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Cher-y-lynne {sher-uhl-lin} –noun 1. One who formerly sold and recommended children’s books at a bookstore; a specialist in young adult, middle grade, and picture books. 2. A para-educator at a middle school. 3. A struggling young adult writer. 4. A lover of chocolate and popcorn. Archaic: An Audiology and Speech Language Pathology major at Brigham Young University. Questions? Suggestions? Books you'd like me to review? E-mail me at cherylynne1 (at) gmail (dot) com.
This is a blog for my ranting, raving, and occasionally brilliant opinions. You have been warned. Enter at your own risk.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Book Review: Pretty Like Us by Carol Lynch Williams

Williams, Carol Lynch. Pretty Like Us. Atlanta: Peachtree, 2008.

“Alane, Beauty,” Mr. Borget said. “Beauty, Alane.”
“Beauty?” Alane said. “That’s your real name?”
I nodded. In slow motion I started across the classroom floor, as if my eyes were pulling me in for a better look. She was so small. And shriveled. Like fruit left outside. Like she was seventy years old.
“How cool,” Alane said. “My name means almost the same thing, ‘fair one,’ or ‘beautiful.’”
I tugged at my shirt, stretching it down the way Grandma always tells me not to. Her? Beautiful? If anyone in our class found out what Alane’s name meant, well, she was done for. They would sacrifice her to the teasing gods without a second thought. “That’s great,” I said.
I heard him wrong, I thought. He must have said this is Alane’s grandmother.
Now I was close enough to see her hands. They were tiny, like her whole self—small and frail—except for the knuckles. Those were knobbly and swollen looking. And her fingers were all crooked, like they had lost their way growing.
I wiped my own damp hands on my blue jeans.

Alane has progeria, a rare disease that causes her twelve-year-old body to age too quickly. When she moves to Beauty’s town, Beauty finds herself desperate for a new friend, to the point where she attempts to overcome her shyness in order to talk to Alane.

There were some powerful moments in this story, particularly in the mother-daughter relationship. I even got teary-eyed at a few parts, which almost never happens. Great writing, great character development, as always. I do wonder if there is a sequel coming, though. Some parts of the story didn’t quite feel finished.

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