TJ Burns — December 2016
Alterations is an entertaining and refreshing new take on the age-old “Sabrina” story. In the original Sabrina story, Sabrina goes off to learn how to “be a lady” — I like much more the idea that Amelia is going off to perfect a skill, as is the case in Alterations. Amelia already has a knack for sewing and fashion design when the story begins. She also has some self-confidence about this skill, enough to jump in and save the day for the prom-goers.
I also like that the two boys in this story are closer to her own age than in the original, and they are both rather likable, in their own ways. Ethan is charming, and friendly. I can see how Amelia would be charmed… but they are not friends and Amelia doesn’t really know him. She doesn’t know Liam either. Liam is the computer geek, lacking social skills, but has the honesty to say what he thinks (even if he can’t yet quite communicate it effectively).
Amelia’s collaboration with Amy and Jimmy when she gets to design school proves to be instrumental toward her recognizing her own skills. It’s great that Amelia is forced into a leadership position by default. It could easily have been otherwise. She could have been in a group with two self-confident, worldly, experienced designers, in which case she would have certainly clammed up and floated into the background. Clearly Amelia has something to offer the group, and it is so cool that the other two members recognize this.
I loved the way Amelia grows, recognizes that she has some definite talents. Des’s coaching definitely helps, though we discover Des has some issues to be overcome as well. Tess and Avery’s praise of Amelia’s sowing skills and their admission that they lack theses skills gives Amelia a chance to teach them — and helps Amelia to realize that she actually has something to contribute. It soon becomes clear that even the seemingly self-confident participants in design school all feel a bit insecure, and most seem to be considered a bit strange or eccentric back in their own environments.
The end of the story sort of peters out, however. A lot of issues, like the big build up around Amelia’s tangled web of lies, just fade into nothingness.
The writing is very good. The story flows nicely. The dialogue (except during the last 10%) is fun, clever, and at times refreshingly original. The characters are likable, although I only felt depth with Liam and Amelia. I would have liked more depth with Ethan, Haylo, Amelia’s mom, and Maya, for example. Des and Amy get reduced to an after-thought during the second half and that’s too bad.
Alterations is an entertaining and fun read! I liked watching Ameila grow, discover her own talents, develop some self-confidence, and figure out what it is that she really wants, both in matters of career and matters of the heart.
Published December 6th 2016 by Bloomsbury Spark
I received a copy of this book from Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
You can find this book at: