TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:
I'll have to say right up front that I'm not a big fan of that subset of YA chick lit that features bitchy teen girls acting like extras from "Sex and the City," all while name dropping the latest clothes, bags, shoes, gadgets, makeup, and jewelry. These books always tend to strike me as superficial and mean spirited, thus overriding whatever candy confection fun there is to be had from watching beautiful people tool around in fabulous clothes.
"Fashionistas" fits squarely into the genre I just derided above, but, to its credit, it occasionally reaches higher, showing glimmers of heart, touches of honesty, and the rare flicker of genuine female friendship. Mostly, however, this book is about as shallow as my bank account.
Our four interns — spoiled socialite Aynsley; smart and mousy Ava; brassy, diva-like Nadine; and country girl Callie — are spending the summer working at Couture, a glitzy fashion magazine in NYC. The plot, such as it is, involves tons of drinking, flirting, backstabbing, manipulation, and designer clothes, as Aynsley and Nadine bar hop each night while Ava lives some sort of double life and Callie steals designs to get ahead. Fun!
I guess the author is going for a "Gossip Girl" tone, as there are occasional snarky posts from the Fashionista blog, but, honestly, those feel like an afterthought. This book is incredibly fast-paced, using an MTV quick-cut edits style to (a) maintain the runaway locomotive pace, and (b) distract the reader from the fact that there's not a whole lot of substance behind these cardboard characters and flimsy plot elements. "Fashionistas" is, at best, a guilty pleasure. Still, I wish more had happened; there's barely any romance here, and that should be a chick lit staple! Since the book ends abruptly at the midpoint of a glamorous party (needless to say, I felt cheated), those who are still marginally interested will have to wait for the "Truth or Fashion" sequel to find out if Callie's lies get exposed, Nadine finally sobers up, Aynsley loses her internship, or Ava … well, if something ever happens with Ava, since she's a mere shadow in this book.
"Fashionistas" comes out May 8th, and, really, I can only suggest it to high school age fans of the genre who have tired of the other series books. Also, although marketed as a teen novel, the girls here are mostly in college and they act accordingly. This one's not for the younger set. Consider yourselves warned.