This little bit of raspberry-flavored fluff reads like a graphic novel episode of “Sex in the City: the High School Years,” without the, well, sex. Our narrator, brainy brunette Chloe, relates the story of her junior year at Georgia O’Keefe “Fashion” High like a pint-sized Carrie Bradshaw, complete with cute outfits and mild bouts of insecurity. Along with her three BF’s; sex kitten Mackenzie (a blond, man-stealing Samantha Jones doppelganger) cynical Isabel (a TOTAL Miranda if I ever saw one) and way-too-sweet Erika (SO annoyingly Charlotte), Chloe shakily navigates the stormy waters of high school in the leaky boat known as “Popularity.” As each girl faces her own personal trial (Chloe likes a geek-chic boy that she’s embarrassed to introduce to her friends, Mackenzie is mackin’ on another girl’s boy, Isabel’s parents have her on lock-down and Ericka is struggling with whether or not she wants to go “all the way” with long-time beau Kyle) they come to discover that their friendship is changing—and not necessarily for the better. Suddenly they can’t always be trusted to be there for each other, and begin to wonder if this is the end. Especially mean-girl realistic is the slightly masochistic relationship between Chloe and Mackenzie. Mac has always been the group’s charismatic leader, but when Chloe finally stands up for herself and declares her love for Trekkie Adam, will Mac allow such an insurrection, especially when it threatens her own popularity? Breaking Up is escapist chick lit at its best: clean and sweet until the claws come out! Christine Norrie’s blushing, pouting girls, reminiscent of Mattel’s My Scene Barbies, are just a bit too good-looking, with nary a zit or muffin top among them, but I didn’t care, because this is escapism after all, and who wants REAL high school when I can have High-School-Musical high school? I totally hope Aimee Friedman and Christine Norrie come out with a second installment of the Fashion High series–I’ve already made a space for it between my Sweet Valley High original paperbacks and Sex in the City complete DVD collection!
Breaking Up: a Fashion High Graphic Novel by Aimee Friedman and Christine Norrie