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

The Letterbook 1 – Amy's Secret, by Ellie Royce

Hey, Ames!
Haven’t really caught up with you since the holidays u r looking a bit down.
I was wondering if you wanna start a letterbook with me?
While I was on hols in Tassie, my cousin Hannah showed me this book. It was just a school exercise book okay, but it was all decorated and glittered up. Inside, she and her friend Olivia had taken turns writing letters to each other, but not just letters – there were photos, stuff cut out from magazines, tickets from movies they saw together, even choccie wrappers!

Hey, Jess, sounds like fun. Thanx
Got a book?
love Ames

Hey, Ames, r u okay? What’s up? I’ve got a book at home. I’ll give it 2 u tomorrow k? I still can’t believe we’re finally in HIGH SCHOOL!!!! Too bad we’ve only got this one class together, but I’ll give it to you at break or at lunch.
love Jess

Jess and Amy were friends at primary school. Not best friends, but friends. Now they’ve started Year Seven and are only in one class together. Jess wants to start a letterbook. The rules are simple really. Write whatever you want, about anything you want. What’s written in the letterbook is secret and can’t be shared with anyone else without permission. Even if that secret is huge. Jess and Amy forge a deep friendship as they adjust to the differences of being in secondary school and the changing nature of their individual lives.

Amy’s Secret visits two 13 year old girls as they enter secondary school. It uses the letterbook format, where the girls write in the book alternately, sharing their lives. The letterbook can be decorated and can include all sorts of things like tickets and decorations and notes written elsewhere and stuck in. Jess and Amy have quite different families and many of the early entries reflect this. Mostly the entries are conversational and include mannerisms of the age group and of the individual girls. Other entries report the action like a screenplay. The fonts are different for each girl, and the doodles and stickers reflect the mood of the entries. Thirteen year old girls are often seen as silly and shallow. Amy’s Secret is a realistic story and shows that beneath the surface, some girls are dealing with almost unimaginable challenges. Recommended for upper primary-early secondary age readers.

The Letterbook 1: Amy’s Secret, Ellie Royce
ABC Books 2008
ISBN: 9870733322020