Kleptoby Jenny Pollack
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Julie Braverman is the coolest person Julie Prodsky has ever met. During their freshman year (1981–1982) at the High School of Performing Arts in New York City, the previously unexplored world of flirting, freedom, and fashion is revealed to Julie P. through the eyes of her new best friend. Learning the secret to Julie B.’s collection of Fiorucci jeans—shoplifting — only makes Julie P. admire her more. Before long Julie P. has her own closet full of stolen clothing, and a new boyfriend. Then Julie P.’s conscience catches up with her. She wants to stop shoplifting, but Julie B. doesn’t.Without stealing, can this friendship survive?
Amie Rose Rotruck
- Penguin Young Readers Group
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- Penguin Group
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- 307 KB
- Age Range:
- 12 Years
Read an Excerpt
How Could One GirlHave So Much?
Julie and I were in her room picking out clothes and shoes and makeup because we were going to hear Mandy’s band, Fried X, play at this bar downtown. You could be under eighteen and get in, and probably even get away with getting a drink. Julie said this bar didn’t really care about carding. In New York City there were lots of bars like that, Mandy told us.
Julie had such great clothes—her stuff was so womanly—and she let me borrow whatever I wanted. She asked me to look in her closet and pick out a pair of jeans for her to wear while she was in the bathroom blow-drying her hair.
“So what time do we have to be home?” I shouted from the closet. I was going to sleep over that night.
“What do you mean?” she shouted back.
“What time’s your curfew?”
“Don’t you have a curfew?” I asked.
“Nope,” she said.
“You’re kidding!” I was shocked. “What about on school nights?” I started to sort through her jeans in the closet.
“Not really. My mom doesn’t care. She just says to take a cab home from wherever we are whatever time it is.”
Oh my God. I could not believe the luck! My over-protective parents wanted me home by ten on school nights and eleven thirty on weekend nights. Man, I couldn’t help thinking, it must be so great to have only one parent who was out a lot, like Mimi, and no curfew.
As I was looking through Julie’s closet it suddenly dawned on me that she had about sixty pairs of jeans in there! Well, maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration, but it was, like, a lot of jeans. And they were all designer brands like Fiorucci, Calvin Klein, Sassoon, and Girbaud. Not like my regular old Levi’s from Morris Brothers. I felt like I was looking at the wardrobe of some princess of a foreign country, so I said, “How can you afford all these jeans?”
“Oh, most of them I didn’t pay for,” she shouted from the bathroom.
“You mean they were gifts?” I said.
“No. Not really.”
I kept looking through her closet. Green-dyed Fioruccis with the lavender plastic tag around the belt loop, rust-colored Girbauds, stonewashed jeans, three pairs of blue denims in different shades, magenta jeans, baby pink corduroys. I was thinking, What’s it like to have all this clothing? How could one girl have so much? Julie appeared at the doorway in a towel. She had a look on her face like the cat who ate the canary, as my mom would say.
“So . . . how did you . . . ?” Then slowly I started to get it. I gasped and whispered, “Oh shit! Julie, did you steal these?”
She nodded, grinning. “You don’t have to whisper. My mom’s not home. And Mandy does it, too. Mandy made up a code word for it, in fact. Getting. Like if you got something, it means you didn’t pay for it.” She smiled even bigger, like, isn’t that clever?
“Oh my God.” I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or gasp again. “How?” I moved to her bed, holding the pair of Fioruccis I had picked, eager for the details. “How do you get away with it?”
“Well . . .” Julie exhaled like it was an old story. “You wouldn’t believe how little security some places have. Even department stores.” She sat down at her vanity to do her makeup. “What are you doing tomorrow? Saturdays are perfect at Fiorucci.”
“I’m free,” I said.
“Cool. We’ll wear baggy pants. That way you can walk right out of the store wearing the jeans underneath.”
“You’re kidding!” I said.
“Nope. It’s easy. You just walk right out; nobody says anything. Once I even tried walking out wearing just the jeans, no baggies over them, and nobody stopped me.”
“Oh my God.” I started to crack up and fell back on her bed. “How many times have you done this?” I said to the ceiling.
“Um . . . I’m not sure, maybe fifteen times?”
“Always at Fiorucci?” I asked.
“There, and certain department stores. Macy’s, for one, is so easy,” she said confidently. I didn’t think I could look up to Julie any more than I already did, but this made her the coolest person I’d ever met.
“And you’ve never been caught?” I asked.
“Never,” she said. She blotted her lipstick with a tissue.
Fiorucci was in the fancy neighborhood of East 59th Street, near Bloomingdale’s. They sold lots of different kinds of designer jeans and corduroys there, in tons of colors—all Fiorucci brand, of course—and the best clothes, mostly kind of punk stuff and jewelry.
I felt this weird combination of excited and nervous. When I’d been to Fiorucci before, it was to buy stuff or get the free posters they gave out. I was collecting them. So far I had four: the two angels one that Julie had, the David Bowie–looking punk rocker one (his face was kind of severe), the big red lips one, and the one with the topless blonde woman in red leather Fiorucci pants hugging her knees so they covered her boobs.
In the dressing room I tried on a bunch of jeans, and then left the pair I wanted on the hook. Acting perfectly calm, I went back out to the guy in my red baggy overalls and my socks. I gave him the two pairs I didn’t want and asked for three more. Julie was right; there was almost no security there—what a laugh. Nobody was counting what we took into the dressing room, and the clothes didn’t even have those plastic sensor things on them. What was the catch? I tried on three more pairs of pants—a magenta, a green, and a dark brown—returned them, and asked for two more. This is what Julie had told me to do—by that point the guy didn’t remember how many I had. On my way back to the dressing room, I heard Julie whispering to me.
“Jule! Juuu-lieee? Can you come here a sec, please?” I stepped into her dressing room and saw that she was red in the face and kind of sweating. Her jeans zipper was stuck.
“I can’t get these off!” she whispered.
“Oh my God,” I said, trying not to laugh.
“It’s not funny,” she said, trying not to laugh, too. “I can barely breathe in these things.”
We tugged and tugged at the zipper, but it was totally stuck. I was wishing I had some of that EZ-Zipper wax crayon that Mom kept in the jewelry box on her bureau. “Are these the ones you want?” I whispered, feeling Julie’s breath on my face as we pulled on the zipper and tried to hold back from laughing. It was like when you’re supposed to be quiet ’cause you’re in a church or library or something and you feel a huge attack of the giggles coming on. It was just a miracle no one knocked on the door to see what the fuss was about.
“Well, are these the ones you want?” I said.
“I hadn’t decided yet,” she said. “Don’t you think they’re too tight?”
“Yeah, kinda,” I giggled, “but I don’t think it really matters. Looks like these are the ones you’re going home in!” Then we both started laughing so hard—silently—that tears welled up in Julie’s eyes.
When we finally calmed down, Julie let out a big sigh and looked totally exasperated. The zipper still hadn’t budged.
“I can’t believe this,” she said. “Okay, go back to your dressing room and put yours on before somebody notices us.” I went back to my room, stifling my giggles, and I put on my jeans, and then my overalls over them.
We left any remaining pants on the counter, and the guy didn’t even look at us. He was talking to this mother and daughter. The place was crawling with shoppers.
Back upstairs at accessories, and dressed in her pants over pants, Julie was walking like a robot and trying to hide her worried look that her new Fiorucci jeans might never come off. My hands were cold and sweaty at the same time. I didn’t know how we were gonna get away with this. But I also kept thinking, We just might. Nobody seemed to be paying too much attention. The plan now was to actually buy something from accessories so we seemed less suspicious. We looked at the earrings. There was this really cool pair that had a little stack of fake pearls wrapped in shiny iridescent pink Saran Wrap–type stuff.
“Oh, I love these,” I said.
“Me, too,” Julie said, and I noticed she was glancing at the salesgirl behind the counter to see if she could just drop them in her pocket. They were $5.50. This made me nervous, so I took out my wallet and gave Julie a look. We each bought a pair. Okay, we were ready to go, but the salesgirl was taking her time finding little plastic bags to put the earrings into, and I was getting antsy. I could feel my heart starting to thump in my chest. C’mon lady, hurry it up, it’s time to go. I was willing her to hurry up by staring at her.
“Hey, Carla!” someone shouted to the salesgirl, and I turned around. It was the guy with the spiky green hair from downstairs. Julie and I glanced at each other, then looked at him. He didn’t look at us. He stood there silently for a second waiting for Carla to notice him. Carla was crouched down still looking for plastic bags. I felt the sweat starting to form around my waist where the jeans under my overalls were hugging me.
Finally, Carla looked up at the guy and said, kind of annoyed, “What?” He threw a package of credit-card slips on her counter and said with a smirk, “Don’t say I never gave you nothing!”
Ignoring the guy, Carla said, “Here they are!” She pulled out two bags and dropped our earrings in them. “Thanks for waiting,” she mumbled, blowing some hair off her fore-head.
As we got to the exit, Julie suddenly remembered the free Fiorucci posters and stopped at the poster counter.
“C’mon, Jule,” I said, under my breath. That day’s Fiorucci poster was of two topless women with their backs to the camera and their hands on their hips. One was white, the other black, and both were wearing black leather Fiorucci pants.
“I don’t have this one,” Julie said as she grabbed two and hurried out the door with me.
“Have a nice day, ladies!” the poster guy called after us.
“You, too!” we yelled, and then, trying not to sprint, we walked fast down the street, not really looking at each other, sort of holding our breath. Julie kind of did a walk-run, and once we were a few blocks away, she said, “Oh my God, we are so good!”
“I can’t believe how easy that was,” I said, and we headed for the nearest coffee shop. We went straight to the ladies’ room where miraculously we got Julie unzipped by rubbing some of my cantaloupe lip gloss on her zipper. Why didn’t I think of that in the dressing room?
What People are Saying About This
Meet the Author
Jenny Pollack grew up in New York City and graduated from the High School of Performing Arts and Barnard College. Back in the 80's she got from Fiorucci, Macy's, Sak's, Bloomingdale's, Betsey Johnson, Patricia Fields, Reminiscence, Aca Joe, Parachute and who knows where else. She hasn't gotten anything since then. She is still best friends with her best friend. Jenny lives in Brooklyn with her husband Rob and son Charlie and their two cats, Mike and Harry. Klepto is her first novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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In KLEPTO, Jenny Pollack does a wonderful job of telling the story of two kleptomaniacs. The way she wrote this book made me want to keep reading it. Her characters are perfect for this book and she describes them very well. Having two best friends have the same name just made the characters even better. Jenny Pollack also relates this book with something that could happen in reality. Jenny Pollack also does very good in describing things and saying what things may look like in this book. Her word choice is remarkable and her writing style is just as great. The beginning starts out a little slow, but that changes quickly. I recommend this book for teenage girls because it relates to things that would most likely happen to a girl. I enjoyed reading this book very much and I never wanted to put on down.
Part of me wants to rate this as three stars, however, that is only because what the main character was doing made me uncomfortable (I am sure you can guess by the title what she was doing). I cannot let the character's actions take away from the book itself though. I did enjoy the book, despite the annoying dialogue (again, not the writer's fault; that was how girls that age during that time spoke). I believe that Jenny Pollack took a sticky situation and worked well with it to create this novel.
Julie Prodsky is absolutely thrilled, yet anxious, to start at the famed High School of the Performing Arts in New York City. Julie feels like such a loser compared to all the talented and smart students in her freshman class, not to mention the upperclassmen. She worries about fitting in, and can't believe her luck when popular, pretty Julie Braverman notices her in the crowd and invites her to hang out at school.
The Julies' friendship starts to intensify, which thrills Julie P. because she hates hanging around her apartment with her dad, her overbearing mother, and annoying older sister. Julie P. is totally impressed with Julie B.'s fantastic wardrobe - the girl always has the latest jeans and the best brands. At first, Julie P. can't understand how she can afford everything, and then she learns the truth - Julie B. loves to shoplift. And she wants Julie P. to join in the fun.
What starts out as a harmless adventure begins to turn into an obsession for both the girls. The risks carry over into their social lives, too. Worried about being too good and too nice, Julie P. begins to smoke and drink with Julie B. at parties thrown for upperclassmen. She is determined to get her first kiss - and even more if she can.
Just when Julie P. thinks her life is about as good as it can get, the bubble bursts. How she handles this sudden crisis is about to change her life forever. All she knows is that her parents do not trust her, her friends are dropping her, and she can't make any relationship work out.
Jenny Pollack brings the 1980's back with her debut novel set in New York City. Pop culture references are everywhere and the retro tone will appeal to teen readers. Regardless of the time setting, teens will relate to Julie P.'s desire to fit in and how hard it is to resist peer pressure.
Give KLEPTO a try - it's definitely addicting.
i read this book for fun but then it was so good that i used it for an english project. it was different-- like the conflict of stealing-- but it was a really good book-- you should read it
Klepto was an auesome book about two friends and their issues with shoplifting. There is a lot of other drama intertwined with the shoplifting inncluding boys, make-outs, break ups, and wars. I recomend this book to anyone who knows life!! much love! holla!
Julie Prodsky is absolutely thrilled, yet anxious, to start at the famed High School of the Performing Arts in New York City. Julie feels like such a loser compared to all the talented and smart students in her freshman class, not to mention the upperclassmen. She worries about fitting in, and can't believe her luck when popular, pretty Julie Braverman notices her in the crowd and invites her to hang out at school. The Julies' friendship starts to intensify, which thrills Julie P. because she hates hanging around her apartment with her dad, her overbearing mother, and annoying older sister. Julie P. is totally impressed with Julie B.'s fantastic wardrobe - the girl always has the latest jeans and the best brands. At first, Julie P. can't understand how she can afford everything, and then she learns the truth - Julie B. loves to shoplift. And she wants Julie P. to join in the fun. What starts out as a harmless adventure begins to turn into an obsession for both the girls. The risks carry over into their social lives, too. Worried about being too good and too nice, Julie P. begins to smoke and drink with Julie B. at parties thrown for upperclassmen. She is determined to get her first kiss - and even more if she can. Just when Julie P. thinks her life is about as good as it can get, the bubble bursts. How she handles this sudden crisis is about to change her life forever. All she knows is that her parents do not trust her, her friends are dropping her, and she can't make any relationship work out. Jenny Pollack brings the 1980's back with her debut novel set in New York City. Pop culture references are everywhere and the retro tone will appeal to teen readers. Regardless of the time setting, teens will relate to Julie P.'s desire to fit in and how hard it is to resist peer pressure. Give KLEPTO a try - it's definitely addicting. **Reviewed by: Samantha G.
Both of my teenagers daughter read this book with zest. Neither of them love to read and it was exciting for me to see them reading and discussing this book. They discussed the taboo subject of stealing with their friends and all decided it was a really bad thing to do and involved risks they would not be willing to take.
This is a good book that deals with alot of things that young girls deal with. It is real good that the author wrote from her experince and she is coming from what she did when she was younger and coming by writing a book