The Fashion Committee by Susan JubyThe Fashion Committee by Susan Juby

The Fashion Committee

bySusan Juby

Hardcover | May 23, 2017

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Project Runway meets I'll Give You the Sun in a hilarious and surprising he-said, she-said story about a fashion competition that will change both of their lives, from acclaimed author, Susan Juby.

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. 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. Told in the alternating voices of Charlie's and John's fashion journals which they're required to keep for the contest, this hilarious and poignant tale perfectly captures what it's like to have an artistic passion 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.
SUSAN JUBY has written a number of acclaimed novels for teenagers and adults, including the bestselling Alice, I Think, a Rolling Stone Best Top 40 Novel and the first of her Alice MacLeod trilogy, which was made into a successful television series. She is also the author of a memor, Nice Recovery, and the adult comic novel The Woefiel...
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Title:The Fashion CommitteeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.7 × 1.08 inPublished:May 23, 2017Publisher:PRH Canada Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0670067601

ISBN - 13:9780670067602

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Canadian Project Runway? Yes please! This book started off as your typical, light contemporary novel. It was exactly what I was expecting and that was fine. However, part-way through the story the characters were revealed more and more and their backstory started coming out. They were dealing with drug addicted parents, self-esteem issues and poverty. It went deeper than I had anticipated but not so deep that when you are finished with the book you feel completely drained and depressed. This book is a dual perspective of two people trying to get into an arts school by winning a fashion show. Our first perspective is from Charlie (short for Charlene) is a very eccentric character. She is very passionate, borderline obsessed with fashion. She is constantly trying to build herself up and gear up for her life in the fashion world. This, of course, means she is learning very questionable French from Google Language. She dropped a lot of random French through-out the book and the funny thing was is that I didn't find it distracting. Her fit her oddball character and her desperation for fitting into the fashion world. Making a name for herself. I thought Charlie was wonderful and I liked that she really wasn't a mean person at all. Competitive, yes - mean, no. The other character along on this journey is John. He's got the bad boy vibe going - though he doesn't come from a stereotypical broken home. He has loving supportive grandparents that would do anything for him. However, he still has a chip on his shoulder. He's resentful, selfish, and a bit of a jerk. I have no idea how the author made me like this character but she did. John just seemed authentic. He's young and makes rash and selfish decisions - that makes sense to me. He's not a horrible person - just someone trying to figure themselves out and making some poor decisions along the way. I didn't find him as complex or interesting of a character as Charlie but it was still interesting watching his part of the story unfold. The side characters were mostly great in this one. I was drawn to Mischa the most and my heart ached many times for that woman. She just seemed so lost and broken and I wanted it all to be ok for her in the end. I felt her character was very well-written - even if a few times Mischa and Charlie were in some more unrealistic situations. The last thing that I adored about this book is that it's Canadian. I didn't notice that when I first picked it up but there are many references to Canada, so you pick up on that the author must be from there pretty quickly. I mean, is it wrong to get happy over a Tim Horton's reference or two? Great book that has some more mature themes than it first presents itself. I guess this probably falls somewhere between light contemporary and realistic contemporary but the author made it work. I recommend checking this out if it sounds appealing at all.
Date published: 2017-07-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fashion Committee Charlie Dean’s a standout character with her plucky optimism, a few more illustrations would have been welcome, but mostly this was just an enjoyable balance of serious and fun. #plumreview I received this book through a giveaway.
Date published: 2017-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This Book Wore It Best Who hasn't been waiting for the young adult Devil Wears Prada? Susan Juby delivers it with a story about a teen girl who adores fashion and a metalworking boy who criticizes the world (including the world of fashion) in a fashion competition to win a scholarship to a top private art school and the struggles of their personal relationships in doing so. Both want it and both are willing to push the extremes of fashion, their relationships and the law to win it.
Date published: 2017-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incroyable!!! Haute Couture meets Cynicism I read “The Fashion Committee” in nearly one day and it deserved every second of the reading. The story is told in alternating first-person diary entries of two students vying for a scholarship to an exclusive and private art school’s (Green Pastures) fashion program: Charlene “Charlie” Dean, an optimist who eats, breathes, sleeps and wakes fashion and John Thomas-Smith, a metalworker who finds it easier to be aggravated by the worst of people and sees fashion as frivolous, vapid and inconsequential. But the scholarship is dependent on a winning garment, a winning look, and the winning performance in a winner-takes-all fashion show. Clear the runway; war on the floor! Award winning and acclaimed author, Susan Juby manages to consider fashion and her characters from a multitude of angles and perspectives and not just from her main characters, but from a fully-realized and very real cast of characters who all seem to have their own stories, their own motivations, their own views and their own experiences. It becomes clear that each character is far beyond what they wear – that the novel hits on how we present ourselves to the world, how we want to present ourselves, how we’re viewed, our identities and how we manufacture (or fail to) the people we want to be. The characters are both hilarious and heartbreaking – Charlie choosing beauty and fashion to overcome a traumatic past involving parents who are addicts and who does so almost by sheer force of will, a reliance on misused French, and her belief that stitch by stitch she can sew a better life and world – and John through a harsh, very relatable criticism of people’s materialism that gives him an armor to wear as he navigates life and his lack of opportunities to improve it. Susan Juby navigates this world, these characters, and much larger issues with subtlety, humor, thoughtfulness, intelligence and a large amount of emotional honesty and bravery while having made her novel a page-turner that had me awake until 4 am unable to put it down. Susan knows, understand and loves her characters and her novel is compelling. When reading this book, I kept a notepad nearby to look things up later but never once felt compelled to stop reading to actually look anything up until I was done. The book grabbed and held my attention entirely. If you love fashion, like fashion, are ambivalent to, or even hate fashion – this is a novel with something for you. The love of and criticism of the fashion industry will delight and have you laughing out loud. If you love or hate shows like Project Runway, personal dramas, suspense, crime, scandals, love triangles – this is a novel for you! And, on the off chance you are not a reader, this book is CHIC CHIC CHIC, beautifully designed, beautifully written, and you will look great carrying it around, placing it on the edge of coffee shop tables, stylishly holding it in your arms as you do some window shopping or grab a small bite with a friend in a quaint café. Seriously, this is the accessory you want and need to complete your look (although you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice not reading every silky, velvety word).
Date published: 2017-05-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book! SPOILER ALERT The Fashion Committee was a little tough to start, but definitely pulled through and had me unable to put it down at moments. Charlie Dean is a girl who solely loves fashion - it’s her escape. At the start of the novel, she comes off as a bit of an airhead, using exclamation marks and awkward french expressions - tres irritant! But when we get to take a look past the surface, we see Charlie is battling big problems at home - this gives the whole book substance, especially in the realistic way that she faces it. This is something you don’t find often in YA. (For the record, I absolutely adore Charlie Dean ☺) John Thomas Smith is a boy who really wants to get into the arts college - so much that he’ll fake an interest in fashion to do it. While he is relatable in his flaws, unlike Charlie Dean, who is really unique, he’s kind of stereotypical. He cheats on his girlfriend for a girl who likes him for unknown reasons and is just really pretty. He justifies this later by explaining how Brenda was not the right girl for him, but it comes across rather forced. He does have some redeeming qualities, such as when he stands up for a young girl being bullied, but his willingness to cheat and general selfishness didn’t sit well with me. Some things I loved were: Charlie Dean!! I just love her character - and she is so, so strong. Some final moments were absolutely gripping - I simply couldn’t put the book down. I also loved the general lack of romance. For the majority novel, Charlie Dean is single, and doesn’t really lament the fact - which is totally awesome! This is so hard to find in YA literature. For once, romance isn’t a driving plot point :). Even when this romance does come at the end, it’s so natural that you can’t question it. It’s also a lesbian relationship, which brings some nice representation. However, some things about the plot line didn’t quite hang together. The most jarring thing for me was the premise - the characters are writing ‘fashion journals’ which will be submitted at the end of the competition. Charlie’s makes total sense, and looks like something that could actually be used. John’s however, opens with: “It seems pretty stupid that applicants have to keep a diary...what the hell.” For someone who has his heart set on getting into this school, this seems like a pretty sure-fire way of getting rejected. One other thing - Green Pastures is apparently the best art school in Canada (in the novel.) How, then, did John’s fairly, and I quote, “half-assed” application get selected to get to the next round? But, those aside, Fashion Committee was a fun YA read with a refreshing lack of romance and heavy subjects dealt with in realistic ways. Summary: Reread value: 7/10 - some parts that I could read over and over forever :) Unique points: 7/10 - while fairly cliched in the premise, unique execution especially with Charlie Positive Examples: 7/10 - Charlie is really awesome, but JTS cheats, both romantically and academically, with little to no consequences. Diversity: 10/10 - First Nation, Muslim, and POC fashion designers, Charlie Dean is shown to be gay at the end but there isn’t a big deal made about it Character Believability: 9/10 - again, yay for charlie but JTS is the stereotypical hormonal teenage boy 4 stars Note: Quotations based on an uncorrected proof
Date published: 2017-03-19

Editorial Reviews

“Even fashion-phobic readers will be caught up in both the giddy apprehension of artistic competition and the thought-provoking creative questions that arise from it. . . . This is whip-smart coming-of-age comedy with memorable characters and lots to say about talent, ambition . . .  and haute couture.” --Starred Review, Horn Book Magazine"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." --Starred Review, Publishers Weekly"Juby’s thoughtful bildungsroman excels in showcasing and normalizing those on society’s fringe." --Kirkus Review"Juby has created two compelling, multidimensional narrators whom readers will laugh with and cry for . . ." --School Library Journal"The book's greatest strength is its realistic narrators. . . . [W]ill ring true with teen readers." --Quill & Quire"Like all Juby novels, this one is sparklingly verbose and self-deprecating . . . Lush, detailed descriptions of awe-inspiring designs are a treat to read. This one is tailored to perfection for readers who love to laugh and look good doing it." --Globe and Mail