Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Same Difference

Same Difference

4.5 24
by Siobhan Vivian

See All Formats & Editions

Sometimes a girl just needs a change . . .

The last thing Emily wants is another summer of tanning and pool hopping in Cherry Grove. Now that her best friend has a boyfriend, everything feels different in a way she doesn't quite understand. So when offered a spot at a prestigious art program in Philadelphia, Emily jumps at the chance to leave her hometown for a


Sometimes a girl just needs a change . . .

The last thing Emily wants is another summer of tanning and pool hopping in Cherry Grove. Now that her best friend has a boyfriend, everything feels different in a way she doesn't quite understand. So when offered a spot at a prestigious art program in Philadelphia, Emily jumps at the chance to leave her hometown for a few hours a day.

But it takes more than a change of scenery and a new group of friends to discover yourself. As Emily bounces between a suburb where everyone tries to fit in and a city where everyone wants to be unique, she struggles to find her own identity. And while the rules may change, the pressures remain the same. Friendships can be hard to navigate. Boys can be both mysterious and predictable. And the line between right and wrong can be a little blurry. . . .

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher


“Readers who have wondered, 'Are these the friends and the life I want to have?' will see themselves reflected in Emily's achingly real struggles, heartbreaks and triumphs.” – KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review

“Vivian finds the true voice of every character, even those who aren't truthful.” – AKRON BEACON JOURNAL

“[Vivian's] talent for scene-setting and evocative imagery is especially effective for a story about a girl just discovering her eye as an artist and herself as a person.” – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Publishers Weekly

Emily's life reeks of the ordinary: she lives in suburban New Jersey in a posh gated community and hangs out at Starbucks with her friends in a town where "most of the buildings are old, and if they're not, they're eventually made to look that way." When Emily heads to Philadelphia for a summer art institute-complete with an eclectic cast of funky classmates and one dreamy teaching assistant-she faces the classic teen dilemma of whether to choose the familiar over the new and exciting, while figuring out who she really is: Emily from Cherry Grove or Emily the aspiring artist? ("I look like two halves of two different people mashed together," she reflects during a trip to the beach. "Is it possible to be a poseur in both worlds?") Vivian (A Little Friendly Advice) serves up the story with vivid description and dialogue; the author's talent for scene-setting and evocative imagery is especially effective for a story about a girl just discovering her eye as an artist and herself as a person. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Ruth Paget
When Emily climbs onto a commuter train bound for summer art school in Philadelphia, she has no idea how much she or her new and old friends will change. Emily's life in a gated, suburban community in New Jersey in no way prepares her for the refined knowledge, skills, and barbs of the truly artistic teens, especially Fiona. Emily discovers, however, that she cannot go back to just tanning by the pool with her best friend, Meg. Emily wants to be an artist and agonizes over her ability, her friendships, and her attraction to her teaching assistant. At the novel's end, readers will see that the title sums up how the transition from adolescence to adulthood can mean anything from romance and sex to artistic achievement. The outward contrast between suburban and urban teens may be a new experience for some teens, especially those who have never had their lifestyle and opinions challenged. Teens with an artistic flair will find this book intriguing as it describes the academic environment in which students will find themselves if they pursue this field. This novel will appeal to readers of Tanjuja Desai Hidier's Born Confused (Scholastic, 2002/VOYA February 2003), which also features a suburban teen who discovers her art by exploring New York City. Reviewer: Ruth Paget
Children's Literature - Naomi Butler
Emily wants to pool hop and tan her way through another summer in Cherry Grove. Now that her best friend has a boyfriend, everything feels different so when she is offered a spot at a prestigious art program in Philadelphia, she wants to leave her hometown a few hours a day. As she bounces between suburbs where everyone tries to fit in and a city where everyone wants to be unique she struggles to find her identity. It is hard to tell right from wrong. The author creates a picture about what it is like to be different and a teenager under these circumstances. It is pretty much true-to-form with those circumstances. The art school information will be interesting to the reader, as well as the experiences of traveling around the city. It is a detailed description of a segment of a teen's life at a critical time for decisions. The story is very well written and holds the reader's interest. Reviewer: Naomi Butler
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

Emily has it all: a perfect house, a BFF who lives across the street, and a neighborhood Starbucks that serves the girls twin frozen mochas before they order. When Emily enrolls in a summer art program in Philadelphia, what could go wrong? The fact that very little does happen is part of the problem here. The teen and her life are just a tad too sunny to be real. She navigates her way through the big city, the artsy crowd, an edgy new friend, creative demands, and a forbidden first love. All this is a refreshing change from her scripted suburban life. She dumps her best friend for the excitement of it all. Some of Emily's choices, the people she trusts, and the circles in which she travels are just plain dumb-even for a naive and sheltered kid. She works as hard to reshape herself as she does to create her art. And all to great success. There are no major crises here, just affluent coming-of-age stuff. The edgy artist, Fiona, whom Emily befriends, is the most interesting character and she fades out of the story. The premise of Emily's potential, her creative talents, and her spirit of growth and risk-taking are all well and good. It's the small conflicts that never seem satisfyingly resolved that makes Emily's near misses and great luck feel contrived and sugarcoated.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Emily isn't sold on spending the summer commuting from her wealthy suburban enclave to the Philadelphia College of Fine Arts, but she might as well: Her lifelong best friend "Meg got a boyfriend and I got a hobby. That's just the way things worked out." As in A Little Friendly Advice (2008), Vivian focuses on teenage girls' quests for identity and the consequences for their friendships. Meeting and eventually befriending Fiona, whose intoxicating persona is as studiously bold as her own is retiring, forces Emily to rethink her approaches to art, fashion, friendships and romance. Resentments large and small simmer, then boil over between Emily and Meg, while Fiona turns out to be not quite the virtuoso she initially appeared. Emily finds her way slowly, messily, with breakthroughs spurred by her daily sketchbook exercises, emerging on the other side of summer with a bruised but hopeful heart. Readers who have wondered, "Are these the friends and the life I want to have?" will see themselves reflected in Emily's achingly real struggles, heartbreaks and triumphs. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Siobhan Vivian is the acclaimed author of Not That Kind of Girl, hailed by Kirkus Reviews as a “powerful, involving exploration of teen girls’ identities and relationships,” Same Difference, and A Little Friendly Advice. A Jersey girl by birth and a Brooklyn girl at heart, Siobhan currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA, and on the web at www.siobhanvivian.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Same Difference 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Lizzy96 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the book "Same Difference". It was a very different sort of book that lets you notice the small things in life that you should appreciate. It was about a girl, Emily, that had spent every summer of her whole life with her best friend, tanning in her back yard by the pool, just relaxing, and walking to Starbucks to get a mint mocha, lounge on the comfy chairs, while sharing the latest gossip. But when she signs up for an art class over the summer in Philadelphia, a monstrous city compared to her little borough, she doesn't know that she is in for a huge adventure. Emily's life is about to change right in front of her eyes. From new friends, to a whole new lifestyle, she sees that there is more to life than Starbucks and the new gossip from her fellow classmates. When Emily changes her perspective of life, everything changes along with her. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to see the true meaning of life through teenage girls eyes.
Avid_Reader101 More than 1 year ago
This book is incredible! This book really helps you find self confidence and finding yourself. I would compare Emily to Rifka from Letters from Rifke They are both spunky,lost, and trying new things and finding new love which gets taken away. Emily is a 16 year old that lives in a gated community. She has moneyand a great life long best friend. She never knew she had a talent for art until one teacher opens her eyes. She gets a scholarship for a summer internship at a Phillidelphia school of Art. There she meets talented, beautiful,and self observent Fiona. They imediately become friends and they hang every second together. Emily drifts appart fm her friend at home. She becomes anew. Fiona isn;t what she seems and Emily and her get in a big fight. Emily discovers true friendship and romance with a 19 year old student teacher named Yates.
Livs_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
How can you not love Siobhan Vivian? Seriously. I follow both her personal blog and The Longstockings (not to sound creeper-ish), and everything she writes is just so alive and enjoyable. That being said, Same Difference was pretty dang good. So you know how Sarah Dessen has a kind of trademarked romantic style/plot concept that's present in all of her books? Well for Siobhan, she's got a friendship style. In A Little Friendly Advice, her first book, she focused on the dynamics of the relationships between a group of girls. They were going through a difficult stage in their lives and in their friendship, and they all grew from it and became better people because of their experiences. In Same Difference it's the same sort of troubled friendship plot line but it's different enough that it feels fresh and unique. In this book, the main character is going through a huge stage of self-discovery. She has to decide whether she wants to become a crazy artsy girl with the help of her new "friend" Fiona or whether she wants to stick with her roots and live a plain dreary life in Cherry Hill. But the book was so much more than that one little decision. In the beginning, Emily had no idea who she was or who she wanted to be. Throughout the book she learned how to make new friends, create beautiful art, and still stay true to who she was at her core. She even got to have a little forbidden romance. And that's the part that didn't work for me - the romance. Yates was Emily's teacher's assistant. He was two years older than her and didn't have much of a personality. Truthfully, they didn't have much, if any chemistry at all. It was just so flat. They were able to sit and draw pictures of each other but they weren't able to have a meaningful, colorful conversation. And the fact that he didn't see through Emily and Fiona's fake friendship doesn't do much for him. Also, I didn't really get why Emily was dumb enough to stick with Fiona for the whole entire story. Fiona made her feel like crap and she was so caught up in her own stupid views that she couldn't take a minute to look around at the rest of the world. Emily seemed like a very bright, and genuine girl and the fact that she was sucked into Fiona's antics for almost the whole story was sort of a let-down. But other than that, the book was good. The setting was extremely vivid, the conversations were true to life, and all the art lingo seemed really well researched and thought out to me. And Emily was a very teen-like girl. She made some of the same dumb decisions that I would have if I was in her shoes and yet she still followed her heart. I liked how in the end she learned how to get the best out of both worlds - art land and suburbia. Also, I was super happy that she didn't ditch Meg. Because Meg was sooo cute. As was the fact that Emily's little sister was starting to get all artsy and defiant at the end of the book; she was following in her sister's footsteps. Aw! There were just so many cute and fun little moments in this book that made me smile. It's such a great feel-good read. My only advice to Siobhan Vivian would be to steer away from the romance in the future and focus more on the friendships. That's her strong point, I think. Although I do hope that there are some romantic moments in her next book because I want to see what she cooks up next. :) I love Siobhan and I loved this book. Read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Plum. A purple fruit. Never thought I would be living there<p>I just had moved to Plum recently, and things had not been going well. After getting over the humiliation of living in a fruit like Spongebob, I had to face my worst fear. School. I moved from Springdale, wich has 57 kids in a grade, to Plum wich has 674. Goths, Preps, Jocks. Jesus! <p>But hey, that was last year. I turned our Alright. Right?<p>No. I learned how to fake a smile. I havent really smiled in 3 months. Until Brady came along.<p>-Mars-<br>(guys so sorry this was short. Next chapter is longer and its there. I wanted to write that first. And I am currently 14, struggling with all this)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gurl, u goin out on a date with ur eyeliner on?! Ur gonna look like a wratched witch!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PlEase keep going!!! They are amazing!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic your amazing. &hearts Jade
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Hi, Luke." I smile as I pick up the phone. "Hello, Grace. I was wondering if you wanted to go to McDonald's with us?" Luke asks me and I look down at my hands. "Oh... uhm... I'm not allowed to go outside... unless it's my backyard." I say. "Then how do you shop?" Luke wonders. "I shop online." I respond. I hear Luke laugh on the other line. "Why don't you rebelle a little?" Luke suggests. Me? A rebel? I don't think it's possible. But I've got to try. "Sure." I finally say. "Okay. I'll pick you up soon." I can hear Luke's smile. "See you when you get here." I hang up. I look down at what I'm wearind and cringe. I walk toward my closet and take out noen yellow skinny jeans, a white v-neck and white Converse. Then I go to the bathroom and put on a little bit of eyeliner and mascara. I put my hair up in a messy bun and I put on my sapphire necklace as I hear Luke knock on the front door. I jump but then run toward the door and open it. I see Luke standing there with a smile on his face. "Are you ready?" Luke asks. "As ready as I'll ever be." I smile as I walk out the front door of my house for the first time ever.*********** I know, extremly short buuuuutttttt I wanted Grace's first expiernce outside to be special. And that includes a lot of writing. &#9829 A
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No sample it makes me want it more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the overall IDEA of the story was good, the way it was carried out could've been much better. It was too much like a trashy teen novel and definitely did not have enough substance to actually carry the point across. Also, I found about a dozen typos and sentences that weren't even half-way finished (which I know is the printer's fault, but still). It was not what I was expecting, and while it sounded interesting at first, when I actually read the book, I was extremely disappointed. It sounded too much like an annoying rich girl getting lost in finding herself and being a poser, which, yes, happens in adolescence, it definitely could've been written better. So, basically, I really didn't like it...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book over the summer and loved it! it really shows a teenagers real life in finding themselves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a really good book...the message that it sends out is that to find your true self you have to do some wild things before reilizing that you are the person you are and you cant change that. I recomened this book to all my friends because it just talks about a girl and her challange to find her true self...it relates to alot of people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Misty_Blu More than 1 year ago
Emily is a great character which I'm sure most girls will be able to relate to. She goes to an art institute over the summer and finds new friends and maybe a new love. This book is a great care free book that will give you laughs and wanting to know what happens with Emily. I sure hope this helps anyone who was thinking about reading/buying this book the push to read it because it is a GREAT book!
Baringuard More than 1 year ago
Same Difference grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let go. Vivian has the wonderful ability of taking you into the head of a teenage girl who is just discovering her place in the world. Through the excitement of new friendships to the anxiety of those drifting away, Emily remains a new-age heroine trying desperately to break free of her dull life, only to realize that there was more there than met the eye. A perfect summer read to pass among your friends.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
How many of us can truly say we know who we are, especially as teenagers?

Emily is no different. Sure, she has had the same BFF forever, will graduate from high school next year, and her family seems pretty together. Take away those three things, and she has no idea.

That is, until her art teacher recommends her for an invitation-only summer program in Philadelphia. Though she has never thought seriously about her artistic ability (like everyone else, she only took the class because it was an easy A), Emily decides a couple days a week taking some art classes in the city is a perfect way to take a break from all the blah.

What follows is Emily's journey between her hometown, where everyone is trying to fit in, and her new surroundings in the city, where the struggle is in trying to stand out. Attempting to navigate both worlds isn't easy, and Emily will lose herself before she can truly find the self-discovery, and the self-confidence, she will need to become the person she is meant to be.

As in all life lessons, there are losses as well as gains along the way.

Those living through adolescence and their teen years, as well as those of us who have actually made it through the experience, however scathed, can truly appreciate Siobhan Vivian's SAME DIFFERENCE. Though we would never choose to go back and live it all again, Ms. Vivian has given us a gift in allowing us to follow Emily in her effort to answer the question many go through life never having the strength to ask: Who am I?