch, colored to look like gray washed denim.
Charlie Lake's fly and pockets were. They're stitched in, which is more than I can say for the flies and pockets on Create Your Own clothes.
Sparkly slip-on shoes finish out Z's basic look.
pink Chuck Taylor-style shoes (a Hobby Lobby find) and the shoes that came with the Playful Color Block Outfit.
As I said above, this little outfit is about par for the course for a modern AG meet outfit. Stylish, colorful, simple, with separate little well-executed pieces that are good for mixing and matching. But for once, we're not done! Never, and I mean NEVER have I been able to get the meet accessories for these dolls before, even though I'd have given my right arm for Felicity's meet accessories when I was a kid. One of Felicity's items was a mob cap, which colonial girls couldn't go without. But...oh Lordy, I can hear it now. "I'm not paying twenty bucks for a hat and some trinkets," is what Daddy always said. Sure, Dad, let me pay FORTY bucks for them now that they're all retired! I WILL get a sunbonnet for Kirsten though, if I have to cut and sell my hair to do it! Yuck, I doubt anyone would want it, LOL. Luckily Z's accessories are not that insanely expensive, and I was thus able to get a set.
half-moon sleeping by the creeks...ahem, I love how this shade of orange looks with Z's coloring, and I also love how it matches the camera on her shirt.
infinity scarf, but in truth it's two loops of striped fabric that join in the back with Velcro.
the same shape all around? Z's hat is not. It has a gather in the back, which I like as it keeps this hat from looking like just another shapeless sock hat.
Of course no American Girl doll is complete without a book, and indeed my girl came with hers.
kimchi-jjigae. Of course there's probably more to Z than kimchi and American Girl dolls, but if I stop to read the rest of the book and then give y'all a full run-down of the book we'll be here all night. It just hasn't caught my attention like the historical books have. And for that matter, I even enjoyed Gabriela Speaks Out and Nicki better, and I haven't even read all of either of those books yet! I liked Gabby right from the beginning, but Gabriela Speaks Out cemented my fondness for her. As for Nicki...I must confess that reading that book completely changed my views on Nicki Fleming, who I once dismissed as "ordinary." Oh well, just because I have the book doesn't mean that I can't make up my own backstory about Z! Barb the Evil Genius suggested that I make Z a budding storm chaser, hungry to follow in her parents' footsteps, and I may indeed go that route. Lovely idea, Miss Barb! I could also do some sort of Dante's Peak rehash, which isn't as outlandish as it might sound (I now issue a tangent warning). Z's home base in Seattle is just a stone's throw from Mount Rainier, a volcano larger and potentially more dangerous than Mount St. Helens. Scientists think that if Mount Rainier were to erupt with the same force Mount St. Helens did, then the resulting lahars would create a disaster comparable to the incident at Armero, Columbia in 1985. Now that's a lovely thought, innut??? All of Seattle wiped out...except for a thirteen-year-old girl with her camera, the sole survivor...okay, I doubt I'd make a story that dark. My point is that the possibilities for a decent backstory are endless. I still wish the book caught my attention a bit more, but then again I am not the book's target audience!
I wish I could get a group picture of all my American Girls together, but with six of them plus Rael, Sadie, Xenia, and Ana Ming I'd need a staircase or something of that stripe. So instead of cobbling together a group pic I'll just wrap up Z's review and move on.
*Root job is pathetic compared to past American Girl wigs. The hair looks nice and feels nice, but it is not as thick as it could/should/would have been on an older doll.
*Stiff in the joints, though I predict these will loosen up with time.
*...I can't think of anything else bad!
*Very cute, but then all American Girl dolls are.
*I've got a new face mold!
*Outfit and accessories are well-made and can be mixed and matched around.
*Can wear other American Girl outfits, but that should come as no surprise (LOL).
*...I can't think of anything else good!
Don't get me wrong, Z is a cute doll with the American Girl aesthetic intact, but she's not as high-quality as my older AG dolls or a Carpatina doll. She's...just another doll, basically. A lot of collectors would cite my doll's permapanties body as the most obvious symptom of American Girl's diminished quality, but I can't say that this attribute bugs me much. I can see situations where such a body would be a pain in the neck, but my biggest reservation with Z is that hair. It's very thin, and the fibers do not feel like kanekelon, the stuff that my older dolls have. It feels more like modacrylic, which doesn't feel or look as nice as kanekelon does. But worse than that, the rooting in the back is horrid. It's nothing like past wigs that were meant to have parts. The rest of Z is fine. Her joints are nice and tight so she can hold a pose without toppling over (Samantha and Denise are VERY loose), and her vinyl is free of scuffs and paint marks. Plus, NEW HEAD MOLD!!! Or a new one for me, at least; the only one I had before was the classic mold. Z's outfit is eclectic, colorful, and pretty conservative (that short skirt might bother some parents), and the pieces can be mixed and matched around quite a bit (always a plus). So there are good things to be said about Z, and the good things outnumber the bad, but she still is not the doll she could have been.
Sweeping change of subject now, time to segue into some random stuff. I'll start with my new mini doll. LOL, I've had a fun summer with these American Girls, haven't I??? Given my fondness for Gabby I could've gotten a mini version of her, or pretty Saige Copeland with her red hair and blue dress, but...I didn't pick either of them. I chose Luciana Vega instead.
Now that Z and Luciana are taken care of, I want to draw attention briefly to Kirsten, and to some recent items that I've bought for her. On the Banks of Plum Creek would call these items "boughten," since they're sort of store-bought. They're handmade, but I bought them, thus...boughten! Here's Kirsten's new underthings that I briefly mentioned above.
Doll Up My Doll. I'm pretty sure pioneer underthings didn't tie with satin ribbons, but they won't show under Kirsten's dress so who cares! The petticoat is trimmed with lace...
Stitchified for You instead.
ties on the side and looks super cute, and I think Caroline's bonnet did too. As an aside, Kirsten has been discontinued for close to ten years now, and about two months ago (August 7th, to be exact) I wondered when I'd run into a little girl who was too young to know who Kirsten was. Wouldn't y'all know, the very next day I ran into a child at the library who'd just turned ten. She was familiar with Addy and Tenney, with Samantha and Gabriela and Nicki, but when I asked her if she'd seen my Kirsten doll she stared at me and asked "Who's Kirsten???" LOL, poor Kirsten! I think it's time she got a BeForever release, though she'd probably end up being a Costco exclusive like BeForever Molly did. For the record, Costco Molly is adorable just like my old Molly is.
Oops, I forgot to show y'all how Kirsten looks with that new cookset that I've got!
That takes care of Kirsten, so now let's take a brief look at Samantha, who also got something new during the summer. This is the "Buster Brown" dress that she wore in Samantha Learns a Lesson.
Alrighty, I think I've talked enough. Z Yang has some frustrating hiccups in quality, but I'm glad to have her along for the ride. I've got plans for my historicals in the future too, if I can somehow obtain their school desks and accessories. But for now, I'm going to give y'all a taste of what Z is wearing for Halloween.