Hi, this is best in a hobby category, but may overlap with "sewing for dolls" since there are some doll comparisons on a thread about American Girl (AG). But I wanted to compare 3 dolls in a consumer-type review.
As mother of a sweet 6-yr-old, I took great care to choose a doll for both of us to enjoy since I get to sew and DD gets to play with her. I read tons of reviews. I spent time with AG dolls owned by a friend. I finally purchased two: a ToysRUs Journey Girls doll, and also a Mme Alexander Girlz doll from Costco (each of these was $30). My priorities were durable, sweet face, same dimensions as AG or close, good value etc.
My verdict: No. 1 goes to ToysRUs Journey Girls. Best hair texture (rooted). Prettiest eyes (don't close). Pretty faces and the loveliest of all the African-American and Asian choices. Body soft below chest as in MMe Alexander - good appearance with sleeveless or open necklines etc. Good durable construction.
The other two brands each have good things to recommend. AG has wig hair that is very good for styling, eyes that close, and body soft below neck so that transition does show with open neck or sleeveless clothes. Mme Alexander (the Girlz line, and also the Friends line) dolls have eyes that close, prettier faces than AG in my own opinion, and the body soft below chest. Mme A has hair problems, though. The hair is the weakest point for Mme A dolls - rooted and lovely, but some have hair so delicate that it frizzes or mats together with play, and should really be gently combed out with detangler then kept in a braid.
Conclusion: Mme A was my #2 choice because of price, pretty face, body style. We're being careful with the hair and keep it braided, and most of all my DD loves her. But AG although overpriced does have more durable hair, so almost a tie for 2d place.
I never enjoyed dolls as much when a child, outgrew babies and thought Barbie intimidating. I'd have enjoyed this new 18" size - so, as a mom, I'm having more fun with dolls than when a girl! Funny, I really am a professional person - must keep this under wraps!