Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls

Overview

A brash new collection of fifteen original stories about girls who stand against convention, and girls who wish they could. In turn hilarious, edgy, comforting and intense, the collection is about holding back and letting loose, about sex and glamour and common sense. The girls in these stories have to deal with whatever life decides to throw at them. Some approach their challenges in startling ways. The innovative stories are all about taking pride in wearing our bodies just the way they are. Touching on a range...

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Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls

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Overview

A brash new collection of fifteen original stories about girls who stand against convention, and girls who wish they could. In turn hilarious, edgy, comforting and intense, the collection is about holding back and letting loose, about sex and glamour and common sense. The girls in these stories have to deal with whatever life decides to throw at them. Some approach their challenges in startling ways. The innovative stories are all about taking pride in wearing our bodies just the way they are. Touching on a range of issues from cosmetic surgery and makeup, to body-image and sexuality, these stories challenge stifling mainstream notions of beauty and femininity.

Toronto writer and poet Deb Loughead is the author of sixteen books for children and young adults, including Time & Again. Jocelyn Shipley's books for teens include Getting a Life, Cross My Heart and Seraphina's Circle. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, and on Vancouver Island.

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Editorial Reviews

CM Magazine
"The stories from Cleavage will buoy [teenage girls] up and remind them that they, too, will survive...Highly recommended."
Quill & Quire
"Smart and satisfying tales. The dialogue is sharp and believably teenaged, the content often embarassingly true to life, and the tone is never condescending...An eminently readable collection here, one that may be as enlightening and enjoyable for mothers as their teenage daughters."
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"The stories send positive messages that girls of that age need."
VOYA - Diane Colson
This collection of short stories embraces the multiple meanings of the word, "cleavage." The obvious reference to the female anatomy is covered, but more prominent are the competing meanings of separation and adhesion. What better word could describe the push-pull relationship of mother and daughter during the teen years? If there is a theme that cleaves all these stories together, it is the daughter's struggle to forge an identity from the constraints of a mother's consuming love. Consider the first story by Valerie Hunter, for example. Enticingly titled, Former Juice Girl Eats World's Largest Taco, it is about a former child model who is proud of her recent consumption of an eight pound taco, much to her mother's consternation. More serious, About My Curves by Robin Stevenson features a teen who removes her mother's nude portrait - complete with mastectomy scar - from above the couch before having a party. In Change Room by Patricia McCowan, a girl dies of embarrassment as her mother broadcasts information about the girl's new voluptuous breasts. There is something for everyone in these fifteen original stories by Canadian authors, with a pleasing mix of humor and angst. Perhaps the most refreshing element of the book is the solid chorus of girls who push aside cultural stereotypes and maternal expectations to become their best selves. Reviewer: Diane Colson
Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
The title of this book is well-suited to the stories inside, and it would make any teenage girl pick up the book and scan it to see what it's about. There are fifteen short stories about girls who are trying to learn about themselves and deal with society's emphasis on women's looks and shapes. Each story is well-written, and high school students will be able to connect to the emotions and outcomes of the main characters. One story looks at how to select the prom dress that suits "you" instead of what's "in." Another asks if breast implants are necessary. One story wonders why being overweight overshadow who the person really is. Another looks at tattoos—yes or no. So many more topics are covered, too! One story in particular stayed with me because it was told as correspondence between a girl called Faceless and an advice columnist called Viva Diva. As far as I am concerned, one line of advice from Anne Sutherland's "Faceless on the Farm" is good for anyone: "Beauty isn't about changing your looks. It's all about embracing what you have." I found this to be a sincere and serious book. It would be great if two girls could read and discuss it together. It might also be an opening for a mother-daughter talk. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

Alternately edgy, charming, funny, and sweet, these 15 stories address issues confronting adolescents. Integral to each selection is the complicated relationship between the girls and their mothers. In the hilarious "Faceless on the Farm," a spunky girl writes emails to a fashion consultant at a teen magazine asking for advice in her efforts to convince her mother to allow her to wear makeup. Conversely, in "Wax World," Amy resists her mother's idea of beauty and refuses to get her legs waxed, preferring to leave them as they are. In "The Giant Regina," Georgia copes with her mother's newfound lesbianism, while in "My So Not Ballerina Boobs," large-breasted Meghan deals with the mortifying prospect of bra shopping with her embarrassing mother. The selections touch on the multiple meanings of the word "cleavage," and together form an aptly named collection of stories about body image and mothers and daughters coming together and growing apart. A fresh, honest, and entertaining anthology.-Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781894549769
  • Publisher: Sumach Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Deb Loughead is the author of more than twenty-five books for children and young adults. Her books have been translated into seven languages, and her award-winning poetry and adult fiction have appeared in a variety of Canadian publications. In addition to writing, Deb has conducted workshops and held readings at schools, festivals and conferences across the country. She has written and directed children’s plays and taught creative writing classes for adults in Toronto. Deb lives with her family in Toronto, Ontario.

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