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Worth reading 😎

After becoming a famous model, Cat discovers that on the catwalk all is not as it seems, as she grapples with her own morality and identity.

Eighteen-year-old Catherine longs for an exciting life, far away from her ordinary suburban reality. Her wish is granted when, after moving to New York City, she's discovered by one of the greatest fashion designers around. Almost overnight, sensible, shy Catherine leaves the stage to glamorous, "It Girl" Cat. But as she starts moving through parties, casting calls and fashion shows, Cat slowly realises that not everything on the catwalk is as it appears and fame comes at a high cost.

Catwalk is an engaging read offering an interesting look at the fashion industry and what happens once the shiny veil is lifted. The author herself has past experience as a model and this certainly shows in the detail in which she can paint the industry, its glamour and its dark side alike.

Cat herself is a compelling main character and I loved seeing her development arc. At the beginning of the book, she's a fairly typical eighteen-year-old, looking to find her place in the world and falling for the sparkle of the fashion industry. Once she reaches the top of the industry, however, Cat is forced to confront reality and the (often) non-airbrushed, ugly truth of being rich and famous. Cat is admirable in the way she questions her new life and her own morality, trying to decide just who she is and, just as importantly, who she wants to be. Her growth was really satisfying, and I felt like cheering her on throughout, even as she made mistakes and tried to learn from them.

Where this otherwise good book fell incredibly short for me was in its representation of non-American characters, and the Italian characters in particular. Their representation is stereotypical at best, bordering on offensive. Almost all the Italians in this book seem either sexual predators or enablers and, after finishing this book, I can't recall a single positive Italian character disassociating from this.

In a book that is trying to provide an accurate picture of an industry, I frankly would have expected better in terms of research as well. The Italian characters here sport mostly French-sounding names and consistently speak in grammatically incorrect Italian, and there is also a reference to the non-existent Italian revolution (which I assume was supposed to be the unification). All of these could have been easily fixed with some additional research and, coupled with the negative representation, is the main reason preventing me from giving this book a higher rating.

Overall, Catwalk is an entertaining read sporting a compelling protagonist, likely to appeal to fans of contemporary YA despite its problematic representation of foreign characters.

Content warnings: this book contains sexual abuse, substance abuse, alcoholism, disordered eating and body shaming.

Reviewed by

I'm a book lover at heart and love to talk about what makes my latest read so special on my blog, Book For Thought, which I started in early October 2014 and update regularly. I enjoy reading almost all types of fiction books and occasionally read non-fiction books on themes that interest me.


About the author

I’m a published author of children’s picture books, contributor at Highlights for Children, and an award-winning editor at My new YA/NA novel Catwalk is inspired by my experiences living and working in New York City as a model. I live in Delaware with my husband and three children. view profile

Published on July 13, 2021

Published by Brandywine Valley Press

70000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Young Adult

Reviewed by