cover image The Fashion Committee

The Fashion Committee

Susan Juby. Viking, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-451-46878-9

Readers don’t need to be fashionistas to appreciate the dilemmas of Charlene “Charlie” Dean and John Thomas-Smith as they prepare for a garment design competition, hoping to win a scholarship to a prestigious fine arts high school. Charlie knows just about everything there is to know about fashion design; immersing herself in it is a welcome escape from life with a drug-addicted father and his string of sketchy girlfriends. John, a classmate, couldn’t care less about the clothes, but is desperate to get into the school, and the contest is his last chance. As the rivals furiously brainstorm ideas, search for models, betray friends, and misplace their priorities in a race to win, they undergo significant changes that profoundly alter their outlooks. Charlie and John’s voices ring clear in a series of fashion diary entries (a requirement of the contest), reflecting their personalities, attitudes, and inner conflicts. Filled with hilarious and tragic moments alike, Juby’s (The Truth Commission) vibrant novel thoroughly explores the hearts, souls, and minds of two very different teens. Ages 12–up. Agent: Hilary McMahon, Westwood Creative Artists. (May)