Skin Deep ~ E.M. Crane

Everyone thinks the phoenix rises from the ashes, gleaming and unscathed. Until they know better.

Andrea Anderson goes about her days something like a hamster on a treadmill. She keeps her head down and tries to go unnoticed with great success until the end of her sophomore year. Her eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Menapace,  gets sick and needs Andrea to walk her dog. Honora is an artist and in addition to walking her dog, she hires Andrea to help her with her pottery. As her own life begins to diminish, Honora helps Andrea step off the treadmill and look at things differently.   Once Andrea begins to see that there is a whole world beyond high school she gains confidence and begins to embrace her life. She learns that things aren’t always what they appear to be. Honora isn’t an old lady, cheerleader Ashley-with-a-bad-haircut isn’t  superficial and Dennis, her mother’s boyfriend, might actually be a nice guy. E.M. Crane’s description of life as a tenth-grader is excruciatingly accurate. (Was she in my homeroom?) And her characters are realistic and likable. Honora is one of those wonderful, life-changing adults all kids should have the pleasure of meeting.

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