Discovering herself through art


This teen novel explores the differences between one-size-fits-all suburban life and big-city introspective and artistic eccentricity. In other words, fitting in and sticking out.

Emily lives in a mansion that is side-by-side to her long time best friend’s nearly identical mansion, in a cul-de-sac in suburbia. She has always fit in, always played well the roles expected of her. But this summer, she is traveling to the big city several times each week for art classes at a local college. Almost immediately, she is drawn to — and changed by — the freestyle art of the city, often reflected in the native’s clothing, hairstyles, and bold behavior. One fellow student in particular challenges Emily to take a good hard look at who she really is underneath the cookie-cutter mask she wears. Change is good, but it isn’t always appreciated by those who like things how they are.

Read this book if you like art, eccentricity, originality, or self-awareness and growth. Read it for a heroine you can remember as you stand up for your rights to be an individual. Read it to gain some perspective on true and honest friendship — with others and with yourself.


Another interesting teen novel by the same author, Siobhan Vivian. This book reads fast, as it alternates perspective between eight different high school girls, each of which made it on this year’s “List” — a tradition in this fictional high school that names both the prettiest and ugliest girls in each grade, the Monday before Homecoming. Read the book to find out how being given either label can change a girl’s life — for better or for worse. The book also has a bit of a background mystery: Who wrote the list?

Here you will find a confident athlete who might lose her boyfriend after being labeled “Dan the Man” — the ugliest freshman girl. Meet Candace, one of the prettiest sophomores who has been labeled the ugliest of her grade — can you guess why? And her rival — a previously homeschooled girl who has never had so much attention and suddenly finds herself inheriting Candace’s entourage. Then there’s the girl who refuses to bathe or change clothes for the whole week after being labeled ugliest junior, and the prettiest junior who is certain she gained the spotlight through her anorexic ways. The tables are also turned in the senior class. The ugliest has carried that label all four years of her high school career — and yet the best friends of the girl labeled prettiest senior start a movement to name the four-year ugliest girl to be homecoming queen in place of their friend! It all leads up to the homecoming dance. Oh, what can change in a week!