This summer, despite my best intentions to read the two enormous crate of tween books I brought home from school, I have spent much of my time reading adult books. So, finally, finally I read a tween novel (not even from the crates I brought home).
Your Friend in Fashion, Abby Shapiro by Amy Axelrod has many things going for it. Set in 1959-1960, I loved this time period. Abby is up enough on current events that she knows about Jackie Kennedy, recognizing her flair for fashion. Abby also has a flair for fashion and pens many letters to Jackie accompanied by some sketches of different outfits she has designed for Senator Kennedy's wife. At first Abby is designing these outfits as a way to earn money so she can purchase her own Barbie doll - a recent trend. Abby is dealing with a few things at home as well. Her parents fight often and her home situation is unique. Abby's family lives with her mother's two brothers and sister, all who have never married. There are issues with a mean girl at school, Abby's desire to wear a bra, and her family's history and Jewish faith.
Abby is such a likeable character. She struggles with many things tweens will understand, and her letters to Jackie are a way in which she can express her thoughts and feelings. Axelrod includes many sketches of Abby's clothign designs (Axelrod's own sketches from her childhood). While Abby's relationship with her father is not a happy one, she does have the support of the rest of her family, and while some girls might have tried to hide her father's abusive behavior, Abby shares everything in her letters to Mrs. Kennedy.
I loved this book and will be passing it along to many tween readers, too.
Check out another review at Fourth Musketeer.