If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they'd think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn't know that all the plans she's made for them are just dreams, and that she's the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family. When Amelia's abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can't imagine leaving Miami--and Ethan--for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan's awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app. As Liam and Amelia grow closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The "new and improved" Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she'd have to make.
What I Liked:
First of all, I loved how the main character is Latina. It felt nice to be able to relate to her since I am also Hispanic and her life was one I could understand to a certain level of familiarity. The terms of endearment, love for soap operas or telenovelas, and the close-knit relationship between the main character and her grandmother made me smile throughout the novel. It's been a long time since I read a book without the general and cliché representation we always get in literature, so it was comforting to read a book where it was handled well.
Besides the Latina main character, I also found Alterations to be extremely relatable since Amelia has a passion for Pinterest and Instagram, something that any book lover will definitely see themselves in if they use these social media platforms. A year ago I might have not understood the call of Instagram and interacting with your followers, but now I do and I enjoyed the references in this book.
It wasn't until after I finished Alterations that I learned that this book is a retelling of Audrey Hepburn's movie Sabrina, so curious to learn more about the inspiration behind this book, I immediately went to see it and ended up finding a new classic to love! What's more, I found myself loving the characters from Alterations even more since I couldn't help myself from imagining them when I watched the movie. This truly made my reading experience even better and would recommend anyone to do this too when they read Alterations!
And I cannot not mention the cute romance in this book. Amelia is torn between two dashing Laurenti boys who couldn't be more opposites from each other. Ethan is the striking popular guy who Amelia has had a crush for ages, and then there's Liam, the nerdy cute guy who loves tech. I always knew who I was vying for from the start, but I still enjoyed reading about this sweet love triangle.
What Didn't Do It For Me:
While Amelia and her Abuelita have a great relationship, I was a bit let down with the relationship she has with her mother (and her mother's personality). Amelia loves her mother and respects her, but I don't think her mother deserves a daughter like Amelia. She's supposed to be a good role model for Amelia, but she lies about a few things that didn't sit well with me. She also has some feeble excuses for not pursuing her dreams and it's a bit hard to believe that Amelia's Abuelita would have let her get sidetracked for that long. It kind of goes against their values, and to be honest, I wanted a good mother for the main character for once. It's starting to be something unheard of in YA literature.
I was also expecting more from the first half of the story, when Amelia goes to her internship to New York. She spends her time working hard with her project (which I admired!) but not much happens besides her spinning an impressive web of lies. This is where I wanted to feel the beginning of many butterflies in my stomach, but I didn't until much later.
Alterations is a great contemporary read where you will not only get a hard-driven Latina main character with a love for fashion, but also a great spin to Audrey Hepburn's movie, Sabrina. Definitely recommend!