Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings by Sophia Bennett
Sophia Bennett’s Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings is a very pink book, and I don’t just mean because of the cover’s abundant use of the color. I mean this is YA chick lit in the best possible girls-who-are-friends-not-frenemies-lots-of-fashion-and-it’s-set-in-LONDON kind of way. It’s not the most realistic and plausible book out there, but the writing and characters are so generous, charming, and delightful that I was completely won over.
Basically, if you’re looking for something light and fun, substantial enough that it won’t be quickly forgotten or feel disposable without being heavy, and is simply a huge pleasure to read, I highly recommend this. It’s the closest thing to Steve Kluger’s My Most Excellent Year that I’ve read since My Most Excellent Year.
Nonie can’t draw, but that doesn’t mean she’s given up on her fashion aspirations. Maybe she won’t be a designer, but she could still be involved with the fashion world somehow. Her two best friends don’t care about fashion like Nonie does. Jenny’s an actress whose first movie is about to be released, has body image issues, and is stuck with awful clothes to wear as she promotes the movie. Edie is an idealistic overachiever who has her life mapped out. She wants to be a diplomat, even though she’s not very diplomatic. Among Edie’s causes is volunteering to tutor a twelve-year-old Ugandan immigrant called Crow, who turns out to love fashion just as much as Nonie, but with a lot more sewing and design talent.
Nonie narrates Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings, and her breezy, lively voice is a big reason I enjoyed the book so much. It’s not laugh out loud funny, but has many humorous moments owing to Nonie’s habit of emphasizing certain words in capital letters.
“Jenny is un-admirable right now. A lovely person and my best friend, but THAT DRESS.” (p. 3)
“I’m pretty sure Edie fancies him, although she won’t admit it. If it weren’t for the massive age difference, and him being my BROTHER, they’d make a good couple one day, because, like Edie, he’s superkind and, unlike Edie, he’s also quite charming, so he might balance out her diplomacy malfunctions.” (p. 15)
This could have easily become annoying, but somehow is not.
I also really liked the friendship between Nonie, Jenny, and Edie, who each have their own interests and strengths. It’s one of the things that reminds me of My Most Excellent Year. (Along with Augie’s love of musicals and Nonie’s love of fashion, Alé and Edie with their causes, and Hucky and Crow as the kids who are taken in because of the generosity of the other characters.) And like My Most Excellent Year, Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings snuck up upon me and ended up on my favorites list.
Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings is the first in the trilogy, though it does standalone extremely well.
Book source: public library.