Book of the Week

Book of the Week

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The Art of Getting Stared At

by Laura Langston

Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Teen Review Board member Maddi
Sloane Kendrick can get through anything: her parents' divorce, check. Her ex-boyfriend hooking up with a girl in the library, check. Having to work with sweet, charming Isaac Alexander to compete for a short film scholarship in two weeks, double check. Finding bald spots on her head and more that follows, red alert. With that horrifying discovery, Sloane finds out that she has alopecia areata. This is an immune disease with no known cause or cure and no definite outcome. She may lose all her hair on her body. Her mother has to leave for eight weeks, so Sloane stays with her father and step-mother while working on a short film that will give her a chance for a film school scholarship. The only issue here is that she has to work with “Voice Man” Isaac Alexander, who flirts with every girl and therefore has his eyes on her. Sloane tries to hide her disease from the world while working hard on the film, struggling with a growing preoccupation with beauty and her appearance. What I found painful and beautiful at the same time in this book was the judgment of others. I did not like the criticism by both males and females who call others “disgusting," “ugly," “plain,” and worst of all “ fat.” People should know that being called those names hurts. It is never OK to call people nasty names just because they dress differently, look different or like people of their own sex. It’s really shallow. How would you feel if someone called you one of those nasty names? Pretty upset! In the book, Sloane’s sister Ella is judgmental, even at a young age. She hit Sloane pretty hard by saying that no one would like her without her hair. Now, what was beautiful about the book was the way others treated Sloane. For example, Sloane volunteers at a hospital, making children with cancer happy and making them laugh. Laughter is key in the story. I feel readers should pick up The Art of Getting Stared At because it shows the difference between true beauty and surface appearance. It also looks at how society judges people who have something wrong with them or appear not to be “perfect.” I think this book will help both females and males feel empowered.

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