The Time-Traveling Fashionista, by Bianca Turetsky, for Timeslip Tuesday

I'm envious of those who write their blog posts well in advance; every Tuesday I seem to be right down to the wire with my Timeslip book of the week. Fortunatly, this week's book was a fun, fast read, so I was able to finish it in time....and so, I offer

The Time-Traveling Fashionista, by Bianca Turetsky (Little Brown, 2011, middle grade, 272 pages)

Louise marches to her own drum when it comes to clothes--not for her the racks of the new and never worn. She's drawn to the vintage, and is fascinated by the name brands and designs of the past. So when a fancy invitation comes in the mail, inviting her to a vintage fashion show, she's thrilled to have a chance to do just the sort of shopping she loves, and maybe pick out a dress for the middle school dance while she's there.

And indeed, there is a dress waiting for her, a beautiful pink one. But when she puts it on, she's not in Connecticut anymore. Instead, she's on board a luxurious ocean liner, on of the White Star line, a hundred years in the past. And she's not her plain old 12 year-old, braces-wearing self anymore; she's a glamorous young film star, with enough beautiful dresses to make glad the heart of any fashionista.

At first, Louise relishes the her new life, despite the unpleasant fact of corsets...there's even an attractive young man interested in her, which makes nice change from middle school! Thanks to a fainting spell, she can pretend to have lost her memory, and happily her maid, Anna, is willing to help her move through her new life.

"The White Star Line" seems to offer all Louise could want...except for one small detail--she's on the Titanic. Which, of course, is about to hit an ice berg and sink.

Louise tries to warn the captain...but no one takes her seriously. Unless she can find a way to reverse her journey through time, she'll never get home again....

In general, it's a nicely simple, yet not unsatisfying story. The Titanic plot line was dealt with somewhat lightly--the horror is not front and center, but there's enough tension to make it interesting. I would have liked more actually sinking than the twenty pages that was all we got, but you can't have everything. On the plus side, Louise's reactions felt pretty spot on; again, not overwrought, but convincingly appalled.

What I really loved was how Louise had set herself to the serious study of fashion; it isn't just a passing fad, but a real part of who she is, and I appreciated her interest and expertise. The finished version of the book has thirty full-color fashion illustrations--they were only hinted at in the ARC I read, but they were more than enough to make me determined to take a look at the finished book as soon as I come across it! Just the descriptions of all the beautiful dresses were swoonworthy--with art, I bet this will be a book that will enchant any vintage-fashion-loving middle school girl.

Other reviews at Confessions of a Book Addict and TheHappyNappyBookseller

Note on age: Louise is in seventh grade, and the book only lightly touches on the YA subjects of love and teenage angst. So although it's marketed as YA, I say it's a great one for a girl of ten or eleven, and I think a teenager picking this up might find the story too slight to hold their interest.

(disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher)


  1. I wasn't going to buy any more pink books this year, but that cover! and you have convinced me we need this one. I didn't know it had the Titanic in it. I can totally sell Titanic books anywhere, anytime.

    Will you hate me forever if I tell you I am currently working on posts for September? *cough* I'm also planning library programs for 2012. I may need serious therapy.

  2. I was less enthused about the book (see review here, but I could definitely see our Middle School readers enjoying it.

  3. Yeah, I think it's definitly one for the middle schoolers! But I do really like books that have lots of detail about the character's interests and hobbies, so that helped make this one a pleasant read for me.

    And Jennifer, no, I don't hate you...you are too alien for me to hate :)

  4. I have to say I don't know ANY eleven-year-olds who do fashion, but that's just because I am a thorough-going slob, and fashionistas cross the street when they see me coming... I generally groan when I see time-travel books that include the Titanic, but this sounds like it's not too overwrought - that can only be good!

  5. But every generation has to discover the Titanic annew--the eleven year olds might not have seen the movie, for instance, and so come to it uncluttered by Leonardo baggage!

  6. You find the coolest books! Love the Time Travel Tuesdays!

  7. I've been looking forward to reading this for a while. I hadn't realized it was more middle-grade though... I was really expecting it to be YA, based on the cover and how it's been marketed. Now I won't be unpleasantly surprised when I pick it up.

  8. Thanks for the heads up about the MG/YA level. I had thought it was YA but now I know I can recommend it to my MG library kids. I can also now adjust my own expectations so I won't be disappointed.


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