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Tales From My Closet Hardcover – January 28, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7–10—In a story reminiscent of Ann Brashares's The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Delacorte, 2001), this novel intertwines the lives of five teens who use fashion as a means of coping with the problems in their lives. Justine's sense of fashion is the one constant in her life as she is bounces from city to city to accommodate her distant father's job. Becka takes comfort in designer clothing as a means of escaping her mother, a psychologist who exposes Becka in her parenting books. Robin's obsession with fashion helps her hide the pain of living with an abusive, alcoholic father. To compensate for her father abandoning the family, Polly's mother indulges her with designer clothes when she can. Ann lives in the shadow of her older, overachieving sister until she discovers her sense of self through her grandmother's vintage wardrobe. An accident, rumored to be a suicide attempt, involving Becka initially pushes the girls apart, but when the facts surrounding the incident come out, they become closer than ever, and the book ends on a positive note. In a time when so many books written for teens push the envelope, this one manages to touch upon current issues without going too far or putting them center stage.—Nicole Knott, Watertown High School, CT

From Booklist

When Justine moves from San Francisco to New Jersey, she is dismayed by how out-of-place she looks—and feels. Justine is certain that the girls she meets on her first day at school are all laughing at her retro-hip clothing style. Moses then switches from Justine’s point of view to the perspective of gorgeous Becka, who was indeed fiendishly rude to Justine. But Becka has reasons for her simmering anger; her mother is a therapist who writes about adolescent behavior, using Becka as source material. Each subsequent chapter is taken up by another character: Robin, who dresses her lean body in stylish pajamas; Polly, an athlete who thinks that her body is too big; and Ann, a petite girl embarrassed by her undeveloped body. Friendship tentatively grows among the girls, but it takes a tragedy for them to realize how damaging obsessing about appearances can be. In this quick, slightly repetitive read that recalls Ann Brashares’ Traveling Pants series, the characters find support for all aspects of their lives through their common love of fashion. Many young women will relate to the clothing experiments as an expression of the quixotic search for self, and its parallel search for the romantic other. Grades 9-12. --Diane Colson

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (January 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545516080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545516082
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,560,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In Tales from My Closet, Ms. Moses so aptly captures the venom that spews from the mouths of teens, that I find myself fantasizing about a trip back in time to punch Teen-Aged Me in the face and to hug my mom very tightly. The unlikely union of five teen-age fashionistas, each experiencing unrelated, yet equally concerning issues at home, immediately pulled me into the fascinating, eerily familiar tales.

Uniquely unapologetic, the unabashed, free-flung, nastiness of Spoiled-Rich-Fashionista feels down-right insulting. And also, terribly sad and desperate. Vintage-Fashionista, the initial and most frequent narrator, is the quintessential-know-it-all-dramatically-impatient-daughter that I was. And, of course, all of my girlfriends were.

Fabulous-in-Lingerie brings a harsh, yet crucial reminder that even if it seems like a person’s problems are frivolous, there could be more behind the scenes. Ann, Fantastic-in-Fifties, reluctantly realizes that moms were daughters once, too and that moms, grandmas, and “perfect” sisters make mistakes and have secrets. Huge Smile All-Varsity Girl rounds out the cast, providing a perfect example of things not being at all as they appear.

Fabulously, each fashionista presents her own version of the tumultuous year together. This enriches the story as it provides not only a deeper and more thorough understanding of each character; but also because the reader “sees” more about the family unit and the individual parents and siblings.

I believe Tales provides a rare and welcome opportunity for a Mom and her Daughter(s) to read the same book, at the same time. Not just because it packs a powerful punch, but because it is also bitingly witty, sweet, funny and captivating.
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Format: Hardcover
In Tales from My Closet, readers are dropped straight into the lives of five very different girls -- Becca, Justine, Robin, Polly and Ann. The novel alternates between their stories successfully, tying them all together with how clothing plays a part in each girl's life. (It also helps that they live in the same area, and go to the same school, of course.) While I do think that each girl's story could have been granted a little more depth, Tales from My Closet was fun to read.

Tales from My Closet worked well for me because the author gave me something I could identify with in each girl’s experience. By sharing the lives of these five girls, Moses offers up a range of experiences including romance, self-discovery and family problems. Many of the things these girls go through will strike readers as familiar, capturing precisely how it might actually have felt.

Out of the five mentioned above, my favorite girls are Ann and Robin. Ann definitely has a lot of the qualities that I possess – awkwardness, a sense of duty to my parents, an interest in more creative endeavors. It was quite fun to read something that mirrored a big part of my own teenage experience when reading about Ann’s life. I also really enjoyed her relationship with her grandmother!

Robin, on the other hand, is determined to chase after her dreams of working in fashion, and refuses to be deterred by money or her parent’s wishes. While she’s not perfect (particularly when it comes to curbing her spending), she’s pretty darn cool. I admired her tenacity, her courage to pursue what she wanted and how hard she worked to get to where she wanted to go.

I did expect a lot more gravity, though.
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Format: Hardcover
Loved the alternating stories throughout the book. Huge of family secrets, financial instabilities, denial, self-image, self-discovery, teenage hormones, and a fashion sense that will drive them crazy! With the alternating stories, you got the insight of all the girl’s thoughts, and how everything played out. Of course all the girls have a connection that is bound to be nothing but true friends.
The story was very well put together, inviting, and you can really see how this could easily be a true life story. My only downfall was some of the characters lacked building, and I would love to known more about them. However, it is definitely worth a read and will recommend to those would love Young Adult.
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Format: Hardcover
Justine's fashion sense keeps her on keel. She needs it because her family has just moved again, this time to New Jersey. It's dogged hot, all the kids her age, she's fifteen, are at the beach it seems and her best friend is back in San Francisco. Her forced meeting with Becka, the elegant, but snooty girl living across the street, is an epic disaster, leaving Justine tongue tied, but determined to make a fashion statement with her antique paper dress on the first day of school.
As other kids encounter her that day, their reactions are varied, from cool to ugh! But Justine's so unnerved by her perception that nobody likes her, or the dress, she comes home and shreds it. We are introduced in depth to four other girls she meets that first day in alternating chapters. Becka whose mother is a therapist and has been writing teen oriented psychology books while using her daughter as the supposedly anonymous subject. Ann, who's very small and hates being compared to her 'robotgirl' older sister, but can't tell her mom she's in love with art, because she's supposed to become a lawyer or something similar. Robyn, Becka's best friend, who loves fashion, but has a mother who thinks she's a shopping addict and a law professor dad who is an untreated alcoholic and Polly, daughter of a single mom, because her father supposedly abandoned the family when she was little. Polly's a sweetie and an excellent swimmer who obsesses about what she thinks is an oversized butt that makes it impossible to look good in any outfit.
Told in alternating chapters related to what they wear, what's in their closets and how they gradually become drawn into their own collective universe, sometimes gracefully, often painfully, this is a smart, sometimes funny, very emotional book.
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