This Year's Model
Carol Alt
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Buy *This Year's Model* by Carol Alt online

This Year's Model
Carol Alt
Avon A
272 pages
August 2008
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Melody Ann Croft from New Jersey is about to hit it big. A fashion photographer “discovers” her waiting tables in her small-town restaurant and convinces her to give modeling a try. When she finally makes the call, she is thrust into a world of glamour and beauty, but also of lies and deceit.

Along with her new best friend, Jade, another model, she’s on her way to scoring lucrative contracts and ad deals. Not heeding Jade’s warning about dating male models, Melody (now conveniently nicknamed Mac) starts falling for Duncan, a beautiful male model with some down-home charm.

There’s just one problem with Mac’s new dream life: she has a potential full ride to Penn in the fall, and her parents will kill her if she gives it up to model. Also, her parents aren’t too thrilled about her modeling in the first place and have been less than supportive through the whole ordeal. In the end, Mac must choose who she wants to be: small-town Melody, who is valued for her brains, or model Mac, who is famous for her beauty. It’s a difficult decision that weighs heavily through the course of Carol Alt’s This Year's Model.

This Year's Model is a fun novel that reminds me a lot of Melissa Walker’s Violet on the Runway. Both girls are about to go to college. Both are “discovered” in their small towns and whisked off to a life of glamour. Both get caught up in their new lifestyles and make mistakes along the way. Both have a model friend who ends up disappointing them. It’s definitely not necessary to read both, so which do you choose? On one hand, Carol Alt knows the modeling business inside and out. Seeing as how she has been a coveted model for years, the reader knows that the “insider” information in her novel is genuine. She knows what she’s talking about.

However, on the other hand, Walker’s story is much more compelling. Violet is a more appealing character and the reader is more immersed in her life. Though both are good novels, Violet on the Runway is probably a better choice for most – though if you have room in your reading schedule for both, it certainly can’t hurt!

I was a bit disbelieving of Mac’s surprise at the dark sides of modeling. It seems that everyone is aware of the eating disorders, sex, drinking and drugs that come along with being a model; they splash the front pages of magazines every so often. It’s hard to believe that she wasn’t at least partially aware of the pitfalls of the industry, especially when a mere Internet search would reveal all she wanted to know and more.

I was impressed with Alt’s writing, clear and succinct - the book isn’t any longer than it needs to be. Her follow-up novel, Next Year’s Model, will likely continue Mac’s adventures, and hopefully at this point it will diverge from Walker’s novels. Alt shows a lot of promise as an auther, so here’s hoping that she breaks out of her shell and gives us a unique and interesting look at the world of modeling.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Swapna Krishna, 2009

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