I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Alterations by Stephanie Scott
Published by Bloomsbury Spark on December 6th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retellings
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 grow 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 a choice she never dreamed she'd have to make.
When I first heard that there was going to be a YA retelling of the Audrey Hepburn movie Sabrina, I was incredibly excited. Then I became a little worried that the book might not live up to the movie. After finishing Alterations, my fears were entirely laid to rest. I loved this book just as much (although in a slightly different way) than I did Sabrina.
Alterations is one of the few contemporary books I’ve read that seamlessly incorporated modern social media and technology (which may be more reflective of my reading habits than anything else but I want to give Stephanie Scott major congratulations for that). When I first read about Amelia’s Instagram account and her multiple Pinterest boards, I felt instantly connected to her. Throughout the story, Amelia is a relatable protagonist, all of her actions are understandable.
As for the love story, the two brothers were on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. At first, they seemed like caricatures. However, they were only really seen through Amelia’s eyes at the beginning and, as she got to know them as people, both characters really came to life. It was a measure of how invested I was in this story that I started actually cheering one of them and booing the other while reading. Even though I knew the outcome, the journey felt fresh and new. (And just in case you were wondering, I was 100% rooting for Liam).
Only part of the love story in this book is between Amelia and the Laurenti brothers. A major part of this book, which was somewhat glossed over in the movie, is Amelia’s journey of self-discovery. I don’t want to spoil anything but her time in New York in the fashion world was my favorite part of the book. She really came into her own and started to see just how much larger the world could be. Even when she returned from her summer away, she never compromised her new-found belief in herself.
This book took one of my favorite movies and retold it in a fresh, modern way that I still loved. While I wasn’t a huge fan of a plot device in the last part of the book, it didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the book and I could see how it worked in the context of the story. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a contemporary YA love story.