Violet on the Runway

[The headless woman curse strikes again! Run away!]

Assuming you sort of know the Princess Diaries series, take the basic storyline of the first book. Then imagine that the protagonist has always been very tall and incredibly thin, so that instead of finding out she's heir to the throne of a tiny European principality, she is spotted by a modeling agent and whisked away to the runways of New York City, where she instantly becomes the fashion world's newest darling. Voila, Melissa Walker's Violet on the Runway.

You can imagine a lot of the book: the adjustments a wallflower from North Carolina must make when she's thrown into the glitz and drama of big-time modeling, her struggles to stay in touch and on good terms with her old friends while living it up on the celebrity social scene and figuring out how to deal with those nasty popular girls from her high school who, surprise, suddenly think she's the coolest thing around. And so on.

The question that drives the plot seems like sort of the same one behind a lot of these transformation-plot movies and novels: How does a seventeen-year-old girl deal with being handed not just popularity, but fame, and perhaps the chance to finally become the person she's always wanted to be? To what extent does she keep her feet on the ground and maintain her sense of self?

The scenarios that Violet had to deal with were rather predictable, but what makes Violet on the Runway unique and enticing is the inside look into the modeling industry that it offers. It definitely delivers on that. The picture it paints of the life of a runway model doesn't do away with the excitement and glamour, but neither does it shy from depicting the less pleasant aspects of modeling.

As for Violet herself, I have mixed feelings about her. She's a nice person, and her ingenuousness is endearing. She can be smart, but she isn't always. She doesn't behave wisely in a lot of circumstances, and she doesn't always learn her lesson.

Bottom line, though: Violet on the Runway is fast, fun, and interesting. It kept both me and my little sister up late. If you like realistic YA novels, or reading about fashion or modeling (fans of The Devil Wears Prada, listen up), you will like this book.

Grade*: B-

N.B. For teens and up, with an additional medium-level caveat for profanity.

*Yep, have decided to switch rating systems. I'm still a student; letter grades are a more native language for me when it comes to judging.


odessa 7/23/2008 11:30 PM  

thanks for the review. i need some quick, lighthearted summer reading and i'll definitely add this to my list.

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