In award-winning author Laura Langston’s latest YA novel, The Art of Getting Stared At, sixteen-year-old Sloane Kendrick is a high-school student in San Francisco with a talent for film. When a video she produced for film class goes viral, receiving 600,000 hits on YouTube, it catches the attention of world-renowned Clear Eye Productions, which offers her an once-in-a-lifetime film school scholarship. However, Sloane only has two weeks to get the application ready – and she’s got to work with Isaac Alexander, her secret crush and the world’s biggest flirt.
But when Sloane discovers a bald patch the size of a quarter just above her right ear and is later diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease, she does her best in the coming weeks to hide her devastating hair loss, confront her fear of baldness, manage a complex disease, and meet the deadline. Never one to fuss with her looks before, Sloane soon learns how much, to her surprise, her appearance now matters to her, but not–shockingly– to those who mean the most.
The Art of Getting Stared At is a well-paced, thought-provoking read, deftly exploring the difficult terrains of body image, self-esteem, societal definitions of beauty, and the implications of following your heart. With an equal mix of wit, wisdom, tenderness, and tenacity, this bittersweet coming-of-age tale is sure to strike a chord with teens, increasing awareness about this incurable disease and sparking meaningful conversation about the complicated link between personal identity and physical appearance.