Tales From My Closet

( 1 )

Overview


Five girls. A paper dress. Tons of shoes. One unforgettable raincoat. White Jeans. Secrets. Drama. Friends?

For Justine, Bianca, Becka, Polly, and Anne, living in Westfield, New Jersey is "life on planet toilet paper." At least that's how Justine feels when she shows up as the new girl in school wearing a Scott Paper Caper dress. To her, it's a super-original fashion statement. But other "loser freaks" don't agree.

The other girls have their ...

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Tales From My Closet

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Overview


Five girls. A paper dress. Tons of shoes. One unforgettable raincoat. White Jeans. Secrets. Drama. Friends?

For Justine, Bianca, Becka, Polly, and Anne, living in Westfield, New Jersey is "life on planet toilet paper." At least that's how Justine feels when she shows up as the new girl in school wearing a Scott Paper Caper dress. To her, it's a super-original fashion statement. But other "loser freaks" don't agree.

The other girls have their own fashion issues, ranging from fabulous boots to raggedy pajamas to what to wear to therapy. Told in alternating voices, TALES FROM MY CLOSET follows the stories of high school kids who have nothing in common--and everything in common. They're at war with each other, but through their clothes, they reveal and conceal themselves and make peace with what it means to be a teen. Over the course of a school year, their individual struggles and successes come together to tell a story that's funny, honest, and all-girl fabulous.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/21/2013
Five tenth-grade girls rotate narration duties on a bumpy road to friendship in Moses’s busy YA debut about families and fashion. Beautiful Becka’s life looks perfect, but she struggles with her therapist mother’s tendency to feature their relationship in her self-help books, as well as a disappointing crush on a French university student. Newcomer Justine discovers some unpleasant truths about her parents’ marriage, and her funky vintage clothes don’t seem right in suburban New Jersey. After a summer internship with a fashion designer, Becka’s often-overshadowed friend Robin tries to find her confidence and style as her family copes with her father’s alcoholism. Petite Ann finds a personal style when she inherits her grandmother’s 1950s clothing, but struggles to assert her interest in art and fashion to her practical mother. Less fashion-obsessed is swimmer Polly, who is anxious about her athletic figure, her coach, and her single mother’s dating. Five narrators with stories that mostly tangentially overlap make for an enormous and sometimes confusing cast of characters, but budding fashionistas will enjoy the detailed discussions of clothing, style, and identity. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Five friends entering tenth grade at West Falls High School each have emotional baggage and an interest in fashion. Short Justine, the new girl at the school, wears a paper dress she bought just before her family moved from San Francisco. Although the dress was considered super cool there, it is not so well-received in New Jersey. Tall and drop-dead gorgeous, raven-haired Becka is missing Paris, as well as twenty-six-year-old Arnaud, the stereotypically debonair French heartthrob she met there. She wears the scarf and raincoat she got from him as part of her first-day-of-tenth-grade ensemble. Becka’s best friend, “shopaholic” Robin, has enjoyed a summer internship in Manhattan with Becka’s aunt, super famous fashion designer Libby Pine. Banned from spending money, Robin gets creative with pajama tops or bottoms paired with classy looking belts and tank tops—all bought on sale with babysitting money—and is complemented for her style. Polly is a swimmer who obsesses over the size of her butt, as well as any money her mother spends on her, since her father split from them many years ago. She and Mommy visit her paternal grandfather in his nursing home at least once a week. Ann’s parents want her to focus on academics so she gets into Princeton as her sister has, but Ann wants to be a fashion blogger and do all the drawing. She is super petite, feels like she looks like a ten-year-old, and has a tendency to be a blabbermouth. When her maternal grandmother gives her some vintage clothes, Ann feels transformed. The girls change during the school year and come to terms with themselves and their problems. This is a nicely told story, with real characters and real dreams. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan; Ages 12 up.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-23
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001) meets The Devil Wears Prada (2003) in this lighter-than-air chick lit about five young fashionistas in training. Each chapter showcases one of the girls and highlights her personal issue with a telltale item from her closet. New girl Justine tries to hide the fact that her parents' marriage is crumbling behind her obsession with a paper dress from the 1960s. Model-perfect Becka may own a Donna Karan raincoat, but it doesn't protect her from her therapist mom's intrusive questions. Stylish Robin wears pajamas as regular clothes since her shopping addiction has left her penniless. Sporty Polly is a championship swimmer, but she's afraid the white designer jeans she adores will only make her large posterior look even wider. Preppy Ann hopes that if she ditches her Gap duds in favor of her grandmother's vintage threads, she will lose the academic pressure her parents put on her as well. When they all come together in the same New Jersey high school, predictable drama ensues. And even though the endings aren't all happy, the girls learn that they can depend on each other, and on their wardrobes, in times of crisis. While the voices are virtually indistinguishable from one another and the writing leans heavily toward the stereotypical and the clichéd, this artfully designed package doesn't seem to care about general audiences. For junior Project Runway wannabes. (Fiction. 12-15)
School Library Journal
01/01/2014
Gr 7–10—In a story reminiscent of Ann Brashares's The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Delacorte, 2001), this novel intertwines the lives of five teens who use fashion as a means of coping with the problems in their lives. Justine's sense of fashion is the one constant in her life as she is bounces from city to city to accommodate her distant father's job. Becka takes comfort in designer clothing as a means of escaping her mother, a psychologist who exposes Becka in her parenting books. Robin's obsession with fashion helps her hide the pain of living with an abusive, alcoholic father. To compensate for her father abandoning the family, Polly's mother indulges her with designer clothes when she can. Ann lives in the shadow of her older, overachieving sister until she discovers her sense of self through her grandmother's vintage wardrobe. An accident, rumored to be a suicide attempt, involving Becka initially pushes the girls apart, but when the facts surrounding the incident come out, they become closer than ever, and the book ends on a positive note. In a time when so many books written for teens push the envelope, this one manages to touch upon current issues without going too far or putting them center stage.—Nicole Knott, Watertown High School, CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545516082
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 679,354
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Jennifer Moses is a writer whose byline and media presence have touched the lives of teens for more than two decades. Her articles, essays, short stories and columns appear regularly in THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, THE WASHINGTON POST, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, and more. In TALES FROM MY CLOSET, Jennifer draws from her experience as a frequent NPR-trends commentator and lifestyle reporter. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with a closet full of to-die-for clothes.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 12, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    Loved the alternating stories throughout the book. Huge of famil

    Loved the alternating stories throughout the book. Huge of family secrets, financial instabilities, denial, self-image, self-discovery, teenage hormones, and a fashion sense that will drive them crazy! With the alternating stories, you got the insight of all the girl’s thoughts, and how everything played out. Of course all the girls have a connection that is bound to be nothing but true friends.
    The story was very well put together, inviting, and you can really see how this could easily be a true life story. My only downfall was some of the characters lacked building, and I would love to known more about them. However, it is definitely worth a read and will recommend to those would love Young Adult.

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