Charlotte Cuts it Out by K.A. Barson is an entertaining and high-stakes look inside the world of cosmetology. I loved reading about the book’s style competition, and the main character truly transforms as she learns to cooperate with others. This one is also set in a vocational school, and I enjoyed reading about the mayhem of planning for the competition. Those looking for a unique contemporary with style at its centre will enjoy this one.Title: Charlotte Cuts it Out
Author: K.A. Barson
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Lydia and I were in eighth grade when we came up with our Grand Plan to go to cosmetology school and get jobs to build our clientele while we earned business degrees. Then we’d open our own salon . . .
Now Charlotte and Lydia are juniors, in a Cosmetology Arts program where they’ll get on-the-job training and college credits at the same time. The Grand Plan is right on schedule. Which means it’s time for Step Two: Win the Winter Style Showcase, where Cos Arts and Fashion Design teams team up to dazzle the judges with their skills. Charlotte is sure that she and Lydia have it locked up—so sure, in fact, that she makes a life-changing bet with her mother, who wants her to give up cos for college.
And that’s when things start going off the rails.
As the clock ticks down to the night of the Showcase, Charlotte has her hands full. Design divas. Models who refuse to be styled. Unexpectedly stiff competition. And then, worst of all, Lydia—her BFF and Partner in Cos—turns out to have a slightly different Grand Plan . .
Review: Charlotte Cuts It Out by K.A. Barson
For cosmetology student Charlotte, winning her school’s Winter Style Showcase is the first step to her perfect future, where she will eventually go to business school and open a salon with her best friend. However, when Lydia suddenly drops out of cosmetology and Charlotte’s mother starts pushing her on a different path, Charlotte must work harder than ever to prove herself and win the competition. Winning is easier said than done, and along the way, she faces several obstacles and confronts some harsh truths about herself as well.
❀ Flawed Main Character
Charlotte is a flawed character, who may not be the most likeable at first, but I enjoyed reading about her journey. At the beginning of the book, she likes things to go according to her plan, and she can be very controlling. However, as Charlotte prepares for the school’s showcase, she learns about the value of teamwork and listening to others’ ideas. I especially enjoyed how her character is not one-dimensional, and even though she is self-centred, she also has a big heart and is incredibly driven. Even though her mom doesn’t think cosmetology is a viable career, Charlotte sticks with it and works hard to prove her wrong.
❀ Vocational School Setting
One of my favourite parts about the book is its setting of a vocational school. I have never seen this in a book before, and I loved reading about the Winter Style Showcase and all the work that goes into it. The idea of having all the different trades come together to make the show possible, from fashion design to culinary arts, is so interesting, and the the descriptions of the students’ preparations are detailed. I always love competition in books, but I especially enjoyed the realism in this one.
❀ An Entertaining Story
Charlotte Cuts it Out by K.A. Barson is an entertaining story about teamwork and what happens when life doesn’t go according to plan. I enjoyed the main character’s transformation, and the descriptions of her preparations for the school’s competition are realistic and detailed. Fans of Project Runway and books about competition will definitely enjoy this one.