[BLOG TOUR] Review of The Art of Getting Stared At by Laura Langston

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Title: The Art of Getting Stared At
Author: Laura Langston
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
Release Date: September 9th 2014
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Source: ARC received by publisher in exchange for an honest review

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Sixteen-year-old Sloane is given the biggest opportunity of her life—a chance for a film school scholarship—but she only has less than two weeks to produce a video. She also has to work with Isaac Alexander, an irresponsible charmer with whom she shares an uneasy history.

Then comes a horrifying discovery: Sloane finds a bald spot on her head. The pink patch, no bigger than a quarter, shouldn’t be there. Neither should the bald spots that follow. Horror gives way to devastation when Sloane is diagnosed with alopecia areata. The autoimmune disease has no cause, no cure and no definitive outcome. The spots might grow over tomorrow or they might be there for life. She could become completely bald. No one knows.

Determined to produce her video and keep her condition secret, Sloane finds herself turning into the kind of person she has always mocked: someone obsessed with their looks. She’s also forced to confront a painful truth: she is as judgmental as anyone else … but she saves the harshest judgments for herself.

Before I start my review I wanted to say something to my teenage self. I will admit that I was very body conscious when I was in high school and I will admit that it has not fully gone away. I have always been somewhat overweight and I have been teased because of it. But in high school it was not as overt as it was earlier on. I walked around in very baggy clothes to hide the body underneath and if I had a chance to say something to that girl that was hiding behind concert t-shirts and baggy jeans I would say "It gets easier." I won't say that it goes away because I don't think that is possible but it gets so much better. I mean f you would have told me back then that I would be the first of my friends to get married, I would have laughed in your face because getting a boyfriend was something I never thought would happen back then. So yes, it gets so much better.

The Art of Getting Stared at is a book that grabbed me right from the beginning and never let me go. I honestly don't know if I can put into words what this book did to me. But I will try. The portrayal of high school life was bang on, granted I haven't BEEN in high school for about 7 years, from what I remember, this book showed it. And having a main character like Sloane was perfect because she was normal, or what I would call normal. She was obsessed with film and film making and I loved that about her. I loved that she had a passion and she would have done anything to follow her dreams. This was something that i miss in YA because something its all about not being able to follow your dream, but for Sloane there was no other choice. She had to do it.

The relationships in this novel were just as important as Sloane's perception of herself because it were these people were what made Sloane realize that the person on the inside was more important than what you see on the outside. Isaac I think was my favorite character in regards to his relationship with Sloane because he was the reason for her growth. Their relationship felt so real and yet the pace of it was extremely slow. I never thought I would say I loved the slow building of their love but I did. I think if it was any other way it would have taken away from the overall story of the book and the overall message of its not what is perceived but others, but what you perceive yourself to be.

The Alopecia was a very big part of this novel because it was taking over Sloane's life and the way she perceived herself. And I think the author did an amazing job of capturing how panicked a person would be if they were told that they would go bald, especially when they are in an environment that is so focused on looks and perception. Sloane's reaction to all of this broke my heart because I felt for her. I knew while reading that I would have probably felt the exact same way and I honestly don't know if, in the end, I would have been as strong as she was. It was amazing to read a main character with so much growth because it is very rare in today's worlds that a character learns to love herself enough to look in the mirror and not see the person she was, but the person she is today.

Overall The Art of Getting Stared At was a very emotional read and one I think all teenagers need to read because its message is so important and one i wish would be in all YA books. Please pick up this book because it needs to be read, it will change you because it change me after I finished it, and it begs to be read and it deserves all the praise in the world.

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  1. Being conscious of our body image is a subject that everyone, young and old, face as some point in their life and I'm glad to see it being addressed in a YA book because it's harder to deal with when you're younger and feel alone..thanks for the review.