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Skin deep
E. M. Crane
Teen Fiction CRANE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Winner of Delacorte's 2006 first YA novel contest, this thoughtful, evenly paced tale focuses on one high schooler's world and all that's frustratingly wrong in it. Sixteen-year-old Andrea Anderson begins her sophomore year feeling hopelessly average and plain, struggling to survive each school day unnoticed and to avoid her single mother's wrath. But when her homeroom teacher commits suicide in the teachers' lounge, Andrea begins to reevaluate her cautious existence. She doesn't shy away when a reclusive neighbor, diagnosed with cancer, needs help caring for her Saint Bernard and sprawling gardens. Instead, she befriends the herb-growing, pottery-making stranger and her enormous dog. Although her plot has plenty of death and abandonment, Crane shows readers about self-discovery and the importance of passion and strength. Some events seem abrupt or unlikely (popular cheerleader Ashley chooses Andrea to be her new best friend for no clear reason), and there may be some easy stereotypes, like the jocks who goose a nerdy student in assembly. But for the most part, the characters seem real and relatable, and when Andrea finally stands up to her mother, readers will empathize. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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main characters Andrea Anderson
Considers herself a spectator of life; her mother runs the show at home; her neighbor gets sick, so she decides to help her with some chores around her house; things start to turn upside down from there.

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