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Because of Anya

Because of Anya

4.7 47
by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Ten-year-old girls don't wear wigs.

So why is Anya wearing one? That's what Keely's friend Stef wants to know. She even wants Keely to tug on it, just to see if it's real. Keely wants to know too -- but when Anya's wig falls off in front of the whole class, Keely discovers that what she really wants is to help Anya feel better. As for Anya, she just wants


Ten-year-old girls don't wear wigs.

So why is Anya wearing one? That's what Keely's friend Stef wants to know. She even wants Keely to tug on it, just to see if it's real. Keely wants to know too -- but when Anya's wig falls off in front of the whole class, Keely discovers that what she really wants is to help Anya feel better. As for Anya, she just wants her hair to grow back, but no one, not even the doctors, knows whether it ever will. How can she come to terms with her disease when she can't even look in the mirror?

In this heart-tugging story of friendship, renowned author Margaret Peterson Haddix introduces readers to a young girl with alopecia areata, a life-altering disease that affects millions of people in the United States alone.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A 10-year-old girl is diagnosed with alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease that makes her hair fall out in clumps) and the unthinkable occurs (her wig falls off during gym), but a classmate reaches out for her friendship. PW wrote, "A short but often informative tale of ordinary girls facing exceptional circumstances." Ages 8-12. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Quiet, introspective Anya returns to fourth grade from winter break wearing a wig. Classmates conjecture and gossip and pass notes, and the very popular Stef dares her shy apostle Keely to find out what's going on. Having known Anya since kindergarten, Keely is torn between concern for a former friend and fear of ostracism. Anya, recently diagnosed with alopecia areata, wants only to be invisible at school as well as at home, where her parents seem equally devastated and helpless. When the wig comes off during gym class, the youngster flees the school to barricade herself from the world in her room. Keely, always a follower, must decide between her anguished desire to help a friend she wishes she'd kept, while Anya must figure out how she's going to live with her condition. Both come to terms with fear of change, Keely by cutting off her own tresses so Anya can have a wig made of real hair, and Anya by accepting this gift and opening herself up to her classmates, who turn out to be eager to respond with concern and kindness. Simply written, alternating between the two protagonists as they work toward one another, this is a poignant story of discovery on many levels. Haddix is sensitive to Anya's despair and her classmates' relief when they learn that she doesn't have cancer, and delicately navigates the emotional terrain, resolving the story with an upbeat determination. This is a much-needed introduction in kid-friendly prose to a fairly common malady that's particularly excruciating for preadolescents, for whom appearance often is all.-Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A mousy fourth grader demonstrates both courage and compassion in this undisguised consciousness-raiser. Keely takes a major step toward independence when she refuses clique-leader Stef’s command to tug at classmate Anya’s hair to see if it’s a wig. In fact, it is; Anya has lost her hair not to chemotherapy, as her horrified peers automatically assume, but to alopecia areata, an uncommon, non-life-threatening immune system disorder. Haddix (Among the Betrayed, p. 733, etc.) switches points of view between Anya and Keely to show one child convulsed with shame and fear of discovery, and another who is first horrified at the prospect that someone she knows might die. Then, after the truth comes out in the wake of an emotionally devastating public accident, Keely’s resolved to find the right way to show support--something at which Anya’s own hand-wringing parents aren’t doing too well. The characters are definitely modeling good and bad behavior here, but Keely’s urge to help comes from basic decency rather than ego. And though she speaks with unlikely eloquence at the climax, what she says--and later does, with a donation of her own hair--realistically works no instant cure, but does plant seeds that soon enough flower into acceptance, both in Anya and in her classmates. The author’s sympathetic but not simplistic insight will engage readers who might find the picture book Princess Alopecia by Yaacov Peterseil (1999) too cutesy. An afterword furnishes additional information, plus addresses and Web sites. (Fiction. 10-12)
Denver Post & Rocky Mountain News
"Haddix's story is straightforward and compassionate without being preachy or maudlin."
From the Publisher
"A poignant story of discovery."

"The author's sympathetic but not simplistic insight will engage readers."

"Haddix's story is straightforward and compassionate without being preachy or maudlin."

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.60(d)
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Two

"You were practically waving the note at Mrs. Hobson!" Nicole said as they headed out for recess. "No wonder you got caught!"

"No, I wasn't!" Keely protested. "It was on my lap!"

But had she lifted it up, trying to figure out what Stef was trying to tell her? Tears stung in her eyes, and she angrily blinked them away. She had to be ready. Stef was bound to lecture her again.

But Stef turned around and told Nicole, "Shh. Don't talk about it now. Not until we're..." She tilted her head in a signal they all understood. They were going out to the tree to talk.

The tree was their spot. It was at the very edge of the playground, past the swings, past the jungle gym, past the baby slides the kindergartners used. It was so far out that sometimes at the beginning of the year the teacher with playground duty had yelled at them, "Hey, where are the four of you going?"

Stef had always gone back to explain. Stef knew how to talk to teachers.

Now they could walk out to the tree and nobody said anything. And nobody followed.

The ground was frozen beneath Keely's feet, but the sun was out and the air was warm. It didn't feel like January. Keely didn't even need her mittens. If Keely hadn't been so stupid as to get caught with that note, she could be enjoying the winter sunshine right now, enjoying being back with her friends, enjoying recess.

They reached the tree. Keely leaned against the bark, letting the tree hold her up.

"Listen," Stef said, lowering her voice even though they were a long, long way from any of the other kids. "Forget about Keely's mistake. Do any of you know why Anya's wearing a wig?"

Keely breathed out a silent sigh of relief. She waited for Nicole or Tory to answer. That was how their friendship went. Stef was in charge. She was the one who had decided when they had all gotten too old for dolls. She was the one who had decided soccer wasn't really very much fun after all. She was the one who had decided glitter gel was stupid. She was the one who usually decided what they were going to play every day at recess.

Nicole and Tory were next in line. Sometimes Nicole or Tory could even tell Stef what to do. Just not very often.

And then there was Keely. Sometimes she felt like she was just hanging on by her fingertips. Sometimes it seemed like she was just one mistake away from not having any friends. That's why she tried to keep her mouth shut, whenever possible.

She didn't want to be like Anya. Did Anya ever have anyone to play with?

Nicole shook her blond hair so it bounced against her shoulders. "Maybe Anya thinks she's going to start a new fashion or something," she giggled.

Tory ran her hand through her dark hair. "Well, it's not going to catch on. I'd hate wearing a wig," she said.

Keely noticed that no one waited for her to answer.

"No, no, guys, think," Stef said impatiently. "What if she has to wear a wig? Because her own hair is falling out?"

"Eeww," Nicole said, turning up her nose.

"No, listen. What if she has cancer? And her hair's falling out because she has to have chemotherapy?"

Nobody said anything. The tree's empty branches rattled overhead.

Cancer? Keely thought. Cancer? She felt like her heart skipped a beat.

"But Anya's just a kid. Like us," Tory said.

"Yeah," Stef whispered. "And she might be dying."

Keely had a sudden memory of kindergarten. The first day, Anya had held the door of the classroom open for Keely to go in in front of her. Keely could remember what Anya had been wearing that day: a frilly pink dress. And Anya's mom or somebody had curled Anya's hair and pulled it back in a big pink bow. Keely had watched those bobbing curls and felt her own fear fade away. Someone was being nice to her already. Maybe school wouldn't be so bad after all.

And now Anya, the first person to be nice to Keely at school, was going to die?

"Somebody would have told us," Nicole said. "Mrs. Hobson or...or Mrs. Wiley."

Mrs. Wiley was the guidance counselor. She came into their classroom every month or so and talked about feelings and friendship and having good self-esteem. Stef, Nicole, and Tory always laughed at Mrs. Wiley, but Keely wanted every word she spoke to be true.

"Maybe Anya didn't want anyone to know," Stef said. "Maybe she's being brave and strong, and doesn't want anyone to feel sorry for her. We ought to do something to help her."

Stef got like this sometimes. Just when Keely had decided Stef was the meanest person she knew, Stef would turn everything around and act like the kindest person ever. Keely could tell that Nicole was feeling bad now for making a face and saying "Eeww" about Anya's hair maybe falling out. Keely herself felt bad for thinking Stef had passed her the note about Anya's wig so Keely would laugh at her.

"What do you think we should do?" Keely asked in a small voice.

"I don't know..." Stef let her voice trail off. She stared off into the distance, watching the other kids on the playground. "There's got to be something we can do to cheer up Anya."

"My mom read this thing in the newspaper," Tory said. "There was this high school football player, see? And he got cancer and had to have whatever that stuff's called — "

"Chemotherapy," Stef said.

"Yeah, that. Anyway, he lost all his hair. And to show how much they cared about him, all the other boys on the football team shaved their heads too. So he wouldn't stand out, because they were all bald."

For one horrible second Keely thought Stef was going to say that was what they'd have to do for Anya. No matter how bad she felt for Anya, Keely didn't want to be bald.

Then she saw Stef's hand fly up to her hair, and Keely knew: Stef would never say they should shave their heads.

Keely had never thought about it much before, but all her friends had really great hair. Tory's was dark and sleek and shiny — it reminded Keely of the seals she'd seen at the zoo, flashing through the water. Nicole's was long and blond, and didn't everyone always want to be blond?

But Stef's was the most impressive of all. It was red and wavy, and stood out like a great cloud around her head. People always noticed Stef, because they noticed her hair.

"Anya would probably just think we were making fun of her if we cut off all our hair," Stef said, like that was the only reason she didn't want to shave her head. "Besides, we don't know that she's bald, just that she's wearing a wig. No, we'll just have to go out of our way to be nice to her. That's what we'll do."

As if Stef had planned it, the recess bell rang just then. All four girls took off running, back to the school. Keely felt her long hair thumping against her shoulders as she ran.

I'm glad I have hair, she thought. I'm glad I don't have to wear a wig.

I'm glad I don't have cancer.

Copyright © 2002 by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Meet the Author

Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including The Missing series and the Shadow Children series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her at HaddixBooks.com.

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Because of Anya 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Because of Anya By: Margaret Peterson Haddix Review by: Haley Mitchell Have you ever been diagnosed with a horrible disease that takes away one of your best features? That is what happened to Anya in the heartwarming story, Because of Anya by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Anya learns to cope with the fact that her hair may never grow back. This story of friendship, communication, and illness, shows what it is like to live with a disease, and a clique. Keely is a very interesting, and important person in the book. She is forced to tug on Anya ¿s ¿wig,¿ or at least that is what the leader of the clique, Stef says. Keely is a smart enough person to know that this is wrong. I found it interesting to read about her, and her thoughts. The clique consists of three mean girls. Keely, Stef and one other girl, with whom they don¿t talk about much in Because of Anya. Stef, is the leader, who everyone follows. In my mind, I don¿t understand why everyone in the book ( except for Anya, of course) looks up to Stef. They think that she is cool, and I don¿t see why! Keely turns out to be a follower who is trying to figure out her true friends are. While reading this book, I pondered what alopecia areata was. Luckily, the book answered that for me! I like that it was the doctor who explained what this ¿rare, but not serious¿ disease was. It made it seem as if you were talking to the doctor, and he was telling you. I also learned that there is different types of alopecia areata. They are: Alopecia areata totalis- which means you have no hair on your head, alopecia areata universalis- which is losing all the hair on your body, and alopecia areata barbae- were you have no beard.. I felt bad that Anya felt like having this disease was the end of the world. She would spend nights crying, and complaining. Margaret Peterson Haddix definitely gave me an idea of how miserable Anya was. I liked that it gave such a clear view. This book was enjoyable to read, because of the views that the author gave. The setting was portrayed very clearly. Same with the weather when they are outside. Although those are strong, one of the most important portrayed item is showing the peoples moods. In this book, you can always tell how the people are feeling. That always makes a page turner! There is a problem in this story, especially when Anya¿s wig mysteriously falls off. Had someone pulled it? Or did it just fall off? I found myself wondering the same thing. Keely thinks that it was Stef, Stef doesn¿t know what happened, And Anya doesn¿t care- she is too busy getting out of the school gym. I can¿t say much more without giving much away, so I suppose I¿ll conclude. Keely learns to find friends, and gain trust, while Anya deals with a heartbreaking disease. To find out how Because of Anya ends, you¿ll have to read this wonderful story by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Read on!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I knew a girl and she had cancer. However she was a beautiful young girl and was so sweet and cared about everybody. When she got dingnosed it was tough handling the news. She went through a number of rounds of kemo- theropy and lost most of her hair. But she stood strong and fought aginst the tumor. We visited her in the hospital often. And every time we walked into her room she always smiled the brightest smile. Months later we got a phone call from the nurse at her hostpital and she said "we came into shelby's room to check on her and there was no heartbeat." We knew she had died. I sat in my room and cried. This was such a sad and depressing time for me. Exactly one year after she had passed away, me and my family went on a walk. The weird thing was there were tons of butterflies everywhere. But everyone had called her butterfly. So i can relate to this book very well. You might be able to as well. Even if you cant it is still the most touching book ever!!!!!
Li-fe_GetOne More than 1 year ago
I have to say,because of Anya is one of the best reads I ever read. This story is about a little girl named Anya,who has a very BIG problem. She has a mystery medical condition that causes her to lose all of her hair,and a few people want to find out...Always trying to pull off her wig in front of the whole class,but in the end they become friends with her.I do think that the author could use more craft than she did,and she should of made it a little longer.I would of enjoyed that.I think people of all ages would like this book,because it is easy to under stand and has a lovely plot to it.I hope other people enjoy this book as well,and if you haven't read it...your really missing out.And if you haven't read any of the Haddix books,go get one,it will be good for you. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very touching. I read it about 3 years ago and it has still stuck with me. Jessica the bug freak
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I definatley loved reading it
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book Because of Anya is a outstanding book because it teaches us kids to respect others and if others have dieses to help and not to make fun of!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will get you hooked to the end
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Book is awesome! I could not put it down! I finished it in 2 and a half days! I kept reading and reading! When my dad came to pick me up from cheerleading, I sat in the car reading. My dad had to stop somewhere. I brought the book in and read. When I got home, I ran inside and sat down in the nearest spot and read. It was that good. I wish there was a sequel. This is the second book I have read by Margaret Peterson Haddix. They both were books that I could not put down.I love this book! This book is mostly about a girl who randomly loses her hair. First, she parts her hair weirdly, but then it gets worse. She goes to the doctor and finds out that she doesn't have cancer! She was so happy! She also wondered what she had. So did her mom. Her mom starts to cry. She has...
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was one of the most saddest books I have ever read! I loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Because of Anya was an amazing book, and I loved it. It had lots of action, and was very dramatic. In the fifth chapter, Anya started to lose patches of her hair, and later on she goes bald. When Anya lost all of her hair, she thought her life would never get better, and most of all she didn¿t think her friends could help her get better. At one point, Anya¿s wig falls off in P.E. class. She gets really embarrassed. In this book, Keely, Anya¿s friend, helps her class research Alopecia areata, which is the disease Anya has. Normally you wouldn¿t think one person could affect a whole school, but in this book Anya does. Teachers work together to gather homework for Anya. And as the rumors that Anya had cancer and that she wasn¿t a normal kid spread, the more she didn¿t want to go back to school. This book had the best ending I have ever read. Since I don¿t want to give the ending away, I¿ll just say that Keely keeps visiting Anya, which makes her feel a lot better. Keely told Anya that she was beautiful with or without her wig. In conclusion, I¿d like to say that this was one of my all time favorite books and I¿d recommend it to anybody! I give it five out of five stars! By Shelby Age 12
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about a young girl whose name is Anya. She has a disease called alcopieta acreata. Which is a disease that makes every hair in your body disapear. She has to wear a wig in hopes nobody finds out. If they know, all is lost.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this story I could not put it downI donated 10 inches of my hair to locks of love
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its so sad! I wish i could donate my hair to locks of love
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book_Worm_1998 More than 1 year ago
I loved the characters in the story! It was a great book, one of the best I have read this year. It is pretty short, and it only took me two days to read, but I had heard great things about it and decided to read it. It is about a girl named Anya. All her hair has fallen out, and she has to wear a wig. But another character named Stef, notices that Anya is wearing a wig. She wants Keely to go pull on her wig to see if it is real. But soon, in gym class, Anya's wig falls off. Keely wants to make Anya feel better, but she doesn't know how, because she thinks Anya has cancer. Anya does not have cancer, and she is not dying, but she feels terrible. Plus, Keely and her friends don't know the truth. Keely has to find out how to stand up to her friends, and make Anya happy. This is a great story, and you should read it!
LiFeIsReAdInG17 More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing in every way. You could really relate to it and is a quick, excellent good read. The story of it is very clever. I don't read fast, but I could just NOT put it down. My friends thought I was crazy for not stopping! The characters are your normal, every day people, but with different attidudes. Haddix uses lots of descriptive details to make you visualize the main character, Anya, and the other characters. If you like short chapters, you will like this. I like short ones, so that's probably also why I liked it so much. I love this so much and was spectacular! :]
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is very emotional it gets you motivated to keep on reading I highly reccomend it
Guest More than 1 year ago
wow this book was better than i thought it would be and i thought it was gonna be pretty good to(of course it was because margaret peterson haddix is my favorite author)^_^ i defenatly recomend this book to you
Anonymous 8 months ago
This book is great. It has anything you want in a book. It is funny,sad,happy, and has suprises. You could read it to your kids and I ber you they would love it. I recommand this book and rate it at a 5.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi my name is chloe isabella- grace mullis. I am 15 & from new york. I my self have cancer i would rather not put what kind on this but im at stage for and my self hav no hair lik anya. Once i found out i had cancer i didnt go to school for a long long time almost 2 months. I was embarrased. Byt this book has inspired me an i went to school after i read this and it got better. People with cancer shouldnt be ashamed. But even if you are going to die its okay because you know you will be in a much metter place. My doctor told me that i only had 2 months to live but i think im doing pretty good with cancer. Im going to beat this. If i had hair i woul totally donate it!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great day!! Remember some ine thought of you today!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nods. "Nice to meet you too."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walked in. "Hey giiiirrrrl! F.u.c.k. me!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I'm Leona. Nice ta meet you!!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so sad. I'm actually growing out my hair for locks of love. This book changed my whole opinion when girl's don't get what they want. They want that. Anya is diagnosed with this terrifying disease that she doesn't want or have a choice to get.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anya is such a brave character and i dont know if i could even begin to deal with her sitiuation the way she does, and the way that keely and the other kids deal with a classmate wearing a wig is very different but by the end of book they all feel so bad for her! But it also amazes me after all Steph has bossed her around,how keeley is able to resist and forgive steph This is a must read and i would reccomend it for grades 4 mabey even 3 up! #luv it <3