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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Charlie Dean is a style-obsessed girl who eats, sleeps, and breathes fashion. John Thomas-Smith is a boy who forges metal sculptures in his garage and couldn’t care less about clothes. Both are gunning for a scholarship to the private art high school that could make all their dreams come true. Whoever wins the fashion competition will win the scholarship—and only one can win. Told in the alternating voices of Charlie’s and John’s journals, this hilarious and poignant YA novel perfectly captures what it’s like to have an artistic drive so fierce that nothing—not your dad’s girlfriend’s drug-addicted ex-boyfriend, a soul-crushing job at Salad Stop, or being charged with a teensy bit of kidnapping—can stand in your way. With black and white art custom-created by fashion and beauty illustrator Soleil Ignacio, the book is a collector’s item, perfect for anyone with a passion for fashion.…

The Fashion Committee

by Susan Juby

Overall Book Review:

Known for her contemporary fiction laced with humor, YA author Susan Juby continues her comedic streak in The Fashion Committee.

Told in first person dual narrative through journal entries, teens Charlie Dean and John Thomas-Smith fill readers in on their quest to win a scholarship to an ultra-elite art school via a fashion competition. While Charlie truly has a passion for fashion, John despises everything the fashion world stands for but is eager to attend the art school to further his welding skills. 

Charlie is fiercely optimistic despite her family circumstances while on the other hand, John is full of indignation towards pretty much everyone and everything. Although they differ in attitude, they are rather like two sides of the same coin, their voices being comparatively similar. With most of the narrative detailing how people look and what they are wearing, the depictions seem to drone on, thus decelerating the pace of the story, but as it is a novel all about fashion, some readers may savor the over-detail to style.

It isn’t all vogue with comedic banter; there are some grittier elements to this teenage tale (please see content review below).  While most of the narrative is playful and geared towards a tween audience, because of the addition of more mature subjects, it may be more suitable for older teens.

If you’re a fan of Meg Cabot or the Shopaholic series by Sophia Kinsella, then you’ll probably enjoy the writing style of Susan Juby. 

Review of an Advance Reader’s Edition

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Viking Books for Young Readers

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 15 religious exclamations; 25 mild obscenities; 5 religious profanities; 6 derogatory name; 23 scatological words; 24 anatomical terms; 4 f-words. (Note: A few obscenities in anagram form, not tallied.)

Violence/Gore: Implication of physical fight; few jokes of violence (about 5); report of aggressive dog biting; report of threatening behavior; report of parent’s suicide by drug overdose; mention of violence in a movie; extended scene (about 1 page) report of parent receiving a beating over a drug debt, receives injuries; character has injuries inflicted upon them by their significant other; character shoved with force;  extended scene (about 2 pages) man (high on drugs) attacks two women causing injuries; extended scene (about 1 page) woman stops man (high on drugs) from attacking another woman, mention of injuries, man is bound and gagged (somewhat comical); adult overdoses on drugs, results in unconsciousness; teen arrested for kidnapping. 

Sex/Nudity: Parent dates/brings significant other(s) over to spend the night; teens date; report of past romance; homosexual reference; few instances of teens flirting (heterosexual and homosexual);  sexual references (10+); several (11+) cases of adults and teens kissing one another/romantic touches/hand holding; implication of sexual activity among teens; extended scene (about 1 page) teens kiss heavily, remove clothes, touch each other in areas covered by bathing suit, have sex (no description); mention of infidelity/cheating; boyfriend cheats on girlfriend; the word “sexy” is used to describe someone/something; store and band have the word “sex” in their names; implication of teens having sex as they lay in bed with one another; teen female are attracted to one another, report of dating.

Mature Subject Matter:

Drug addiction, domestic abuse, suicide of parent, unstable parent/home life, teen sex.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Many references/use of drug(s) and addiction/parent addicted to drugs; mention of alcohol/liquor store; teen drinks; adult smokes; adult overdoses on drugs, results in unconsciousness; mention of parent’s suicide by drug overdose.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I appreciate books of all genres, but my main squeeze is fiction. Depending on my mood it could be romance or suspense; lately I’ve been courting fantasy. When I don’t have my nose in a book, I am locating tasty paleo recipes, writing in-coherent poetry, and crafting with paper.