Book Review: The True Meaning of Cleavage, Mariah Fredericks

The True Meaning of Cleavage by Mariah Fredericks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary: Cool is cool and geek is geek, and at Eldridge the two “definitely” do not mix.Sari and Jess are best friends and total opposites. They’ve liked each other ever since they discovered that they are the only two normal people at Eldridge Alternative. As they prepare to face the trials of ninth grade, Sari is psyched. Jess is not. How can she face the Prada Mafia, the most evil clique in school? Or Mr. McGuiness’s unnervingly long nose hair? What if something really interesting happens to Sari and nothing whatsoever happens to Jess?

But not even Jess can predict the mayhem that erupts when Sari falls madly in love with David Cole. David is a senior. He’s been dating Thea Melendez for forever. So he couldn’t possibly be interested in Sari. Or could he? And if he is, where does that leave Jess?


The True Meaning of Cleavage is a short and sweet story about two friends, Jess and Sari, entering high school and the ups and downs that come with Sari’s massive crush on the most popular guy in school, David.

Jess is the tomboy of the two, completely uninterested in love and other people. Sari, on the other hand, is the hot one, who came to high school with the goal of finding love, preferably with David, who has an equally popular girlfriend, Thea.

I want to raise my hand and ask: What if we can’t do any of these things? What if we’re good at some things and not so fabulous at others? What if I have to throw up in the middle of my SATs? What if we’re just sort of…average?

Jess was one of the most relatable characters I’ve read about in a long time. Her voice felt very real and she was, for most of the book, a really great friend. Of course, I understood why she did what she did at the end of the book, but that didn’t really make it right, so she was even more realistic.

I finished my last exam five minutes ago. I am sitting in the middle stall of the bathroom.

My brain has ceased to function. I am too tired even to go home.

Same, Jess.

Here’s my list:
DAD: Big new book on Vietnam.
MOM: New Tracy Chapman CD
NOBO: Pup Pops in assorted flavors
SARI: “Women Who Love Men Who Don’t Love Them”

Sari, on the other hand, was not nearly as good of a character. She basically revolved around David, and constantly tried to get him to notice her. For most of the book, she was a terrible friend to Jess, and was incredibly selfish.

I did not like her.

I don’t like Sari right now. I don’t like her at all. If this is who she’s going to be, I don’t want to know her.

As for the other characters (David, Thea, Danny), I don’t have that much to say. I really liked how the author showed them to be more than Jess’s initial perception of them- they were shown to be human, and I appreciated that. Even with David’s cheating on Thea and her subsequent rage, they weren’t portrayed as completely terrible human beings.

(Also, with Danny…I ship it.)

The dialogue was a little stiff, and there definitely were more than a couple editing errors, but all in all, it was a good book. A little boring, because it was about high school, and high school is kind of boring, but it held my interest enough for me to want to finish it.

3 stars.

Sari’s “in love.” And apparently, when you’re in love, you don’t mind being in love with someone who pretends you don’t exist except on Thursdays.

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