A Closer Look by Karen DelleCava
Publisher: WestSide Books
Length: Full Length (302 pgs)
Age Level: 14+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint
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?
Cassie's story is one that is truly inspiring for all ages. At the age where she is just starting to discover boys and have a sense of independence, Cassie must also deal with her hair falling out sporadically. With such a delicate subject, I knew from the first page this story would be riveting. At times, I was so sad thinking about everything this young girl had to go through.
While it may sound vain, my hair has always been my crowning glory. So while reading about Cassie's alopecia, I found myself in tears at times because my heart went out to her. There were times it was difficult to keep reading because of how upset I was for her. That effect actually speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the subject matter and the author’s ability to make me feel for the main character in the story.
Not only was the subject matter riveting, the charaters were as well. For example, at moments I felt like I could sympathize with Cassie's mother and other times I wondered how a mother can treat her daughter the way she treated Cassie. Another character I enjoyed was Cassie's best friend Tara. The way she supported Cassie throughout the whole ordeal displayed a true friendship that can never be replaced. These characters really added a certain amount of depth to the story, which help with the flow and made it much easier to read.
One of the most amazing things about A Closer Look is that I highly recommended it to people around me even before I finished the last page. This will be a great story for mothers to read with their daughters, or for anyone to enjoy on their own. Ms. DelleCava's book should make it to Oprah’s reading list because after I was done reading it, I was convinced that it has the ability to change lives.