Fashion Academy by Sheryl Berk & Carrie Berk with Excerpt

Fashion Academy by Sheryl Berk & Carrie Berk with Excerpt

Taking on a Middle-Grade focused story, please read on for a review of Fashion Academy by Mother-Daughter author team of Sheryl and Carrie Berk.  In addition, there is an excerpt and a giveaway for Three (3) copies of FASHION ACADEMY.

Fashion Academy

Mackenzie (Mickey) has been addicted to fashion for as long as she can remember. An eclectic style sets her apart from her friends at school, but she’s got a head full of dreams.  When she is accepted into the Fashion Academy of Brooklyn (FAB) with a full scholarship, she’s heading down the path to her dream of being a designer.  BUT, sixth grade will not be without challenges: she’ll have to leave home and board with her Aunt Olive, a germ phobic and rather stuffy aunt, and make new friends in a school where her classmates are rich, stylish and well-connected in the fashion world already.

I adored Mickey: she had dreams and wishes and wasn’t afraid to put in the work to achieve them.  She doesn’t fit ‘in’ with the ‘cool crowd’, but with a few tweaks to her own personal style and a good new friend in Javen, she’s working her way to a transformation that fits the school and her classmates, but just may not sit easily on her.

Slowly, Mickey comes to learn that her own personal view, not the one she has adopted, is what makes her unique and got her the scholarship in the first place, and her testing out other personalities and back stories did little for her own self-enhancement.  At the heart, this is a book about finding your own place in the world in a way that feels honestly and uniquely you: accepting input and adopting only those changes that keep your individual personality shining forward.

Plenty of secondary characters al fill out the story: Aunt Olive and her growth and change with the input and influence of Mickey, Javen, Mickey’s BFF who is a formidable designer in her own niche, the “mean girls’ led by Jade Lee.  Each added layers of interest, drama and believability to the story, placing readers firmly in the center of ANY sixth grade classroom with the petty jealousies, sniping, snubbing and jostling for social relevance or obscurity.  With insets of humor and snips about fashion, design and construction, the story is a quick and fun read with Mickey being a true star of the story and providing a great message.

Fashion Academy by Sheryl Berk & Carrie Berk with Excerpt

Title: Fashion Academy
Author: Sheryl Berk, Carrie Berk
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Friendship
Published by: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
ISBN: 1492601624
Published on: 1 January 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 208
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon iTunes Kobo Downpour Book Depository Google
See this Title on Goodreads

Project Runway meets the tween scene in a trendy new series from the authors of The Cupcake Club

At the Fashion Academy of Brooklyn, FAB is a way of life.

Fashion-forward MacKenzie "Mickey" Williams is thrilled to be accepted to FAB Middle School (Fashion Academy of Brooklyn), a school that serves as a training ground for the fashion designers of tomorrow.  (Their motto, “We are SEW FAB”). But when her daring fashion and stellar grades turn the Fab A-listers green with envy, Mickey discovers that standing out doesn’t always make it easy to fit in. So when friendly classmate JC comes up with a plan to help Mickey fit in, she decides to take the ultimate fashion risk—ditch her personal style for good.

One mega makeover later, pink-haired Mickey Williams mysteriously disappears, and the trendy, blonde “Kenzie Wills” shows up on the FAB scene, blending with the other students in a way Mickey never could. But when Mickey starts to lose herself to “Kenzie,” she’s not sure that fitting in is worth cutting herself down to size…

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Read An Excerpt



 First Day JittersAfter spending the weekend with her aunt, Mickey concluded that Olive wasn’t that bad—at least not as bad as her mom made her out to be. She was just a bit uptight. It was hard for Mickey to understand how she and her mom could be sisters, much less fraternal twins. They had the same curly strawberry blond hair, though her mom highlighted hers and wore it long and loose and Olive pinned hers back in a tight bun. She recognized her aunt’s eyes as well—they were emerald green, just like her mom’s. Too bad she hid them behind thick tortoise shell glasses. Then there was her style: Olive looked like she had stepped out of a time warp. She wore a ruffled pink blouse, long pearls, and an A-line brown skirt. Maybe she was going for a retro 50s vibe? It was the opposite of her mom’s ripped jeans and vintage rock tee shirts. Maybe there had been some mistake and they were switched at birth? Maybe her Granny Gertrude got confused and accidentally picked up the wrong baby in the park one day?

Olive was also a neat freak who insisted that everything be “spic and span” and in its place.

“Mackenzie, clean up after yourself!” she scolded when Mickey left her sketchbook and colored pencils on the kitchen table. No one called her Mackenzie; her mom only used it when she was mad at her. It was a name she barely recognized or answered to. But as many times as she corrected Aunt Olive, she insisted on calling her by her “proper name.”

“Mom calls me ‘Mickey’ and I call her Jordana sometimes,” she tried to explain.

“I don’t care what you call your mom or she calls you. And you call me Aunt Olive out of respect,” she warned her.

Mickey wrinkled her nose. “Really? Mom says she called you Olliegator when you were little. I think that’s cute.”

Olive pursed her lips. “I’m an adult,” she replied sternly. Aunt Olive was an executive assistant at a big law firm, and she took everything very seriously. “Your mother needs to grow up.”

But that was exactly what Mickey loved about her mom—how she was such a free spirit and never cared what anyone thought or said about her. Mickey tried her hardest to be that way, but sometimes it was hard.

For the first day of FAB, she set her alarm for 6 o’clock so she would have time to style her outfit properly. She was proud of how it had all come together. She’d taken a beaten-up denim jacket from a thrift shop and dyed it black before adding crocheted doilies for trim at the collars and cuffs. It said exactly what she wanted it to say about her: “I’m edgy but feminine.” And wasn’t that what fashion was all about? Not just a trend or a style, but a reflection of who you are and how you’re feeling? That was what Mickey loved about designing the most, and what she had written on her FAB application:

“I love how you can speak volumes with a single stitch. Fashion should be fearless! I want to be a designer who always colors outside the lines and thinks outside of the box…”

She was pretty sure Aunt Olive didn’t see it that way. Her idea of taking a fashion risk was wearing a skirt that was hemmed above the knee.

“Does it really go together?” she asked, noticing how Mickey had paired her jacket with a white tank top and bike shorts, both of which were splatter-painted with green and yellow drips.

“It isn’t supposed to go,” Mickey told her. “It’s supposed look creative, which is what FAB is all about. Pushing the envelope!”

She added a pair of green cat’s eye sunglasses.

“Well, it’s colorful,” her aunt sighed. “I’ll give you that. And so is your hair. Good heavens!”

Mickey had created green stripes in her long, wavy blond hair with hair chalk.

“Now for the finishing touch!” she said. “No outfit is complete without accessories!” She slipped her feet into a pair of black high top sneakers, tied the yellow laces, and grabbed her bag.

“What is that?” her aunt asked, scratching her head. She squinted to make out the words on Mickey’s tote.

“It used to say ‘Louis Vuitton’—it’s a bag you keep a really fancy expensive bag in. Which if you ask me, is pretty silly,” Mickey explained.

Olive seemed puzzled. “You mean a dust bag? You made that out of a dust bag?”

Mickey spun the tote around. “Two of them, actually!” The other side read, “PRADA.”

“What? How? Why?” Olive asked.

“Well, it’s perfectly good flannel,” Mickey replied. “And don’t you think it’s kinda funny? A statement about recycling? I used two leather belts for the straps and jazzed it up with some studding at the seams. It cost me about $4 total at the flea market!”

She threw the bag over her shoulder and glanced at the clock. It was 8, and the school bus would be along shortly to pick her up on the corner.

“Your breakfast is ready,” Olive said, handing her a glass of green sludge. This was worse then yesterday’s quinoa and fruit concoction! She missed her mom’s breakfasts of left over Chinese Take Out omelets or cold pizza. But Aunt Olive insisted she start the first day of school with “something healthy and nutritious.”

“Do you have any chocolate milk?” she asked, getting up to check the fridge for something edible.

“This is better for you. It’s fresh kale, celery, cucumber, ginger and a touch of agave. It’s delicious.” She took a big sip of her own glass and licked her lips.

Mickey wrinkled her nose. It didn’t look or smell delicious. “I think I’ll grab something in the cafeteria,” she said, pushing the glass away. “I’m too nervous to eat.”

It wasn’t entirely a lie. She was pretty terrified for her first day at FAB. Just then, Mickey’s phone rang.

“All ready to conquer the world?” her mom asked.

“I think so, Jordana,” she replied.

“Ah, I see. We’re trying to sound very mature this morning. Send me a picture of the first day outfit and call me tonight. I want to hear all the deets.”

Mickey smiled. Her mom was trying to sound cool. “I will. Love you.”

As the bus pulled up to the corner of Columbus Avenue, Mickey took a deep breath. This wasn’t just the first day of FAB. It was the first day of the rest of her life. The first day of everything.




About Sheryl Berk

Sheryl Berk has written about fashion for more than 20 years, first as a contributor to InStyle magazine, and later as the founding editor in chief of Life & Style Weekly. She has written dozens of books with celebrities including Britney Spears, Jenna Ushkowitz, Whitney Port, and Zendaya—and the #1 New York Times bestseller (turned movie) Soul Surfer with Bethany Hamilton.

Her daughter, Carrie Berk, is a renowned cupcake connoisseur and blogger with over 105,000 followers at the tender age of 12! Carrie is a fountain of fabulous ideas for book series—she came up with Fashion Academy in fifth grade. Carrie learned to sew from her grandma “Gaga” and has outfitted many an American Girl doll in original fashions. The Berks also write the deliciously popular series The Cupcake Club that was recently made into an Off-Broadway musical, Peace, Love and Cupcakes at Vital Theater in New York City.