Books · Reviews

The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby // Different and unique but underwhelming

31456511 3 stars

Publication Date: 23rd May, 2017

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.

I was provided an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Fashion Committee is a story about two people, Charlie Dean and John Thomas Smith, who are contestants in a fashion competition to win a scholarship for the most prestigious art school in their area. The story is told in alternating points of view, in the form of both of their respective journals that they have to make to document their journey throughout the competition.

Charlie Dean is this whimsical pretentious character who eats, drinks and breathes fashion. Her passion for fashion was evident from the get-go. I loved reading about how excited she got by fabric and how fashion was her way of creatively expressing herself. Charlie is a very guarded character, who has had to be strong her entire life because of her challenging home life, but at times it almost felt like she was emotionless. She’s a very quirky character but after reading the book, I still don’t feel like I know her at all.

John Thomas-Smith, on the other hand, is a selfish, vain character who I did not like at all. He has such a great life but he doesn’t appreciate it as much as he should. I understand that he also faced his fair share of hardships but that doesn’t excuse the fact that he is a terrible person.

Of the two, I was definitely rooting for Charlie Dean to win throughout the book but I didn’t care that much about either, if I’m honest.

I thoroughly enjoyed the writing of this book – both characters had strong voices and were so different from each other that their contrasting opinions made the book even more fun. They both had significant character growth throughout the book – the competition changes them in ways they hadn’t anticipated. Let me also just add that the illustrations of the dresses are stunning and it was great to see them in a book about fashion!

What makes this book different is that isn’t a love story, which is always refreshing in YA lit. The only love in this story is for the art and the fashion that John and Charlie were creating.

Though the main plot of the story is the competition and fashion, this is not just your typical YA contemporary. There are darker themes that are explored and I feel like they were portrayed quite realistically. I wish the author spent a little more time fleshing out the deeper moments because they felt quite rushed.

I requested this book because the blurb read ‘Project Runway meets I’ll Give You The Sun’ – one of my favourite shows and one of my favourite books. I had high expectations but they unfortunately weren’t met. I did like it and I thought it was quite fun, but it didn’t blow me away like I thought it would. Recommended for people who want a quick contemporary without an angst-filled love plot.


5 thoughts on “The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby // Different and unique but underwhelming

  1. Lovely review! I felt the exact same way about this book than you, I was eager to read it when I heard “Project Runway meets I’ll Give You The Sun”, but felt a bit disappointed by it overall. Still, it was an entertaining read 🙂


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