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Growing Up Beautiful: A Novel About Three Models in Milan Book Title: Growing Up Beautiful
Author: Lori Jones
Publisher: Lori Jones
Format Reviewed: Kindle eBook
Published On: October 2011
Length: 322 Pages
Price: $2.99
Genre:  Fiction, Chick-Lit

Book Description (from Amazon.com): In the summer of 1986, three young American women are chosen to join a modeling agency in Europe’s fashion capital of Milan.
United as roommates by chance, Star, Joanne and Casey soon find their dreamed-of careers as models taking paths as different as their personalities.
Star, who leaves behind her waitress job along with a handful of crumpled up dollar tips, sees her beauty as a way move to the top of Milan’s social strata.
Joanne, raised in a privileged lifestyle, is expected to continue an Ivy League education, which doesn’t interest her as much as a young photographer she meets on a casting.
Casey is a naïve seventeen year old who is ready for adventure, even the dangerous kind.
Together, these three learn the funny, unexpected and sometimes ugly truths about growing up beautiful.

My Review:

Growing Up Beautiful races quickly from the gate, introducing readers to the three main characters in the book and providing background information on them, including why each woman has decided to leave her home and accept an offer to model in Milan during the summer of 1986. The beginning also explains the modeling agency’s hierarchy, including who really holds the power to make or break a model’s chances at success in Milan.

I was immediately drawn into the world that the author created for her characters. The novel intertwines individual story lines for Star, Joanne, and Casey with experiences all three of them share in their new world of modelling and parties. At times I thought that the women were being treated more as ‘escorts’ than models, and I also wondered whether a seventeen-year-old (Casey), would really have been set loose in Milan without a chaperone to protect her, but accepted the author’s premise that it could happen.

This is a perfect book to read in the summer–I was able to immerse myself in the lives of young women who desperately want to succeed in a very-adult world and who are faced with multiple challenges, roadblocks, and questionable ethics in their  bids to become famous models.

Although I thought there were inconsistencies with some of the characters’ actions–for example when Star reminds her two room-mates that they have to appear worldly but then acts like a country hick right afterwards at a dinner party–I still enjoyed the story and thought the author did a good job with pacing and dialogue.

I was a bit disappointed when the book’s ending didn’t wrap the story lines up in neat bows, but when I read there will be a sequel to Growing Up Beautiful, I realized the book ended the only way it could for now. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to escape into another world for a while and I look forward to reading Lori’s next book.

My Rating: 5 Glasses of Wine!