I’m going to be honest: I totally read the Uglies series a few years ago and loved it.
I found So Yesterday while trolling the teen shelves, remembered the author’s name, and got excited. The premise is sort of neat: there are people amongst us in our cities whose paid jobs it is to set different fashion trends. Our teen protagonist is one of them. Everything is smooth sailing until one day he meets a girl, they go on a crazy fashion-fueled sort of dystopian bizarro adventure, and some nutty, worth-reading-about stuff happens.
The book’s from 2005, so some of the technology and the cultural references are a little dated, but as an adult, that was fine for me. It might be a little baffling for modern teens.
Elisha Lim draws attractive comics of cute queers, and often pairs them with poignant hand written text. Their style is super-distinct; if you’re like me, you’ll look at the pages and realize ohhhhhh that’s who does does drawings i’ve been seeing around…
I didn’t read 100 Crushes straight-through, I instead read it in chunks between other bits of reading. It’s a nice combination of heavy, light, and random.
I found this book accidentally– it was in a pile of new library books that were waiting to be shelved. I liked the cover, so I snagged it & checked it out before any of its intended teenage audience could get their little hands on it.
First things first, the book is British! I leaned all kinds of new terms like “loo paper” and “minge” and “luggage trolley.” The Britishness also fostered a totally “un-American” openness about sex (yay!); the teen characters had plain and clear conversations with each other about the sex that they were having, they referenced a sex ed class, and it was all without shame or weirdness.
So the premise is that teenage Jeane is a super-creative, super-weird all-around awesome blogger/public speaker/web personality on the internet (she has a growing lifestyle “brand” called “Adorkable”)– and also a righteous loud-mouthed feminist and activist in real life. She’s SO brash and opinionated that it’s hard for her to make friends with all the loathsome people at high school, but then she and a really good-looking “normal” and “popular” boy who are on total opposite ends of the teenage spectrum kinda fall in together. What follows is reexamination of preconceptions on both ends…
Honestly, I found Jeane’s character to be a little too awesome; her achievements and involvements were a few too many for me to find 100% realistic (e.g. getting a book deal and speaking at professional conferences overseas unchaperoned…). BUT. The concept of the book was pretty rad, Jeane didn’t have to give up any of her beliefs, and my interest was kept through the full 384 pages of the book (e.g. I was thinking about getting back to reading it while at the supermarket). Furthermore, on the teenage front, “Jeane” will alert teen girls about all kinds of rad stuff like labor issues, fat positivity, rock-n-roll camp for girls, general feminism, individuality, etc…
The author took care of a lot in 310 pages!
Modern-day teenage Mallory feels like her life is falling apart when she dumps her boyfriend after learning that he’s been cheating on her with another girl on the internet. In this same spot of time, she finds a list of goals that her grandmother made as a teenager. The brief list included items such as “run for pep squad secretary,” “find a steady,” and “sew a dress for homecoming.”
Floored by the simplicity of these goals, and assuming that life “back then” must have been much better in its apparent simplicity, Mallory decides that her own life needs some simplifying, and makes the goal to do everything on her grandmother’s list. Oh, and to live as much like her grandmother did in the 1960’s as possible, and avoid using all modern electronics until homecoming, which is a few weeks away.
This book was great! Mallory and the other characters had plenty of dimension, there was a hearty nod to thrift stores and vintage fashion (which I was happy about), and the background family drama/mystery was interesting enough to keep me reading– but not overwhelming enough to cloud the story. It’s definitely a book for teenagers (especially for digital natives who were born in the age of the internet and cell phones), but it’s unique and multidimensional enough to be an entertaining diversion for a YA-loving adult.
Find a copy at your nearest library
I’ve never been a mystery person. But when I found out that one of my friends who I really respect is an avid mystery reader– I had to give the genre a shot. I got excited when a book list lead me to In a Witch’s Wardrobe— which combines a number of things that I like: Vintage clothing, San Francisco, Fashion, and a witchy theme.
I can’t really say much without giving away the story, but basically San Francisco Bay Area witches are getting sick and killed. Our protagonist Lily Ivory (also a witch) takes it upon herself to try and solve the mystery of what’s going on. Blackwell’s attention to detail surrounding the case is impressive, and the book moves quickly. The story is nestled amongst nice descriptions of the vintage clothing that is sold in Lily’s shop. It made me want to forgo my regular responsibilities and just read. There are loose ends– but I think the book is part of a series, so it makes sense.
The author has some really solid attention to detail, which I suppose is logical for a mystery novel. Lily’s character could stand a little more dimension (I was hungry for a little more personal information)- but it’s not that big of a deal. It wasn’t the book of the year– but it wouldn’t be bad for a plane ride or lazy afternoon either.
Find a copy here
Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love, & Fashion
I really like feminist anthologies. This one was not an exception! Hot & Heavy contains a bunch of essays by a broad spectrum of people, who have a wide variety of takes on fatness in life as a girl/woman. The essays are a grand tie-dye of personal, political, sexy, academic, fun, and powerful. Though each essay does center on the theme of fatness, each expresses different angles and takes on it– so there’s not a narrow central agenda.
Paralleling how I feel about all anthologies that I read, I found some pieces to be stronger or more captivating than others– but none were bad reading (and who’s to say that you or someone else won’t love those particular pieces?). Also, the anthology is well balanced and assembled– nothing feels out of place.
Recommended for anyone with a body.
find a copy here
Lately I find myself wanting to subscribe to magazines the same way that I often want to slink through the aisles of Thrift Town or pour through the Google results repeatedly for “vegan fair-trade shoes.” These drives may be shallow, but they pass the time.
At work I linger on the pages of Vogue Paris, Interview, Interior Design and Domus. I save subscription cards and imagine the thick, glossy pages heaping toward me as I unlock my mailbox. I imagine the bulk of them slick under my arm as I carry them up the stairs to my apartment, and the smell from between the pages as I remove them from their plastic wrappers.
I would be lying if I said that I didn’t consider going to fashion school when i was nearing the end of high school. I even took an all-about-fashion elective class when completing my 12th grade credits. But i would also be lying if I said that I felt comfortable attending the FIDM prospective student faire/fashion show when I was seventeen. Aside from a girl with a wild gauzy skirt, dark eyemake-up, and a jungle of brownish red curls (who i could not stop staring at), I was one of the only ones there who was not clad in the Clothestime fads of the time.
This blog is an attempt to chronicle what has happened since then, and how being a vegan, feminist, fair-trade-lovin’, broke-ass queer student geek translates into the world of paying attention to and appreciating things happening in fashion– both mainstream and gutter. I plan to post recipes, art ideas, stuff I made, dessert i baked, and things that I like.