ARC Review: The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby

Book cover for The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Fashion Committee
Author: Susan Juby
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): “The Fashion Committee is another winner by one of my all time favorite authors.”–Meg Cabot, New York Timesbestselling author of the The Princess Diaries and Mediator series

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.

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The Fashion Committee is a story about a fashion competition that had so much potential. The concept is so original, but I found the main characters to be annoying and unrealistic. I also didn’t enjoy the excessive use of random French words and the main character’s habit of referring to herself in the third person. I’m a bit disappointed with this one, but I would still recommend it to those with a strong interest in fashion.

This book has a super unique concept that really interested me. Basically, there is a high-stakes fashion competition, and the winner receives free admission into an elite arts school. Of the two main characters, one is fashion obsessed and the other has no interest in the fashion industry. I found these two contrasting voices so enjoyable to read, since both candidates for the scholarship have such different motives. This book does an excellent job of demonstrating the fashion design process, and even contains some amazing drawings!

One of my issues with this book is the way the main characters acted. First of all, there’s Charlie. She honestly sounded more like an old woman than a teenager to me, and I just couldn’t relate to her. John was better, but his character really bothered me. I get that the scholarship is his only shot at getting into his dream school, but I didn’t like the way he posed as a fashion student. I would have been fine with it if he did all the fashion work himself, but he actually gets someone else to help him out. His dishonesty annoyed me, and I found it hard to root for him.

Another aspect of this story that I didn’t enjoy so much is the way it’s written. Charlie is trying hard to learn French since it is the language that her favourite designers speak, so she throws some French vocabulary into her sentences. I found this to be fun and quirky at first, but after a while, seeing French words in every other sentence got distracting and annoying. Also, when Charlie is writing in her journal, she often refers to herself in the third person. This confused me for a while, since she kept switching from first to third person.

The Fashion Committee is a book about a high-stakes fashion competition that I wish I could have loved. The main characters annoyed me, and the constant French vocabulary thrown in got old. However, if you are really interested in fashion, you would enjoy this book.

5 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby

  1. Jaime Lynn says:

    I am not much of a fashion person. Put it this way… my tank top and shorts wearing husband has to help me pick out my clothes if I have to wear anything other than my scrubs. I like the competition aspect of it, but I think I would just be bored with this one. I do like the cover, though!

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