Meat Market by Juno Dawson
For those young readers interested in the glamorous world of fashion and modelling, this novel provides a more realistic look at the far less enticing reality behind the scenes and the dangers inherent for young models.
Sixteen-year-old Jana is hanging out at a theme park with a friend when she is unexpectedly accosted by a scout for a model agency. With her tall, skinny body and androgynous look, she quickly becomes the hot new model that all the fashion industry wants to book. She is sent to exotic locations, where her modelling shoots are anything but glamorous. She travels to New York and is expected to live in a seedy ‘model apartment’ with a number of other models. There is also an unspoken expectation that she shouldn’t eat much. She is making ridiculous amounts of money for her working-class family, but the constant travel and demands make it difficult for her relationship with her boyfriend and her friends. But it’s not until she turns up at a ‘go-see’ with a notoriously sleazy photographer in a hotel room that we see the true inequality of power in the industry.
What follows is a fascinating account of the perils and possibilities in the #MeToo movement for young models. Dawson was briefly a model and has done extensive research, so this account of the industry is spot-on and very authentic. This is a compelling, fascinating read about the ugly side of the world of beauty from a well-respected, prolific British author. I was utterly hooked.
Suitable for readers 13+.