Review: The Fashion Committee, Susan Juby

With a blurb advertising this book as a “Project Runway” meets “I’ll Give You The Sun”, The Fashion Committee definitely had my attention from the beginning. Unfortunately, with these kind of expectations right from the start, I felt a bit disappointed with what this book delivered. I had a lot of fun reading it, that’s for sure, but I think I expected maybe too much from it. I‘ll Give You The Sun is, after all, one of my favorite books of all times.

A STORY ABOUT A PASSION FOR FASHION

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The Fashion Committee is a story about Charlie Dean, a teenager living and breathing fashion every single second. John Thomas-Smith, on the contrary, does not care at all about it, yet he’ll find himself against her in a fashion competition, in order to win a scholarship to a very private, very hyped and very good private art high school. This synopsis made me eager to get started, for so many reasons, but most of it all, because it seemed to highlight before anything else, passion. Goals. Dreams of both of these teenagers matching up against reality. If I’m being honest, you know I am reading a lot of contemporary stories, but it was so, so refreshing to actually read a contemporary that focused on this passion. Obviously, there were dramas, love, fights and a whole lot of other dramas aside from this fashion competition, but this was the heart of the book, and boy, it felt GOOD to actually tackle this way such a subject with no big love story or anything overshadowing it.

A LACK OF CONNECTION TO THE CHARACTERS

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Unfortunately, I think what made this book go from very good to good, were the characters’ voices. Told from two different point of views, the story takes us alternatively from Charlie’s life and story to John’s; and both of their narrative felt, for me, a bit hard to get into.
If both are told from a witty, fun and sometimes a bit heart-wrenching point of view, Charlie’s narrative kind of had me confused and annoyed more than once because of the many French words constantly appearing here and there because well, that’s how fashion people talk, or at least that’s what she wanted to let us know this way. If you don’t know this, I am French so the words did not slow down my reading or made me stop to understand what she was saying, but still, I found that it kind of altered the reading experience and cut the reading rhythm. If, for sure, it made Charlie’s voice quite unique, I was something that quite bothered me. I found myself more drawn to John’s part of the story and his struggles – even if I have to admit that I did not agree on his behaviour many of the times -, but unfortunately, both characters kind of failed to make me connect with them so much. I cared about what happened to them but I did not felt as invested as I found have liked in their destiny.
If there is something I appreciated, though, it’s how they both evolved through the story. At the beginning, both characters appear to be very judgmental and set in their ways, but as the competition goes on, they both get more open-minded and find out that there is more to the world and to the people around them than what they first see. This definitely was something I appreciated a lot.

MORE THAN A LIGHT CONTEMPORARY

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Another positive point in this story is how it’s not, at all, what it appears to be. I already had labeled it a “light” contemporary, given the synopsis, but I had it all wrong. Was it fun to read? Yes, a lot. But it also dealt with interesting, deeper issues, especially with Charlie’s dad and his addiction struggles, violence, growing up too fast ; but also on John’s side, on doing what’s right, notions of right and wrong, loving and losing. I really appreciated how the author choose to shine a light on this as well, making this book a bit more than just a light story.

OVERALL

The Fashion Committee definitely is a book driven by the characters’ passion, one that keeps them alive, one that makes them go on and on, even do crazy things at times. If I really appreciated this focus, unfortunately it won’t be a memorable book for me. Still, if you’re looking for a fun, quick and certainly passionate story, you might want to try out this one.

Final rating:  3 drops!

Thanks to NetGalley and Viking Books for Young Readers for the digital ARC of this book. This did not, in any way affect my opinion on this.

 Do you want to read The Fashion Committee? Why, or why not? Share your thoughts in comments!


Susan Juby, The Fashion Committee,  Published by Viking Books For Young Readers, May 23rd 2016.

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Project Runway meets I’ll Give You the Sun in the story of a girl, a boy, and the fashion competition that could change both of their lives.

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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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

29 thoughts on “Review: The Fashion Committee, Susan Juby

  1. Great review for this book Marie, I’m just sorry you didn’t enjoy it more and it didn’t I’ve up to all your expectations. I’ll admit when I saw the ‘Project Runway meets I’ll Give You the Sun’ tagline I was excited as well, because I loved I’ll Give You the Sun, but then I read your second sentence and felt a little letdown myself. It does sound like this book dealt with some important and interesting issues but yeah if you couldn’t connect with the characters that does kind of put a damper on things doesn’t it?
    Still at least there were parts of this book you enjoyed right? Three stars is still a good review overall! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much, Beth! Taglines can be cruel at times, I wish they weren’t there, they always set up some kind of expectations ahah.
      Yeah definitely! If I had a hard time connecting with the characters, I still had fun reading the whole thing overall and wanted to know how it would end 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well I’m not really into fashion, but this sounds great! I mean, I HATE when I can’t connect to the characters because for me, that’s the WORST thing that can happen. (Characters are very important to me haha.) But at least they developed and changed, right? 😛 Great review, Marie! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES, characters are SO important to me as well, they are almost everything ❤ ❤ Yes, thankfully they developed and changed from beginning to end and I liked that evolution for sure 🙂 Thank you so much for your commetn ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awwww, its a shame it was a bit of a disappointment! I hadn’t heard of this one but the ‘I’ll Give You the Sun’ in the sypnopsis had my ears perking up hahaha!I love the review and I completely get what you mean in everything! I haven’t encountered the specifics to this story but I’ve definitely had it happen when certain structures of the reading have everything feeling a little unrhythmic and choppy – plus, unconnectable characters can feel so disappointing! I’m glad you still did enjoy it to some degree though – lovely review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahh I was so excited when I heard of this as well due to the I’ll Give You the Sun reference as well! It’s too bad this doesn’t truly live up to it ahah, it sounds like it had some good elements, but it could’ve been so much better! 🙃 Love the review as always! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well…comparing something to I’ll Give You The Sun is dangerous ahah – at least, from my point of view. I loved this book so much, obviously my expectations were way too high ahah. 🙂
      Thank you so much!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess so. It’s hard to resist…I mean, whenever I see my favorite books mentioned, I can’t help but be curious about the book. THEY ARE CRUEL with their blurbs ahah.

        Like

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