Alterations - Stephanie Scott

Get a peek at the kisses behind the seams in this diverse YA retelling of Sabrina set in the glam fashion world.

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 get 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.

 

I had pretty mixed feelings about this book, but entirely felt rather apathetic.

 

The first half was devoted to Amelia's internship in New York City. The biggest problem I had with this was that the blurb had basically already summarized this entire section. Maybe had I not read this blurb I'd have been more exciting, but I knew what was going to happen and I just felt like reading it actually happen was redundant. The entire book could have been cut in half and started after that part and it still would have made sense. I was also less fond of how Amelia's grandmother submitted her application for an internship--this felt fake to me. If the internship was as competitive as it sounded and Amelia received a scholarship, then it seems like she would have put more time into short answer questions etc. in order to have a competitive application.

 

Amelia is less than honest to her new friends about her life at home and I didn't really understand her motivations behind that. She's characterised as being quite shy, but she doesn't feel that way when she's socialising and going out to New York parties. I felt conflicted about how to view her, and I didn't really have a strong understanding of her as a character. It frustrated me that, while she spent a lot of time making herself really cool sounding clothes, she was constantly putting them down.

 

I really enjoyed the trope of Amelia having crushed on a boy for basically her entire life without really knowing him. This felt very realistic and I also saw her growing up a little bit as she realised how little she knew him. I also adored her passion for fashion--though I could really care less about clothing, it was fantastic that she had some aspect of herself that she really cared about and spent a lot of time on. Seeing her realise how many different directions she could take also felt very real as it is something many teens face.

 

While there were aspects about this book that irked me a little in addition to its strengths, this book just didn't make much of an impact on me. It was an enjoyable read, but I felt often as though I was rushing through the pages because I had predicted (correctly) how it was all going to end based on the blurb.