Braless in Wonderland by Debbie Reed Fischer

Came out: April 17, 2008

Pages: 224

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Format: Hardcover

Source: Library

Age Group: Young Adult

Allee Rosen is a lot of things: high school senior, overachiever, brain. The one thing Allee is not is supermodel material—at least that’s what she thinks until modeling scouts spot her and she moves to Miami to work with an elite modeling agency. Suddenly Allee is swept up in a whirlwind of designer labels, photo shoots, go-sees and some seriously backstabbing models. Will this fabulous new life go to her head? New author Debbie Reed Fischer offers readers a fresh, fun, and honest peek into the crazy and glamorous world of professional modeling.

I've gotten this book from the library so many times. I love it because it is honest. It doesn't say that modeling is trashy or that it's the best career ever, but it explores both sides. Allee prides herself on being a feminist and doens't want to model because she thinks it "exploits women's bodies". The only reason she even thinks about modeling is because her dream was to go to Yale and she didn't have enough money. She's just trying to afford tuition. But later, she discovers that it "celebrates women's bodies" and realizes that she loves to model.

I loved the drama, the setting, and the description. Every girl will live vicariously through Allee. I loved the Alice in Wonderland allusions and I loved the relationships. Allee meets so many great people there: Claudette, Summer, Brynn, Miguel, Dimitri, etc,. The unfolding relationships and fights were perfect in the book. Allee also realized so much about herself.

She grows closer with her sister and realizes what her family means to her and what her dream is. And I love the tagline,

"If you're reading this, you probably think this story is all about me and my glam career as a teen model, right? Wrong. Yes, I was the It Girl on South Beach for about a minute, but if you're expecting the tale of some top model who wins the heart of a rock star, adopts a third-world baby, launches her own clothing line, gets her own reality show (or at least, her own E! True Hollywood Story), and winds up on the cover of Us Weekly's Who's Hot issue, then I better warn you. That's not exactly what happened to me."

Intriguing right? I liked the complexity of life as a model. It has, but does not focus on, competition of booking shoots, backstabbing, acting, the idea of jobs, and the glam lifestyle. It also has a real honest look at it, like a drug addiction (not Allee though) and having to book jobs or be dropped. It involves the business aspect of it too. Did you know that Debbie Reed Fischer got some of her information about the industry from her experience as a model booker and is friends with a "TV/model agent Allee Newhoff". Is anybody else curious about inspiration for the name?

I loved this book. It's honest and fresh look at modeling is sure to be much appreciated by girls and by other people in the industry.

Recommended for people who like: Model; Miami; Debbie Reed Fischer; modeling; America's Next Top Model; Alice in Wonderland, etc,.

Possible book club questions:

How do you think Brynn got involved with Lucas?Allee was upset because everybody thought she was being funny at the Taboo commercial, although she was serious. Have you ever done something seriously and people thought you were joking?Why do you think Summer thought that Allee was a threat?Do you agree with Claudette's view about the industry and her body?Do you agree with Claudette's view about college?Do you think that Allee made the right choice?Why do you think people label people as certain things?*Allee says on p. 219, "Instead, I was too busy trying to make a point. A point that was wrong, way wrong. It sucked to admit crappy stuff about yourself," when thinking about her discussion with Sabrina. Do you think that this statement shows that she has grown while modeling?

*If you would like to delve more into that issue, check out Kody Keplinger's article on labeling. It deals more with a specific type of labeling, but still.