Gemma Riley and the Fashion FIasco by Jules Van Mil
Published by Pan Macmillan
Gemma Riley and the Fashion Fiasco is a wonderfully written book that had me engrossed from beginning to end. It has a little bit of everything – family, friendship, mystery, determination, and one thing that I was really championing for throughout the whole book, if you believe you can, no matter your age then anything is possible.
Let’s start at the beginning and let me tell you what the book is actually about. Gemma Riley lives with her very talented grandmother, affectionately known as Cara, who is a famous fashion designer. Fashion is part of Gemma’s DNA, and she dreams of creating her own collection one day. But all is not as it seems at the House of Bonafete with someone stealing their top-secret Spring Collection designs. Fortunately, Gemma has her best friend Hannah and her ginger cat Mr D. to help her uncover what exactly is going on.
There are some pretty special aspects to this book that give it the unique feel that it has. If I was a tween, I would absolutely love the instructions for a sewing project at the end of some of the chapters that they mention in the book. At the very end of the book, they have the whole set of instructions in one place.
The other really fantastic addition to the book is that throughout all the chapters you will notice some tiny paw prints. These are concerning some words the reader may not be familiar with, such as notcher, garments and toiles; the meaning of what can be found in the glossary on page 307.
As mentioned above, one of my favourite aspects of the book is that you can do anything if you believe in yourself. Gemma believes that she can create a fashion line, and she not only has confidence in her ability but so does others around her. She is passionate about fashion, and even though she is a tween, she doesn’t let her age stop her. I think it is healthy for children to be able to be confident within themselves and believe that they can. Gemma speaks up, and it has a wonderful outcome for her.
This book reads really well, it keeps you interested the whole way through, and there aren’t any lulls that make you want to stop and rest from it. I can’t really put it into words that make sense to anyone, but I felt really encouraged that Australian tweens were going to be able to read a book that has been really well written, where the story was about something other than boy/girl relationships and allows them to explore a world where they are encouraged to be themselves.
Thank you Jules Van Mil for opening up your world to readers
Thank you Pan Macmillan for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book