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?
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.