Taylor, Chloe. Ready to Wear (Sew Zoey #1)
4 June 2013, Simon Spotlight
Zoey is really excited because her school is doing away with uniforms. Zoey loves fashion and can't wait to express her individuality in her outfits, but when she goes shopping, she can't find exactly what she wants. Her aunt Lulu has lots of fabric samples, and takes her to the fabric store to pick out patterns. She also helps her get her mother's sewing machine running; Zoey's mother had loved to sew but has passed away. Zoey's friend Priti is somewhat interested in fashion, but her friend Kate is lucky to get out the door in jeans and a tee shirt. There are the requistite mean girls at Mapleton Prep who make fun of Zoey and sabotage her efforts at the school fashion show, but they also serve to push new, fashion forward student Libby into becoming friends with Zoe. Zoey keeps her wits about her by writing a fashion blog.
Strengths: The supporting cast is the winner here; older brother Marcus, Aunt Lulu, Jan at the fabric store, and even a principal interested in fashion, who supports Zoey's efforts. This is a series of at least four books, and will be very popular with that small group of girls who are interested in fashion, or who like the meanness of Harrison's The Clique series. Sewing is portrayed realistically as something that is no longer inexpensive!
Weaknesses: I would have probably liked this in 8th grade, when I started sewing my own clothing, mainly because it was cheaper (99 cent a yard table!) and I could make clothing no one else had. Of course, my attempts always were more misguided than Zoey's. I can't get 100% behind books that encourage girls to focus on what they look like, but this was okay. Ordering whole series.
The one thing that REALLY annoyed me on a personal level was that Zoey is portrayed as creating a blog and then getting thousands of hits, but that's just because I am often beset by Blogger Bugaboo. I've been blogging for nearly eight years. Why do I ONLY have 241 followers? Shouldn't I have more comments? What am I doing wrong? So seeing teen bloggers become popular so quickly strikes me as very unrealistic. Either that, or my blog is not good. You see my conundrum.