Review: Charlotte Cuts it Out by K.A. Barson

Review: Charlotte Cuts it Out by K.A. Barson

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.

Review: Charlotte Cuts it Out by K.A. BarsonTitle: Charlotte Cuts it Out
Author: K.A. Barson
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Rating: four-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 . .

Amazon “Book

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.

About K.A. Barson

K.A. Barson

K.A. Barson graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She and her husband live in Jackson, Michigan, surrounded by kids, grandkids, unruly dogs, and too many pairs of shoes.

11 thoughts on “Review: Charlotte Cuts it Out by K.A. Barson

  1. Sam@WLABB says:

    The fact that this is set in a VoTech school setting caught me interest. I cannot think of any experiences I have had with that and I read tons of YA.

  2. Deanna (A Novel Glimpse) says:

    I loved reading your review for this one. I felt like I got a good idea about the character and her journey. I think I would have identified with her want to control, and it’s great she learned to move past that. I also really love the idea of this involving tech school. That’s such an important pathway for learning and it doesn’t show up much (or ever) in books. Great review!

  3. Angela says:

    I like that Charlotte has set this goal for herself and is willing to work for it! I always love when a character goes through a transformation, too.

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