Meat Market follow the story of Jana Novak. She is always getting comments about her looks – she’s too tall, too skinny, too much like a boy – and she’s sick of it. She has an androgynous look which she’s fine with (and so is her boyfriend!); it’s other people who make the problems.
One day, on a school trip to Thorpe Park, Jana is scouted by a Prestige…to be a model. She and her friends are shocked – surely they don’t mean her? But following a trip to London with her begrudging mum, Jana finds herself catapulted into the world of fashion. Her innocence means she struggles to understand all the decisions being made around her, and finds her new environment harsh and confusing.
As she goes forward, she finds she finds that the superficial glamour gives way to a much darker world than she ever imagined. She experiences incredible highs tarnished with lows she couldn’t even imagine. When will it all become too much to handle?
I used the amazing recommendation service on Mr B’s Emporium (https://mrbsemporium.com/) and this was the first book which came up; I knew straight away I was interested in the selection they’d provided me – Meat Market is a title I’ve constantly had on my book lust list!
The premise of Meat Market is one that is topical and interesting: a young girl catapulted to fame through modelling. It looks frankly at the use of drugs, possibility and reality of eating disorders as well as the effect a sudden rise to fame can have. It felt honest and real, despite being a work of fiction.
Jana struggles with retaining her innocence and staying true to herself. She never wanted to be a model and the struggle she has deciding what is best for her, is a really important part of the book. She deals with issues all teenagers have – such as her relationship, friendships, the transition to college – yet they are amplified by her profession.
I sped through this book and couldn’t put it down. Each chapter brings a new issue, and the soundbites of Jana discussing her past help add suspense as to what will happen next. I felt genuinely invested in her story, which, is the best thing you can ask from a book!
I can’t wait to read Juno Dawson’s next release, Wonderland.
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