For Beauty McElwrath, the first day of sixth grade in small-town Green River, Florida, proves to be exactly the catastrophe she expected. Beauty is acutely shy, and she s sure she s doomed to be a social outcast for yet another school year. It doesn t help that her mother is dating her teacher!
But then she meets Alane Shriver, a new student who suffers from progeria, a rare, rapid aging disorder. At first Beauty is frightened by her fellow outsider s wrinkled skin, shriveled hands, thick glasses, and tiny, frail body. But fear gives way to curiosity, and Beauty discovers that, on the inside, Alane is just like any other twelve-year-old girl. When a life-threatening event puts the two of them in harm s way, Beauty unexpectedly finds the confidence and inner strength to save Alane.
Author Carol Lynch Williams offers a realistic, sensitive look at the trials and challenges of adolescence, while expertly weaving in themes of isolation, illness, and even death. The result is an honest, humorous, unsparing, and ultimately uplifting book that celebrates the power and courage that come from accepting differences and meeting life s uncertainties head on.
“The narrative rises above the usual preteen fare…A delightful twist at the end makes the book even more memorable, resulting in a lovely story that will reach many middle-school girls.” —Kirkus
“…a bittersweet tale…touching…” —Publishers Weekly
“…moves at a gentle pace with some intense situations…” —School Library Journal
“…a worthy choice for library collections.” —Library Media Connection