The Fashion Committee By Susan Juby (Penguin, 305 pages, $21.99, ages 12 and up)
Clothing has always been a big feature in Juby’s writing: here it’s the focal point. Charlie has always loved the possibilities of fashion, and when she sees an ad for a scholarship to a private arts school, she’s determined to compete. The same day, surly John also decides to compete. The story progresses through alternating “fashion journals” - but the journals become as much confessionals as design notebooks. Charlie’s father has been in and out of drug rehab, and her realistic assessment of his behaviour, and her own balanced sense of the limits of her responsibility give this novel unusual depth.