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Review: An Innocent Fashion by R.J. Hernández



Blurb from Goodreads:
The literary love-child of The Devil Wears Prada and The Bell Jar, this singular debut novel is the story of Ethan, a wide-eyed new Ivy League grad, who discovers that his dream of “making it” at leading New York City fashion magazine Régine may well be his undoing.

When Ethan St. James graduates from Yale, he can’t wait to realize his dream of becoming a fashion editor at Régine. Born Elián San Jamar, he knew from childhood that he was destined for a “more beautiful” life than the one his working-class parents share in Texas—a life inspired by Régine’s pages. A full ride to the Ivy League provided the awakening he yearned for, but reality hits hard when he arrives at Régine and is relegated to the lowest rung of the ladder.

Mordantly funny and emotionally ruthless, An Innocent Fashion is about a quintessential millennial—naïve, idealistic, struggling with his identity and sexuality—trying to survive in an industry, and a city, notorious for attracting new graduates only to chew them up and spit them out. Oscillating between melodrama and whip-smart sarcasm, pretentiousness and heartbreaking vulnerability, increasingly disillusioned with Régine and his two best friends from Yale, both scions of WASP privilege, Ethan begins to unravel.

As the narratives of his conflicted childhood, cloistered collegiate experience, and existential crisis braid together, this deeply moving coming-of-age novel for the 21st century spirals towards a devastating truth: You can follow your dreams, but sometimes dreams are just not enough. 
My Review:
I'm not sure where to begin with this book -- it wasn't anything like I expected but it was juicy in its prose and plot and seriously lovely all the same. I would almost say this is a mash-up of The Devil Wears Prada and The Secret History with a smattering of Less than Zero and The Bell Jar. Considering that all of these are favorite books of mine, this was such a compelling read for me -- I had no idea what I was in store for when I started this book but I loved it. Unlike those recent books I've read this year about millennials graduating from college and moving to NY that were complete failures, this was the book I've been waiting for!  I think the difference was that there wasn't the adolescent obsession with money even though money plays a very big part in this book but there was a focus on more than just money and struggling to make it.  It was complex and the relationships in it were very real to me and extremely entangled.  I also immediately connected to Ethan -- I loved the narrative of his past told in scenes juxtaposed in the present to give a better sense of understanding of the him as a person but also his circumstances.  This was a pretty wild ride -- I particularly loved the ending although I know it won't be for everyone.  It was just so perfect for the mood and tone of the book.

An Innocent Fashion came out yesterday on July 5, 2016, you can purchase HERE, and I definitely recommend this one! 
He ran his fingers lightly through my hair, his touch feeling like a hundred Holy Spirits flowing through me.  I looked up from lap and into one of those moments in life marked by utmost clarity. From the depths of Dorian's expansive eyes, I saw the truth flowing: Aside from Madeline, Dorian was the best love I had--the best love I'd ever had, and ever would.  A love so perfect, it even looked perfect.   

Comments

  1. This sounds really interesting, Eva. I like that it explores moving to NYC but it's more than just the chase for money. And Ethan sounds terrific as a character. I'm glad this was a hit with you. :)

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  2. I really want to read this. I can't remember exactly where I first came across it, but I've been dying to read it.

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  3. Oo I'm glad you liked this one! I've been kind of meh about it, but after reading your review I may have to read this one! Terrific review Eva!

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  4. Blurb sounds really good so I am happy to hear that you liked it so much!

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  5. Oh I like the way his sounds!! That mash up comparison is pretty epic!! Great review!

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  6. This does sound lovely, wonderful review for this!

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  7. So glad this was such a hit for you! I've seen it around but didn't know much about it. And those comparisons to such different books has me totally intrigued!

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  8. This could go very right or wrong with those book comparisons, setting high expectations. Great Review I really enjoyed the Bell Jar, so if it was a similar mood is that I'm In.
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

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  9. Wow, this sounds interesting! I may have to grab it. I like the cover!

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  10. Oh the perfect endings are just right....I do love it when it matches the rest of the book. Doesn't always happen, sometimes they feel too rushed or not quite right. Glad to see this one was such a fun ride.

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  11. I don't think this is a book for me, but I'm glad it didn't end up a disappointment like your other "millennials" that you read. Great review, Eva! :)

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  12. That's quite a mix of eclectic books up there! I wondered if this one would meet the hype, and you've made me want to read it. I'm happy you've finally found the book you've been waiting for.

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  13. Love the setting but I'm not sure the story is my cup of tea. BUT I am of course happy you were able to enjoy this!

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  14. Okay, that comparison basically sells me on this one. It sounds like something I'll need to check out for sure! :)

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  15. I hadn't seen this book before! This sounds so very interesting. Lately, I'm digging these NY stories a lot so I'll be checking this one out!

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  16. I havent heard of this one before! Sounds lovely! Great review.

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