Chloe By Design: Making the Cut

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(ARC copy given by NetGalley)
Author: Margaret Gurevich
Publishing House: Stone Arch Books
384 pages
Publication:  1st July 2014
Review by Lady Entropy

For viewers that love Project Runway comes a series that puts fashion at the forefront. 16-year-old Chloe Montgomery has always loved everything to do with fashion. Clothes, accessories, designing–she knows it all. And when she finds out Teen Design Diva, a new reality series for aspiring teenage designers, is holding auditions in her town, she’s desperate to win a spot on the show. She knows this is her chance to finally get her designs noticed. But before Chloe can realize her dreams, she has to survive the competition.

I have to confess I liked the designs a lot more than I liked the story, but I suspect that was because of problems with pacing. Chloe was endearing and passionate and so I was, obviously, rooting for her to win, so my few issues with this book came not from the characters but rather how it was organized.

It’s possible that this book would have worked better if split into two, allowing for the first part to be Chloe preparing for the competition, and the second being the competition itself — instead, whatever little conflicts there were, they had to be diminished because the “big payoff” was still to come. Plus, the competition section felt incredibly rushed through, with multiple challenges happening on top of each other, characters being shipped off in hordes and with flimsy excuses to reach as quickly as possible to the top three – even if the book is 400 pages long and a good chunk of it was dedicated to the competition.

Plus, Nina, who was the closest thing to a villain, was barely a villain — the worst thing she did was steal a hemline cutter — and it was so very easily replaced that it wasn’t even a challenge. There were was no conflict, no drama other than the main character stressing constantly with “Can I make this”. She doesn’t change, she doesn’t grow that much. And that is a huge pity because Chloe is likeable, has a good relationship with her mother and her friends and the rest of her family.

Still, maybe the next book will come out and we’ll see Chloe at her internship and the book will feel less rushed.

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