Confidentially Yours #6: Vanessa's Design Dilemma
When middle school style gurus Vanessa Jacobs and Katie Kestler decide to hold a fashion show to introduce their clothing line to the entire town, they’re beyond thrilled to learn that a buyer from a local boutique will be attending. This is their chance to break into the fashion world! But when Vanessa advertises runway model tryouts at school, she encounters a posting that uses the Lincoln Letters advice column to encourage students to guess the identities of the anonymous students who have been writing to the newspaper about their embarrassing problems.
To make matters worse, Vanessa and Katie encounter a major creative dilemma that could jeopardize their reputation as designers. With the future of their fashion show on the line and Lincoln’s Letters facing potential extinction, will Vanessa be able to catch the Advice Column Killer in the act and still pull off a successful runway show? Or will it be lights, camera, disaster?
Fashion, cybersecurity and kindness
Katie and Vanessa are launching their KV fashion line at the school fashion show, and they are excited to find out that a buyer from the local boutique, Lazenby's, is going to be there. Vanessa thinks this might be their big chance, but when she investigates the sort of fashions the store carries, she wonders if her designs will make the cut. Heather frequently wears clothes from the boutique, and while Vanessa doesn't want to criticize them, she thinks they look like "grandma clothes"! This makes her want to rethink the whole line, but she has to convince Katie to do this. It doesn't help her stress level to find out that someone is taking the advice columns for the school paper and exposing the writers and their problems. Can the girls have a successful fashion show AND track down The Advice Column Killer (even if that name really alarms the adults involved)?
While some of this stretched my credulity (are their local clothing boutiques anywhere anymore? And would tweens actually shop at one if it existed?), I loved the details of Katie and Vanessa's business. The details about sewing and producing garments were very realistic, right down to the expense of the fabric and the time involved. The girls have to work together, and while they sometimes have creative differences, they manage to remain friends. Fashion can be a big interest for middle school girls, and I liked how Vanessa was able to think about what she and her friends thought was cool but balance it out with the fact that Lazenby's already had an established "look'.
Readers will also enjoy the mystery of the person who is revealing details about people who were seeking advice, and it leads to an interesting lesson about confidentiality and kindness.
Fans of DeVillers Lynn Visible or Chloe Taylor's Sew Zoey series will find the fashion details to be fun, and readers who like series about girls working together will also find this to be a good choice. Whittemore has some stand alone titles in addition to the Confidentially Yours series, and they are all nicely formatted, realistic tween tales.