THE FASHION COMMITTEE
The story of a girl, a boy, and the fashion competition that could change both of their lives.
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 felony—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.
Praise for The Fashion Committee
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“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.”
School Library Journal (Starred Review)
“Juby has created two compelling, multidimensional narrators whom readers will laugh with and cry for as they vie for the coveted prize. Charlie Dean is a master at turning the sow’s ear that life has dealt her into a unique silk purse, while John is so consumed by anger at his circumstances that he fails to appreciate the many blessings laid at his doorstep. The cleverly deceptive title, cover art, and opening pages belie the strength of the protagonists’ personalities as well as the tragic elements that have shaped their lives and define the story. VERDICT An excellent purchase for YA.”
Horn Book (Starred review)
“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. Does passion necessarily beget talent? Can an artistic bent transcend medium? This is whip-smart coming-of-age comedy with memorable characters and lots to say about talent, ambition… and haute couture.”
“Talented teens vie for a highly coveted fashion scholarship … Though seemingly antagonists, alternating narrators John and Charlie … serve rather as dueling protagonists whose compelling struggles are revealed through the distinctively voiced diaries they must keep in the months leading up to the fashion show. Juby’s thoughtful bildungsroman excels in showcasing and normalizing those on society’s fringe—whether it be in her bold portrayal of differing socio-economic class issues or subtle examination of gender identity. Her tale gains great momentum from the grit and ingenuity Charlie, who believes the “most chic thing is self-sufficiency,” exhibits in tackling hurdles, resulting from being a child of drug abusers, alongside John, who’s also a child of largely absent parents and whose snarky bitterness makes an excellent foil to Charlie’s ebullience. Entertaining, smart, and inspiring.”
“Charlie is perhaps Juby’s finest character to date, not just seriously inventive, buoyant and insightful in fashion sense and philosophy, but also a poignant testament to the resilience of a girl determined to live well despite her parent’s struggle with addiction. Charlie’s single parent father has been in and out of drug rehab for years, and her realistic assessment of his behaviour, his girlfriends, and her own balanced sense of the limits of her responsibility give this novel unusual depth.”
Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and Mediator series
“Susan Juby is a joy. Her ability to blend humor with gut-wrenching emotion is one in a million. The Fashion Committee is another winner by one of my all time favorite authors.”
Globe and Mail
“Lush, detailed descriptions of awe-inspiring designs are a treat to read. She also incorporates more substantial commentary on privilege, substance abuse and fashion stereotypes. This one is tailored to perfection for readers who love to laugh and look good doing it.”
VOYA (5Q/4P S)
“Told from alternating points of view, Juby’s novel makes both Charlie Dean and John Thomas-Smith talented, likeble, and flawed, wise and foolish, all at the same time. Juby’s characters are always quirky, her writing funny, her stories offbeat and full of heart, and this novel is one of her best.”