April 12, 2014

Tales from My Closet - Jennifer Anne Moses

Tales from My Closet - Jennifer Anne Moses
Tales from My Closet by Jennifer Anne Moses
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Five girls. A paper dress. Tons of shoes. One unforgettable raincoat. White Jeans. Secrets. Drama. Friends?

For Justine, Bianca, Becka, Polly, and Anne, living in Westfield, New Jersey is "life on planet toilet paper." At least that's how Justine feels when she shows up as the new girl in school wearing a Scott Paper Caper dress. To her, it's a super-original fashion statement. But other "loser freaks" don't agree.

The other girls have their own fashion issues, ranging from fabulous boots to raggedy pajamas to what to wear to therapy. Told in alternating voices, TALES FROM MY CLOSET follows the stories of high school kids who have nothing in common--and everything in common. They're at war with each other, but through their clothes, they reveal and conceal themselves and make peace with what it means to be a teen. Over the course of a school year, their individual struggles and successes come together to tell a story that's funny, honest, and all-girl fabulous. (from Goodreads)

In Tales from My Closet, readers are dropped straight into the lives of five very different girls -- Becca, Justine, Robin, Polly and Ann. The novel alternates between their stories successfully, tying them all together with how clothing plays a part in each girl's life. (It also helps that they live in the same area, and go to the same school, of course.) While I do think that each girl's story could have been granted a little more depth, Tales from My Closet was fun to read.

Tales from My Closet worked well for me because the author gave me something I could identify with in each girl’s experience. By sharing the lives of these five girls, Moses offers up a range of experiences including romance, self-discovery and family problems. Many of the things these girls go through will strike readers as familiar, capturing precisely how it might actually have felt.

Out of the five mentioned above, my favorite girls are Ann and Robin. Ann definitely has a lot of the qualities that I possess – awkwardness, a sense of duty to my parents, an interest in more creative endeavors. It was quite fun to read something that mirrored a big part of my own teenage experience when reading about Ann’s life. I also really enjoyed her relationship with her grandmother!

Robin, on the other hand, is determined to chase after her dreams of working in fashion, and refuses to be deterred by money or her parent’s wishes. While she’s not perfect (particularly when it comes to curbing her spending), she’s pretty darn cool. I admired her tenacity, her courage to pursue what she wanted and how hard she worked to get to where she wanted to go.

I did expect a lot more gravity, though. Some of the situations in the novel had the potential, if handled correctly, to make the readers really feel for the girl going through them. This didn’t happen, sadly, since Tales from My Closet never strayed from a light, breezy tone in its storytelling. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly if you’re expecting fluff, I do think it might have added a little extra to the novel to have really felt for these characters and what they’re going through.

I did like Tales from My Closet. It was the perfect fluff read for me while I was sick! Even though I do think that it has the potential to be developed a little more, it was pretty good – especially with the references to clothing and fashion sprinkled all throughout.


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