Violet on the Runway by Melissa Walker
In her debut novel, Violet on the Runway, Melissa Walker gives readers a fun, voyeuristic peek at the modeling world while also addressing some more serious issues, like self-confidence and staying true to yourself. Walker is a former writer and editor for Elle Girl, which gives Violet on the Runway a welcome sense of authenticity.
Violet is just your typical high school senior, albeit taller and skinnier than most. It makes her stick out, and not in a good way. Yeah, I know, most of us (okay, I) would like to be tall and skinny, but for Violet, all this does is draw unwanted attention and make her self-conscious.
While Violet is working at a movie theater, a pushy, complaining lady is arguing about show times. Turns out the lady is Angela Blythe of Tryst Models, and once she gets a look at Violet, she thinks Violet could be IT. You know, IT, as in the next big (figuratively speaking) thing. Violet’s not sure how her best friends Julie and Roger will react, and she doesn’t think she’d be a good model, but for some reason, she decides to give modeling a try. She goes to New York for Fashion Week thinking she’s in over her head, but Angela Blythe was right. Violet is the darling of the shows; magazines and designers want her modeling for them. Violet may have conquered Fashion Week, but winning over others, including fellow Tryst model Veronica Trask, won’t be so easy.
Violet starts off a shy wallflower but is forced to mature quickly once she moves to New York. I didn’t fully buy Violet’s rapid shift in personality and thought her voice could have been clearer, more consistent. Still, I liked that Violet was a nice, normal girl, as was her family. And even though the secondary characters were a bit flat (not unusual in first-person narratives), several were interesting enough to make me want to read their stories, as well.
Although I liked Violet on the Runway well enough, I’m not sure I’ll read Walker’s next book, Violet By Design. I was sufficiently satisfied with where she left Violet that I don’t feel compelled to read her next adventure(s). I’d prefer reading the same events told in Violet on the Runway from the point of view of Veronica, Julie, and/or Jake instead.