If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they’d think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn’t know that all the plans she’s made for them are just dreams, and that she’s the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family.
When Amelia’s abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can’t imagine leaving Miami–and Ethan–for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan’s awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app.
As Liam and Amelia get closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The “new and improved” Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she’d have to make.
Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, released December 6th, 2016, in exchange for a honest review. These opinions are my own.
I went into Alterations expecting exactly what I’d heard about it–a slow start, a little bit too much about fashion, a likable main character, and a cute romance. It was all of those things, but every element was slightly different than I expected.
The beginning was actually the best part for me. Within it, I could see all the good things that people have said about the story. Amelia seemed like a sweet, lovestruck main character. Things were a bit cliché–the characters reminded me of people straight out of a Disney movie–but overall, I liked the way things were going. That is, until I realized how much the plot was slogging. You can get halfway through the book and still be stuck at the internship in New York talking about Amelia’s final project.
Now, that’s not to say I didn’t appreciate the internship aspect. I think it’s awesome that this book covered the idea of high school internships, and I tend to enjoy stories that cover teens and middle-graders who are passionate about something. It was great to see that side of Amelia, and I would’ve enjoyed it more had there been more substance to it.
Before I read Alterations, I read Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight’s review of it, and an important point that she touched upon is that fashion bores her. I’m in the same boat, so I braced myself for heavy fashion talk within the story.
Evidently, bracing myself wasn’t enough.
I ended up skimming the majority of the middle section, only stopping when there were important sections on Amelia’s growing relationships with her friends at the internship. There was enough plot to make it interesting, but, as Shannon also said, the pace picks up the mot toward the end of the story.
Looking back on it all, Amelia had a lot going for her when it comes to my opinion. She’s generally a nice person, she loves her family, and she’s passionate about something. These were all winning factors, but two things drove me away from her. The first is that I started to see more or her flaws when she started lying to the people at her internship about Ethan and Liam and the Laurentis in general. I understood where she was coming from and I’m glad that she learned from the experience, but what really bothered me is number two: her character growth.
While I like Amelia in general, she struck me as immature. At the start, I was hoping that maybe Scott was using that as a device to show development over time, and I was excited to see what she had in store. To my disappointment, Amelia doesn’t actually change that much over the course of the story. There are marked places where Scott tries to show how Amelia’s changed, but there’s no change in tone or actions or mindset.
And overall, most of the immature feeling I get from Amelia stems from the end of the book when she has to own up to the romance that’s built up. I’d say that the romance is cute and that most people will enjoy it, but it wasn’t for me. My idea of cute romance is Kasie West and Huntley Fitzpatrick, and this was more angst and drama than anything else to me.Most of Amelia’s narrative consists of either fashion or wondering about other people, and I wasn’t too keen on either. There were some good parts, but it just wasn’t for me.