Tales From My Closet by Jennifer Anne Moses (ARC received from publisher)
Justine isn’t exactly happy when her parents inform her that they’ll be trading in their San Francisco digs to move clear across the United States to Westfield, New Jersey. Westfield wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t seem to be smack in the middle of nowhere. There are no thrift stores. there are no scenic views. There’s only Becka, the next door neighbor who seems to hate her upon sight, and a fabulous paper dress, the she hopes will attract more than just stares.
After traveling abroad to Paris, the city of love and lights, life in Westfield New Jersey is downright dull. There are no fancy restaurants. There are no fashionista’s walking the street. There is no Arnaud, Becka’s older, French beau. All Westfield New Jersey offers is a dull life with a new neighbor. Becka’s mother seems to be forcing upon her. She already has a best friend, and really doesn’t want one who’s fashion sense includes wearing a paper dress.
Westfield, New Jersey isn’t the place to live if you’re a budding fashionista. No one gets Polly nor her budding fashion sense, even her supposed best friend Becka. What Polly sees as chic and imaginative, most people – including friends and family – would consider night wear. But enter Justine, the new girl sporting a paper dress. Now, this girl may actually get Polly. That is, if Becka doesn’t stand in her way.
Unlike her friend, Bianca is quite content to live in the suburbs of New Jersey. Admittedly, Westfield isn’t much but it’s a place where Bianca and her supposed whale shaped figure could blend in. She’s never considered herself a fashionista, not like Polly who could rock everything and anything, including pajamas, but what she wouldn’t do for a pair of white jeans that flatter her swimmer’s figure. When those white jean dreams become a reality, Bianca starts to realize that just like Polly, she can rock almost anything, even that new girl’s awesome paper dress!
Anne isn’t sick of Westfield, New Jersey. What she’s really sick of is living in the shadow of her old, more perfect sister Martha. Martha gets good grades. She goes to a top-notch ivy league school. She’s on her way to becoming something big. Anne could never live up to that, or could she? With a little help from her grandmother and some retro chic threads Anne is determined to make her way into the fashion world. With a little help from her new-found friend Justine, Anne is out to take the fashion world by storm – one blog post at a time.
Tales From My Closet, written by author Jennifer Anne Moses, is novel filled with fashion that, for myself as a reader, seemed to fizzle out before it really got started.
Author Moses’ writing is solid. She weaves the lives of five vastly different girls with five vastly different fashion senses seamlessly into one storyline with real ease. Because of this Moses’ debut Tales From My Closet is a truly inviting and engaging novel. I’m going to be honest here, real honest. I didn’t love the overall plot line in general. I didn’t love all of the characters. But for whatever reason I could NOT put this book down. There was a strange allure of finding out what would happen, and what these girls would be wearing while it happened.
Besides the fashion, Tale From My Closet, there is a lot going on. I wouldn’t necessarily call this novel an “issues” novel, but in fact it deals with quite of number of real life issues: family problems, financial instabilities, and both mental and physical abuse situations. All of these issues are portrayed honestly, accurately, and above all things realistically. Beyond that, they are all handled well – with grace and care.
Moses’ debut was the kind of book I really wanted to lose myself in. I wanted to wrap myself in it like Becka and that beat up raincoat that was such a hot topic in this book. But reality was, it wasn’t my cup of tea. Even though all the issues were honest and real, I felt that some of them were thrown in to give this book some depth.
Besides this, I didn’t necessarily love the characters either. Well, let me rephrase that: I didn’t love all of the characters, but there were some I really did like even if I didn’t or couldn’t relate to any.For me, because this book was told from five different perspectives I felt like I really couldn’t get to know all of the characters. I felt that some characters were more developed than others. For instance, I would have loved to know more about Polly and where/when her love of fashion started.
Unfortunately, Tales From My Closet wasn’t my cup of tea. Maybe it’s because I’m no fashionista, maybe it’s because I couldn’t relate and connect on a more personal level with the plot and it’s characters. Even though the writing was solid and engaging, those things weren’t enough to save the book for me.
But just because this wasn’t the read for me, doesn’t mean it’s not a read for you. Check it out, and let’s discuss!