Sarah's Stars

Deb Loughead and Jocelyn Shipley. Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls
Sumach $12.95  ISBN 978-1-894549-76-9  186 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 15

Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls is a bit of a daunting title for an incredibly inviting book. From the opening letter from the editor to the last page of the book, I found myself caught up in the stories of real girls. The collection of stories from real Canadian writers ranges from all topics tame and taboo. There are lighter ones about makeup and body image, and heavier ones about dying mothers and homosexuality. My favourite story was Faceless on the Farm by Ann Sutherland, a cheeky collection of e-mails between the editor of a beauty magazine and a young girl growing up on a farm. Some other stories include a mother who Botoxes, a precocious tween who figures breast implants will make a boy like her, a daughter who eats an 11-pound taco and her mother's comical frustration and a girl's terrifying week at church camp.

All these stories combine to make a heartfelt journey through puberty and beyond that will inspire girls ages 12 and up. I thought it was funny, sad and most importantly, true. One thing I liked was it had the perfect mix of age-appropriate material. Some of the stories I could understand because I had been there before, but some of them I couldn't because I had not had that particular experience yet. Another aspect I appreciated about the book was at the end of each story, the author was able to give a short summary of the inspiration for their work, which was really quite helpful and interesting. All in all, Cleavage was a collection of short stories that tenderly and accurately chronicle the awkwardness and discomfort, as well as the grace and beauty of growing up as a girl. A must-read for all high-school teens.

I give Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls four out of five stars.


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