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by Erica S. Perl

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 9th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-85923-6
Publisher: Knopf

Funky retro garb is the flashiest part of this unsurprising growth arc about insecurity and dishonesty. Ignorant of her age, The Clothing Bonanza hires Veronica, 15, to work third-floor consignment, sending items down to Dollar-a-Pound (first floor, wearable rags) or The Real Deal (second floor, vintage apparel). The solitary job is a dream for this friendless girl, who is accustomed to being rejected. Although she supposedly hasn’t trusted anyone since age ten, however, she’s implausibly quick to accept overtures from the dangerous retail girls of The Real Deal; she feels powerless to walk away but seems also to hope they might not be mean, despite incontrovertible evidence. Revulsion for Len, a frail, peculiar, lizard-collecting employee, shifts realistically into attraction, but both Len and Veronica undermine their budding romance with lies. While it’s hard to believe Veronica’s confusing pattern of trust/mistrust, readers may well be inspired to buy—or scavenge and alter—some hip outfits like her “poufy” ’50s skirts (hacked off from old prom dresses), “tulle crinoline” and bowling shirts. (Fiction. YA)