Sixteen-year-old Sep stares into the bathroom mirror. It’s not some weird lipstick (she never wears lipstick). Her lips are just white.
In a panic, she digs up an old lipstick and smears it on her colorless lips. But soon, more and more white spots begin to bloom, spreading their chalky tendrils across her olive brown skin. Does she have a disease? Is she turning into some kind of freak?
Sep is usually the one who knows all the answers. With a quicksilver mind and a supple body, she’s happiest when she’s delving into the mysteries of animal biology or giving herself over to sweet, hot moves in Jazz Dance Club. Unlike her best friend, Devin, she’s never been in a rush to get a boyfriend. But as the white blotches spread, her dating days like the endangered species she studies seem numbered. So when Joshua, a boy she’s always liked, makes a flirty advance, she wonders: why not grab pleasure while she can?
Frank, funny, and full of passion, this is the empowering story of a strong gifted teen who, as her life spins out of control, desperately tries to prove to the world and herself that she is deeper than skin.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sep has vitiligo, an autoimmune disease which causes white spots to occur on her body. It began on her lips, spread to her hands and before long she is on a mission to cover the spots which she checks for almost daily. Being in high school, she feels her peers will ridicule her so she goes to great length to hide her symptoms which I thought was extreme considering what I see every day with the teens in our area. Pink hair, multiple piercing, numerous tattoos, bizarre clothing style and that is just a few of what I see. I also wondered if she has never been exposed to teens with other diseases and that’s why she was going to such extreme measures. Beginning a new relationship with Joshua, she wonders how long she can keep this a secret but as her body turns white, she knows she can’t keep up the front much longer. Her emotions are a mess, what exactly are her options? Her relationship with her best friend is crumbling, her relationship with Joshua is fraying and her health is tied to everything. Can she do anything with a disease without a cure except hibernate? I thought she was a bit childish for being in high school. She was afraid to talk to her best friend and be honest with her which surprised me. Joshua had feelings towards her and they weren’t all superficial, he seemed real yet she kept backing away from him, her actions frustrated me. What did she have to lose by being honest with him beside what she really wanted to do with him in the long run? Her mother provided a good sounding board but she really didn’t utilize her like she should have. I grabbed this book as it was written by Donna Jo Napoli and l loved her book The Wager. 3.5 stars
Parents, if you are cautious about what you let your kids watch for TV and movies, you need to read this book before letting them read it. Trust me on this. The three stars is for literary quality and sensitive treatment of a difficult themes.
Sep is a character that is easy to relate to and it was a journey being in her head. She is realistic and although dealing with some hard issues and emotional, still brought humor and sarcasm to the table. I can't imagine waking up and my lips being white, wondering what was wrong with me, and if it would spread, trying to hide it and deal with the worry would be so hard, but I get a glimpse of what that would be like through Sep. I like the realistic friendship she has with her family and her best friend. It doesn't feel forced, but there is tension between her and her parents and her brother, but there are also those bonding moments that you know they are really there for her and I loved reading those moments. She tries to hide that there is anything wrong with her from everyone except her family at first, and that causes problems with her and her best friend. There is also the added bonus of the boy she used to be best friends with in elementary school now coming back into the picture. It adds a lot of romantic tension as well as suspense because she isn't being upfront with him about the white spots. But still, I loved their stolen kisses and other touching as well as the awkwardness when she is straight up about things like asking if he is flirting with her and he gets all embarrassed and tongue tied. Bottom Line: Well written issues book with a funny at times main character that embraces the emotional experience life dealt her.