Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls is a brash new collection of fifteen original stories about girls who stand against convention, and girls who wish they could. In turn hilarious, edgy, comforting, intense, the collection is about holding back and letting loose, about sex and glamour and common sense. Here are heroes that strike a chord and make us think. Just like all of us, the girls in these stories have to deal with whatever life decides to throw at them. Some approach their challenges in startling ways. An academically gifted girl tries to apply logic to love and puberty. Another young girl shocks her bunkmates in a bible camp when she confides that her mother is waxed completely bare 'down there.' A teenager sees her own body in a new light when partygoers come across a portrait of her mother's post-mastectomy figure. A high school student offers a peek inside the change room, where bras are either not made small enough, or are mortifyingly like body armour that only your grandmother would wear. The innovative stories in this collection are all about taking pride in wearing our bodies just the way they are.
They're about hating our mothers and loving them, fitting in and breaking out. These characters articulate ways of looking at the world, of looking at others and of seeing life's possibilities. Touching on a range of issues from cosmetic surgery and makeup, and unhealthy attitudes toward eating, to sexuality and teens' impressions of their own and others' bodies, these stories challenge stifling mainstream notions of beauty and femininity.
Toronto writer and poet Deb Loughead is the author of 16 books for children and young adults, including Time & Again. Her adult fiction and poetry have appeared in a variety of Canadian publications. Jocelyn Shipley lives in Toronto and on Vancouver Island. She writes for adults as well as children.