Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Poseur (Poseur #1) by Rachel Maude -- Book Review

Poseur #1

Published: 2008

Genre: Young Adult / Contemporary / Privileged 

From the back of the book: 

Four high school girls who love fashion (but hate each other) are forced together to create a designer label for their exclusive LA private school. Can a cool coquette, a shy punk, a ghetto-glam egomaniac, and a hippie goddess make peace for couture? Welcome to Winston Prep--where wardrobe means war. 

One of the fun parts of this book is the fashion--there are beautiful fashion sketches throughout the novel, and every chapter begins with a character's outfit. If you're into what people wear, this book will have a lot of imaginary eye candy for you. There's even a DIY guide in the back so that you can make your own clothes based on what the main characters wore in the book!

Now, about the story. The narrative is mostly split up into the tales of four different girls, but sometimes veers into the perspective of minor characters, which is interesting but inconsistent. 


Charlotte Beverwil reminds me of Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl but without the elaborate schemes and pure heartlessness (she feels bad when she's gone too far--she just doesn't like to show it): short, and with a commanding personality. She's American but loves everything French, and can sew beautifully, although she doesn't get along well with nuns. She's attracted to Janie's brother Jake, and a lot of her problems are dude problems. 

Janie Farrish and her brother get into the private school by scholarship, meaning that they don't come from a rich family. She dresses punkishly and loves music, but wants to be accepted by her new peers. Some of the problems she has are fitting in at her new school and growing apart from old friends. She's pretty timid and is hyper-aware of her lowly status as an outsider, and tries to keep her head down for most of the book to avoid angering the Winston Royalty. 

Petra Greene is impossibly hot and takes it all for granted. She's the daughter of a plastic surgeon who uses her looks to advertise his business, even though she has never gone under the knife. Her parents are going through a lot of problems, and she smokes weed to get away from the tension at home. She's kind of like, a depressed Serena van der Woodsen. 

Melissa Moon is the daughter of a famous rapper. She lives with her dad, but doesn't like her future stepmom named Vivian Ho, who really embraces her last name. Either way, she tries really hard to make the the club work. Like Charlotte, Melissa is a leader.

So yeah. When it comes to characterization, a lot of these personalities seem to be pretty archetypal since it's easy to draw similarities between them and characters from another series. Charlotte has a gay male friend who is extremely stereotypical, and that's all the character development he gets, aside from the occasional outburst of "Oh no she didn't!" 

Despite the lack of development, the girls are actually not that vicious to each other, so a lot of their problems are easy to relate to--insecurity, family problems, guy problems, and the need for self-earned success.The girls find themselves in some wacky situations and have some seriously embarrassing secrets. I giggled a few times while reading the book. 

I was puzzled by the chapters about Miss Paletsky because she falls off the radar later on in the book--we never find out how she copes with her husband, or if she ever finds an escape for her situation. I really felt bad for her! 

I ended up getting a little bored by the guy drama. Jake is an incredibly boring character and was only there as a love interest to create drama for Charlotte.

So all in all, the book has some things going for it--these girls aren't just shoppers--they create fashion too! They're easily distinguishable from each other, but that is partly due to the fact that they're based on almost-cookie-cutter archetypes that we've seen elsewhere. Guy drama is boring in this book since there are no three-dimensional guy characters--they're all objects of love or idolatry. 


What I would dine on while reading this book: 


  • a bag of chips shared with a boring guy
  • water poured into a martini glass (Oh, I'll just walk around and pretend it's straight-up vodka)

Still unsure? Maybe I'm being a bit too harsh. Read more about Poseur by Rachel Maude here

Thanks for reading!  Have you read this series, or have you read one similar to this? What do you think of the characters in Poseur? Leave a comment!

--Ellen

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