The Fashion Book by Kathryn Hennessy

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Using a mix of photography and illustrations, DK publishers presents this historical look at the development of fashion. Beginning in Ancient Greece, the book progresses chronologically, with sections spotlighting key fashion figures, styles, and even a look into the daily life of various fashion professionals. The piece also examines the modern boom in the fashion industry, questioning whether the current speed of fashion manufacturing is sustainable. With its readable text and high use of graphics, this would be a good choice for all readers interested in the fashion industry.

This was a fun read! I love looking at fashion, so I’m a little biased, but I still think this book would be appealing to others. It’s arranged by fashion period, starting with the earliest, and progress to modern times. It was really cool to see all the major time period together, and there were a lot of little facts about fashion along the way. It’s a pretty surface level book and does not go in-depth about careers in fashion, but it’s definitely worth a read if you’re interested in that industry. There’s LOADS of pictures!

*Rating: 4.5/5

* ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2014

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

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Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen

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After finding a teenage popularity guide, Maya decides to try out the advice during her 8th grade year in the hopes that it will bring her the social status she desires. However, her sudden shift into wearing pearls, hats, and sitting with strangers doesn’t quite have the effect Maya hoped. Instead, she finds herself even more of an outcast (if that’s possible). Popular is Maya’s chronicle of her year following 1950’s model, Betty Cornell’s, life advice, and the successes, failures, and changes in perspectives that advice brings.

I loved this book so much!! At first I wasn’t sure any book could top the other YALSA nonfiction nominees for 2015, but this one really was the best. What made it so great for me was the fact that Maya wrote it herself. I’m pretty tough on teen authors, mostly because I feel they are too young for their writing skills to really have developed (that takes serious time). Most also put their name on the book, but have actually used a ghostwriter for most of the writing — I don’t like that. Maya is different. At 15, she’s already an amazing author and I can’t wait to see what she does next. Popular really has it all — it’s heartfelt without being overly “mushy”, Maya learns valuable lessons without hitting you over the head with them or being “preachy”, and, above all, she gains entirely new perspectives. This book would be great for any teen to read (not just girls!); Maya does an incredible job of capturing what it’s like to survive being a teenager in a world obsessed with “popularity”. Go read it!

*Rating: 5/5

*YALSA Award for Nonfiction for Young Adults, Winner, 2015

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Beauty: The Best Hair, Skin, Nails, and Makeup Ideas for You by Ann Shoket

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Drawing on its authority as a top magazine for teens and tweens, Seventeen magazine presents this guide for hair and makeup ideas. The book is sectioned by type (hair, makeup, nails, etc), and each section includes step-by-step looks for readers to try. Also included are spotlights of real girls and their favorite beauty tips, as well as how to achieve celebrity looks. Though some may claim this is not challenging enough material to have in a school library, plenty of students may get use out of the piece. For example, the title can be used for special events, browsing, or for those students interested in cosmetology.

This book is pretty straightforward. If you’re interested in beauty or style tips, give it a shot. You might find something new you like — though be warned that, while the instructions make all the styles look super easy, it may not be that easy to execute each look. The models used in the shots had their hair/makeup/nails done by professionals, not by themselves. My other issue with this book is that it’s incredibly gender biased. They assume only girls are going to read it, and I don’t think that’s true. Keeping this book a girl-only resource isolates the trans community in particular — basically, the book sends the message that you would only want these tips if you’re a girl. However, you might not care about what message the book is sending; you may just want to browse around and find a new look. If that’s the case — have fun! If you do care about messages, maybe look around for a more gender-neutral option.

*Rating: 2.5/5

*ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2013
For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.