The Fashion Committee

The Fashion Committee

A Novel of Art, Crime, and Applied Design

Book - 2017
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Charlie Dean and John Thomas-Smith are really different, but they share one thing in common: both are gunning for a scholarship to the private art high school that could make all their dreams come true. And whoever wins the fashion competition will win the scholarship.
Publisher: [Toronto] :, Penguin Teen,, 2017
ISBN: 9780670067602
Characteristics: 305 pages :,illustrations


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I have loved the humour in Nanaimo based Susan Juby’s other young adult and adult novels, so I eagerly looked forward to reading her newest title, The Fashion Committee. The book did not disappoint. On the surface the plot line might sound like it’s a light or superficial story, as two teens are competing in the same fashion competition, to get a spot in a coveted art school. However, there is a depth to the writing and the characters that draws you into the many challenges each individual faces. This is excellent realistic fiction for teens or adults. References to local spots in BC are fun too. (Submitted by Kristen)

Mar 11, 2018

This book was "meh". It's not the worst thing I have ever read, seeing as I finished it, but I finish a lot of books, so I don't know how much you should weigh in that factor.

The book has two somewhat unlikable characters, one whom I hated from the start and got sick of by the end (Charlie) and one I liked and was rooting for at the beginning but hated by the end (John). I picked up this book sort of expecting the two of them to clash, but they barely ever talk to each other. I'm questioning the author's choice of dual perspective. Since John and Charlie never interact, the entire book is sort of one person's perspective acting as a break in the other's story. The entire premise of the fashion show being a competition between the two of them seems to be discarded partway through the book.

I also felt as if I was being cheated of the individual character backgrounds. Charlie and John both have rich backstories I wish could have been developed more. Not to mention, the journal-style narration kind of limited our understanding of their backgrounds. It's a shame. If I'd known more about them I might have hated the characters less.

I did love the author's description of Green Pastures' School for the Arts (or whatever the hell the school is called). She was really good at making us empathetic to the characters... well, most of the time. I enjoyed the first 75% of the book for what it was: more contrived YA fiction with exaggerated characters. It wasn't one hundred percent a waste of my time. And from what I've heard, other people have enjoyed it a lot, so take my words with a grain of salt. I just think you could do better.

ontherideau Aug 09, 2017

A fashionable fabrication with many threads. You don't have to be a teen to enjoy this tale.

As someone who likes textiles and fashion, I found this book to be quite enjoyable. The characters were unique, without being over the top. It is a very refreshing book that many people can really like regardless if they like fashion or not.
The story follows though between two protagonists: Charlie Dean, a sixteen years old girl who has been obsessed with fashion since she was a young child and John Thomas Smith (JTS) a guy who specializes in metalwork. They both participate in a fashion contest where the winner is guaranteed a scholarship to a very prestigious arts school. Following this dual perspective of two different people makes a very interesting narrative story as their opinions clash and tension to win the contest becomes higher.
What I like about the book is that it is a solid blend between the inner workings of fashion, friendship, some romance, family and acceptance for everyone. Both Charlie Dean and JTS have their fair share of big flaws and faults in the story but I believe this is what makes them more realistic. Not everyone goes their way, and slowly the consequences of their actions catch up as well. The pacing was alright , characters are interesting and the plot is fun to read. What I don't like about the book is that I wish we could of gotten more exposure to some other characters like John's friends, Charlie Dean's family, the contestants and more. More exposure would have led to better understanding for the two main characters. Also the ending was a bit rushed, and it left a few things open ended.
This book has a good writing quality for its intended age group. There is slight foreshadowing, the characters were good and had interesting traits that you wouldn't expect on first impression, and the conclusion for me was overall satisfying.
-From R.D.

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