The new year meant the release of Joss Kendrick, American Girl's 18th Girl of the Year (and 20th doll in the line overall), and so I decided to take a look back at all of the Girls of the Year!
The first Girl of the Year doll was Lindsey Bergman. She was the Girl of the Year for 2001, yet she was released on September 1, 2001 and retired on December 31, 2002. Lindsey was a troublemaker and trumpet player that lived in Chicago, Illinois. Lindsey's story involved her trying to make a difference in people's lives- like trying to get her two teachers together, adding smiley-face stickers to trash cans or sticking up to bullies. Ultimately, Lindsey's plans fail more than they succeed, but she learns from her Uncle Bernie that she should still be herself, and try to help out in a more respectful way. Lindsey had one book written by Chryssa Atkinson and her collection was small, consisting of only her, a laptop and a scooter.
The second Girl of the Year doll was Kailey Hopkins. She was the Girl of the Year for 2003, but she was released on July 1, 2003 and retired on July 1, 2004. Kailey was a beach girl who lived in Pasadena, California. Her story revolved around her efforts to save the California tide pools she loved from development. Kailey then learns that with the help of others, anyone can make a difference. Kailey's one book was written by Amy Goldman Koss, and her collection was a bit bigger than Lindsey's. She was the first Girl of the Year to have extra clothing, since she had a Wet Suit and Bikini set.
The third Girl of the Year doll was Marisol Luna. She was the Girl of the Year for 2005 (the year I was born), but she was released on December 27, 2004 and retired on December 15, 2005, when she sold out. Marisol was a dancer who's life changed when her parents decided to move from the Chicago city to the suburban Des Plaines, a town with no dance school. Throughout her book written by Gary Soto, she learned to accept the change and tried to find a way to keep on dancing. Her collection was the first to contain "big" items, Marisol's Dance Trunk and Marisol's Spotlight Stage. She was also the first doll to have a Starter Collection in addition to a Whole World collection, and the first Latina Girl of the Year (effectively being the first Girl of the Year of color as well)
The fourth Girl of the Year doll was Jess McConnell. She was the Girl of the Year for 2006, but she was released on December 26, 2005 and retired on December 31, 2006. Jess was a girl with an interest in soccer and guitar playing from Michigan, but she was taken with her archaeologist parents to Belize. There, she met a local girl named Sarita, and the two of them went on a journey that led Jess to discover an ancient ruin- and more about herself. Her book was written by Mary Casanova, an author who would eventually return for 3 more GOTY series. Jess was the first Girl of the Year to have pajamas, and she was the first part-Asian Girl of the Year and the first mixed-race Girl of the Year, since she is part Japanese, Scottish and Irish. She was also the first doll to carry the label "Girl of the Year", and the first to have a middle name (which Chrissa and Joss also had). She debuted the Jess face mold.
The fifth Girl of the Year doll was Nicki Fleming. She was the Girl of the Year 2007, and was the first doll to release on January 1, a tradition kept up ever since. Nicki lived on her family's ranch outside Denver, Colorado and was interested in many activities, including skiing and horseback riding. She struggled with taking on too many challenges and not being able to say "no", and this led to her training a service dog named Sprocket while her mom was pregnant with twins. Over time, she falls in love with Sprocket, and her second book, Thanks to Nicki, was mainly about her feelings about letting him go. She was the first Girl of the Year to have two books, which were both written by Ann Howard Creel. Nicki's big item was her horse, Jackson. She sold out on December 13, 2007.
The sixth Girl of the Year was Mia St. Clair. She was the Girl of the Year for 2008, released on January 1, 2008 and sold out on December 17, 2008. Mia lived in upstate New York and despite being in a family full of hockey-playing brothers, she loved to ice skate. Her life changed when a former Olympian, Emma Schubert, moved to her ice skating rink and became her coach. Mia then is pushed out of her comfort zone in the skating department, skating solos and going to Regionals for the first time, and learns to believe in herself. Mia's two books were written by Laurence Yep, who later wrote Isabelle's books. Mia also had her own freckle pattern and was the only Girl of the Year to have her own PC game, Mia Goes for Great.
The seventh Girl of the Year was Chrissa Maxwell. She was the Girl of the Year for 2009, released on January 1, 2009 and retired on Christmas Eve 2009, when she sold out. Chrissa was a swimmer and crafter who originally lived in Iowa, but her life changed when she moved to the fictional town of Edgewater, Minnesota. At her new school, she had to deal with bullying from a group of mean girls called the 'Mean Bees'. But she did make some new friends, and she eventually found a way to take a stand against bullying. Her 2 books were written by Mary Casanova, who previously wrote Jess's books, and she was the first Girl of the Year to have a movie, Chrissa Stands Strong, where she was played by Sammi Hanratty, a regular guest star on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Her collection also brought about two companion dolls.