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Therapy With a Knife

A Different Me by Deborah Blumenthal. What's the cause of Allie's low self-esteem? It's as plain as the nose on her face.

Therapy With a Knife

BOOK REPORT for A Different Me by Deborah Blumenthal

Cover Story: The Shadow Nose
Drinking Buddy: Why the Long Face?
Testosterone Level: Don't Get Your Nose Out of Joint
Talky Talk: A Nose By Any Other Name
Bonus Factors: Snooty Girl, Mysterious Loner Geek
Bromance Status: We'll Cross That Bridge When We Come to It

Cover Story: The Shadow Nose

So we've started to replace the giant teen faces with blurry teen silhouettes. This really could be the cover of just about any book. The quotes about body image are okay, but have nothing really to do with the story.

The Deal:

Fifteen-year-old Allie knows exactly why she hates the way she looks. Why she has trouble sticking up for herself. Why she can't stand to speak in front of a group.

It's her nose. Her mammoth, bumpy, Steve Martin in Roxanne, size-ten schnoz. And this isn't just her imagination. She hears the laughter, the comments, the mean talk.

But we're not living in Cyrano de Bergerac's time, are we? Just a little snip here, a stitch here, and her troubles will vanish. They can do it on an outpatient basis. Then she'll like herself.

Of course, she'll have to convince her parents to get on board with this. Especially her mother, from whom she inherited her facial features. But she's become friends with Mel and Katrina who she met on an online big nose support group. They'll all have the surgery together...well, the same year. Kind of like getting pedis! Won't this be fun?

Meanwhile, she's stuck tutoring Amber, the most beautiful girl in school. Someone Allie would kill to look like. Flawlessly gorgeous. And stuck up.

Drinking Buddy: Why the Long Face?

It's tempting to write Allie off as a whiney teen, moaning about something as stupid as her nose. But it's also easy to write off someone else's problem as inconsequential. How many people hate what they see in the mirror? If only my nose was smaller. If only I wasn't so fat. If my teeth didn't look like that. If I were just a little better looking. If had been born the other gender. Then I'd be happy.

At least Allie can change what she hates. One simple procedure and her misery will be gone. Everything will be okay.

Because if it's not okay...if she still doesn't like herself, what's left? What's it going to take?

Testosterone Level: Don't Get Your Nose Out of Joint

No action or violence, some nice smolder with David (see below).

Talky Talk: A Nose By Any Other Name

I like how the author didn't sugarcoat Allie's problem, nor did she fall into the trap of making the parents' approval a big stumbling block, or imply that only shallow people have cosmetic surgery. Allie just has to decide whether the operation is right for her. Mel's nose job works out great, but Katrina's...it turns out she didn't break her nose in a car wreck like she tells everyone. And surgery can't make those memories go away.

Plastic surgery can make you beautiful, but it can't make you love yourself.

Bonus Factor: Snooty Girl

So Allie has to tutor Amber, the queen of the school. Super popular, super gorgeous. But get this: She's not happy! Mind blown!

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Geek

So there's this weird kid at school, David. He wears eye makeup and always has his camera jammed in someone's face. But wouldn't you know it: he thinks Allie is beautiful just the way she is! Nose and all! Isn't that sweet?

Bromance Status: We'll Cross That Bridge When We Come to It

Can't say I really connected with this book. Not because I didn't like the cover...it's what's inside that counts.

Brian Katcher's photo About the Author: Brian Katcher wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.