I finished reading A Closer Look by Karen DelleCava for a Teen Book Scene Tour.
Freshman year is going well for Cassie, a standout sprinter who is about to move up to varsity; school has been fine, her best friend Tara is also running track, and Tommy, that cute sax player she likes has asked her to come see his band rehearse. But in a matter of weeks, Cassie has a secret she is trying to hide from everyone. Her hair has started falling out, and she s doing everything possible to keep it from showing. When her parents tell her it happened to her once before, at age 3, she s horrified, and a trip to the dermatologist confirms what she has been afraid of: that all of her hair may fall out. She has alopecia, and there s no known effective treatment. Cassie eventually gets a wig when she can no longer disguise the truth, and she finally confides in Tommy about it. But when he starts being standoffish and avoids her, she feels betrayed. Then, at a track meet, Robin, her rival on the team, exposes her secret to the whole crowd. With her worst fears realized, will Cassie ever be able to face her classmates, her teammates, and most of all, Tommy?
My heart just broke for Cassie. I cannot imagine having to start high school and get used to all the quirks of being a freshman and have to deal with losing all of your hair too. Yes, I know that there are far worse things than losing your hair, but at an age where looks are important, this must have been devastating.
For some reason, I just couldn't really get into Cassie. I'm not sure if it was the way she was written or her personality or what. But I really loved Tara! Every teenager (heck everyone in general!) needs a friend like her! Tara was so supportive! She truly cared about Cassie. She didn't so much as blink when she saw Cassie's bald spot and was always there to cheer her up or help her cover up her patches and just be a great friend in general. As for Tommy, I was mixed on him. I think the summary kind of spoiled it for me because the whole time I was reading the book, I kept waiting for him to turn into a jerk (because it says he starts avoiding her after she tells him) so I knew that he was going to be a bad guy. But when this situation happened, I knew right away that it was for a different reason and so I realized he wasn't such a bad guy. And I spent the whole time thinking, incorrectly, that he was.
(And on a completely random note, I was fascinated by all of the running talk. I just got into running recently. I hate running but I like the races! So this part of story intrigued me.)
Anyways, I think that this would be such an important book for teens to read if they were dealing with alopecia or any other condition where they would feel different. The book has such a strong message about being yourself and loving who you are inside, not just what you look like on the outside!
I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 13
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 11
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 11
Completely Contemp Challenge 2012: 2011-1
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Teen Book Scene.