Moses, Jennifer Anne. Tales from My Closet
January 28th 2014, Scholastic Press
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Five girls in New Jersey all care a lot about fashion and have different dramas going on in their lives. Becka has a distant father but a psychologist mother who writes books about dealing with teenagers; Becka also has spent the summer in Paris and has a much older boyfriend there. Justin and her mother move to town from San Francisco, and Justine has a hard time adjusting, thinking that everyone is making fun of her. Ann is bright and has a supportive family that wants her to go to college, but she just wants to go into art. Her grandmother gives her a wealth of 1960s fashions, and she starts a fashion blog. Polly is an avid swimmer who believes she is fat, has an elderly grandfather who passes away, and learns secrets about her absent father. She also has a crush on her swim coach. Robin has an alcoholic father and a shopping addiction which she tries to pay off by babysitting and trying to get fashion related jobs. All five girls intersect in a variety of ways throughout the book.
Strengths: The author does a good job of painting each character as an individual-- it's usually hard to keep this many characters straight, especially when they appear in alternating chapters. There is a lot of interesting fashion, some drama, and it's not entirely inappropriate for middle school. (There is some talk about "doing it", but nothing occurs. One girl does attempt suicide, but it ends okay.)
Weaknesses:There isn't much of a plot, and I still have a hard time believing that even high school girls care this much about fashion. I'll probably pass, but this would be good for a public library.