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September 4, 2014

Blog Tour: The Art of Getting Stared At by Laura Langston – Review

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Welcome to our Tour Stop for

The Art of Getting Stared At by Laura Langston

presented by Razorbill Canada!

As a teenager, the pressure to look a certain way can be overwhelming. I, too, was a teen once upon a time, and believe me, I remember the pressure. The need to be accepted and not being happy with certain areas and wishing I could change it. But believe this: You are not alone! Everyone does it. Everyone looks in the mirror and wishes they could change something. But you are who you are, and don’t feel you need to change yourself because everyone else is, or someone tells you that you have to. Be your own person. If I could tell my teenage-self one thing about self-image/body image, it’s this:

“Embrace who you are and who you will become. Fashions/Fads come and go, and high school doesn’t last forever. You will eventually grow into whatever it is you want to change, and there will be someone (and yes, more than one someones) who will love you and accept you for all you are, including what you perceive as faults. Love yourself and the life you’ve been given. Things can always be worse, but be thankful for what you have now, not what you wish you had.”

The Art of Getting Stared At

After a school video she produced goes viral, sixteen-year-old Sloane is given the biggest opportunity of her life – a chance for a film school scholarship. She has less than two weeks to produce a second video, something with depth, and she’s determined to do it. The trouble is she has to work with Isaac Alexander, an irresponsible charmer with whom she shares an uneasy history.

On the heels of this good news/bad news opportunity, 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.

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Available for Purchase:
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I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song!

[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxXj1_fhDSQ” color=”white” autohide=”1″]

** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

MaryAnn-2013The Art of Getting Stared At by Laura Langston opened up my eyes to an autoimmune disease that I had little to no knowledge about, alopecia areata. I can’t even begin to understand what sixteen year old main character, Sloane is going through…especially as a teenager where image is such a huge issue, as well as feeling accepted.

Sloane seems to be on the right track in pursuing her dreams in the film industry. After a short video about shoes goes totally viral (with hundreds of thousands of views), Sloane is given the chance to submit another video as an audition for a film school scholarship. Unfortunately, her teacher has partnered her up with Isaac Alexander (aka The Voice) to work with her on this project. Sloane and Isaac have worked together in the past, and her impression of him as a project partner is definitely lacking.

Just as things are picking up for Sloane, she finds a couple of bald spots on her head. Sloane knows this isn’t normal and thankfully, her mother is a doctor. After meeting with a couple of specialists, it’s obvious to all that she has alopecia.

With this huge project on her shoulders, and the fact that she needs to appear on camera, Sloane does whatever it takes to hide the effects of this disease from everyone at school, including her best friend. But secrets have a way of creeping up to the surface, and Sloane is faced with the realization that life has thrown her this huge curve ball, and sometimes love and support comes from the most unsuspecting people.

There were parts of this book that I really enjoyed. Watching Sloane come to grips with alopecia, watching the relationship between Sloane and Isaac develop, watching the relationship between Sloane and her stopmother evolve, and how secrets from different characters come to light.

What really bothered me about this story was the lack of presence from Sloane’s mother. I understand that she’s a doctor, and that she had made a commitment to travel to third world countries to help out, but come on…your daughter just found out that she has this terrible disease and in all reality, needs her mother! If it were me, I would drop everything and be there for my daughter and help her through this difficult time. I know that it was being shown that Sloane is a strong individual who can handle this, but still. Thank goodness for her father and stepmother.

I did enjoy that the author had built up the love/hate relationship between Sloane and her stepmother. I understood what Sloane was going through, and I couldn’t understand why the stepmother was pushing Sloane to wear make-up and dress different. It wasn’t until further along in the book where you get the “Ohhh I see” moment, and appreciate what it was that she was doing for Sloane.

I will admit that I wasn’t sure how I felt about Isaac, and whether or not he was just playing Sloane so that he could get the credits he needed by helping her out with this project. But as the story progressed, I couldn’t help but find Isaac completely endearing and a totally crushable character.

I would recommend this read to teens everywhere. Not only to become aware of alopecia, but to read a story where looks are not everything, and that no matter what, things will be okay in the end…and to just laugh.

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Interview

Top Favs with Laura Langston

1.       You’re home alone, there’s a fire! Top 3 things you’d grab and save from the fire.

 My two Shelties and my cell phone.  If Team Sheltie is already out of the house, I’d grab my cell phone, my laptop and the small metal box that holds our birth certificates, family documents and a few treasured photographs.

 

2.       Top 3 Favorite authors (dead or alive) and why.

Only three? I have so many – and some are my friends (how can I pick between my friends??) It also depends on my mood and what I’ve just read that’s still resonating. That said, lately I’ve been on a JoJo Moyes kick. Her novel Me Before You made me cry. It’s a love story without a traditional happy ending and yet it works very, very well. I’ve read several of her other books too and because I’m in awe of her talent she rates as a current favorite.  Jodi Picoult because her books often tackle difficult subjects sensitively and she’s an excellent writer. And I’d pick someone who writes funny because I sometimes need a light, entertaining read with a guaranteed happy ending. Right now it would be a tie between Meg Cabot and Kristan Higgins.  

 

3.       Top 3 Favorite snacks while writing and why.

My favorite go-to snack is popcorn with way too much butter which I don’t eat very often and never when I’m writing. My second go-to snack is anything salty like potato chips but they’re bad for me and I’m pretty disciplined so I don’t eat them very often either. Number three snack would be whatever is currently growing in my garden because it’s fresh and healthy. Right now, it’s green figs. A few weeks ago it was peaches and blueberries.  In the fall it’ll be apples, and in winter it will be kiwis from my kiwi vine. But I don’t usually snack when I write because it’s too messy and I hate a sticky keyboard!

 

4.       Top 3 Favorite books that inspired you to write and why.

I wanted to be a writer by the time I was in Grade Four. It wasn’t anything I read that prompted it. It was more a strong sense that writing was my path in life. However, there have been books along the way that reinforced my desire to tell stories. They’re not necessarily favorites but they packed such an emotional punch I remember thinking after I read them – wishing really – that I could write as well. One was Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Another was Before Wings by Beth Goobie. And a third was The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.  I also need to give a shout out to a number of Meg Cabot books including herMediator Series for inspiring me to remember to include humor when I write.

 

5.       Top 3 vacation destinations and why.

Only three?  How about ten?  (kidding).  Okay, number one would be a good – as in sandy, sunny and nearly deserted – beach (Long Beach which is close to where I live or Xpu Ha in Mexico which is not) because I love the sound of the ocean and walking along the sand helps me relax and clear my head.  Number two would be London, England because I adore the people, the history, the architecture and the shopping (and I’m not much of a shopper so that’s saying something). And number three would be Istanbul, Turkey because I’ve never been and I’m desperate to go!

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

laura langston

By the time she hit Grade Four, Laura Langston knew she wanted to be a writer. So did the teachers. It was the persistent daydreaming and invisible friends that tipped them off. Since Laura grew up knowing no writers – and consequently didn’t know how to be one – she became a journalist instead. The trouble is, journalists are expected to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

But making stuff up is way more fun. So eventually Laura traded one notebook for another and today she writes books for tweens, teens, children and sometimes adults.

When she’s not writing, reading or walking her Shetland sheepdogs, Laura can be found spying on people in the grocery store or twisting herself into a pretzel in yoga class. To learn more, visit www.lauralangston.com. Follow her at www.facebook.com/LauraLangston.Author

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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2 Comments

  1. Lisa McManus
    9/6/2014

    Loved this post for the blog tour! Looking very forward to reading this book. The review was perfect and the author’s top fav’s were perfect! Thank you for hosting this author!

    [Reply]

  2. […] “I would recommend this read to teens everywhere. Not only to become aware of alopecia, but to read a story where looks are not everything, and that no matter what, things will be okay in the end. “ Chapter x Chapter […]

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