A little while ago the lovely Emma from Never Judge A Book By Its Cover and I launched Let’s Talk YA. You can check out the first, second, third, fourth and fifth books I’ve previously recommended, all of which are incredible UKYA books that I think need to be shouted about more. Today, I’m discussing the incredible Meat Market by Juno Dawson.
Trigger warnings: eating disorders, transphobia, sexual assault, sexual harassment, body shaming, coercion, drug use.
Jana Novak’s history sounds like a classic model cliché: tall and gangly, she’s uncomfortable with her androgynous looks until she’s unexpectedly scouted and catapulted to superstardom.
But the fashion industry is as grimy as it is glamorous. And there are unexpected predators at every turn.
Jana is an ordinary girl from a south London estate, lifted to unimaginable heights. But the further you rise, the more devastating your fall …
Honest and raw, this is a timely exposé of the dark underbelly of the fashion industry in an era of #TimesUp and #MeToo. It might just be Juno Dawson’s most important book yet.
Why I Love It:
Juno Dawson has become an auto-buy author for me, as she isn’t afraid to tackle intense issues facing teenagers now with a gritty, realistic and casually diverse writing style that captivates you instantly. These issues are tackled without any patronising tones and makes them into empowering, nuanced stories. Therefore, when I heard that she was tackling the fashion industry with the same raw honesty as Clean, I knew I needed to read it.
This is a dark, gut-wrenching, raw and brutally honest look at the dark side of the fashion industry, the sexism perpetuated by it and internalised within it. You can definitely see Juno’s meticulous research shining through.
Jana and the rest of the supporting cast have such authentic voices that make you really empathise with them, pulling you into their journeys. Dawson has a gift for writing really engaging, memorable and authentic characters that I could definitely see in my own life.
The pacing is relentless, with clear foreshadowing of the direction in which the story inevitably goes. Dawson always treats the issues with clear respect and care, never allowing them to become gratuitous, particularly the sexual assault scene that is sickening to read, but also all too real.
Dawson writes such amazing, hard-hitting and gritty stories that are always relevant, honest and much needed. Her work is a must read.
Have you read Meat Market or any of Juno’s work? What did you think?
As always, please check out Emma’s blog for her recommendation and we will be talking on Twitter, so please get involved and use the hashtag #LetsTalkYA.