Passion for Fashion, by Ellie Royce

[Note passed in class]
Mimi Afro! Want to start a lettabook with me?
Aphra What in the name of Sass’n’Bide is a lettabook?
Mimi It’s this mad thing Jess told me about. You get a book and you can stick stuff in it – memories of what you like, where you go, what you do and stuff.
Aphra That’s a scrapbook, dummy.
Mimi No! It’s different. you write letters to each other too. It’s like a scrapbook corssed with a blog, kinda. You wanna?
Aphra Sounds a bit retro.
Mimi Don’t B boring! It’ll be fun. It’ll be mad, like a retro Myspace, except just for us two. Come on!!!!
Aphra Okay, whatever. You start it and show me. but don’t send me any more notes. Ms Mills is giving me the evil eye.

Mimi and Aphra have been friends for the longest time. Until recently they lived two doors apart and attended the same primary school. Now they’re at the same secondary school but only share two classes. It’s not as easy for them to spend time together like they used to. So Mimi proposes a letterbook. In it, they continue the conversations that they have in person and add more. They are both fashion mad, although Mimi is interested in photography and journalism, and Aphra wants to be a model. They enter a competition in ‘Real Girl’ magazine for a fashion shoot at their school. Life is wonderful. But the letterbook also is a place for secrets, some unspoken. Mimi’s widowed mother is seeing someone and it seems to be moving way too fast. Aphra’s sister is getting married and the house is overwhelmed by wedding fever. The more they tell each other, the more secrets there seem to be.

Passion for Fashion is the second book in the Letterbook series from Ellie Royce and ABC Books. The cover art is bright and funky with photos of the girls and doodles and more. The idea of a letterbook begins with two 13 year old girls just wanting to keep in touch. But although the title alludes to teenage girls’ love of fashion, there are much deeper issues explored as well. Mimi and Aphra have very different family experiences. Mimi is an only child and lives with her widowed mother. Aphra has three sisters and one brother and is part of a traditional Greek family. The letterbook helps both girls work through the daily dramas of life and strengthens a relationship that helps both girls keep perspective. They begin to look at boys differently, experience responsibility, body image, explore new paths (not always successfully). Ellie Royce has produced another very readable, fast-moving story that sympathetically examines big and small issues that affect young teenage girls. Recommended for upper-primary readers.

Passion for Fashion, Ellie Royce
ABC Books,2008
ISBN: 9780733324864