Almost 16, Veronica has lied about her age to get a job at the largest used-clothing store in the Northeast (“The Original Dollar-a-Pound!”). Veronica separates the wheat from the chaff, marking the true vintage for the “Real Deal” floor. Despite her weight, Veronica has an eye for fashion, which manifests itself in crinolines and bowling shirts (together) and sketching. She catches the eye of several of her coworkers, including mean girls Zoe and Ginger and a thin, twitchy guy she thinks of as the Nail. In her first novel, Perl masterfully sets her scene. The store, with its giant chute dumping clothes into “the pile” for the customers (aka “the pickers”), is almost a character in itself. But the author is also quite adept at writing people, especially the reptile-loving Nail, whose rejections and longings match Veronica’s. With her pigtails, bulk, and hybrid outfits, it’s hard to envision Veronica as the fashion icon others admire. But her story is filled with emotions (and language!) that are both earthy and real, and a romance that’s as complicated as it is sweet. Grades 9-12. --Ilene Cooper
Review, School Library Journal, February 2010:
"The protagonist is a self-described “fat girl” who is not obsessed with losing weight–a much-needed character in young adult fiction. An enjoyable read filled with quirky characters."Review, Booklist, February 2010:
"In her first novel, Perl masterfully sets her scene."