Sensitivity and Perception
'Why Can't I Be You' by Melissa Walker follows main character Claire through the summer when she turns twelve. Even though life should be pretty easy and fun at such a young age, Claire finds herself troubled by issues of friendship and perception. Having lived her life in a trailer park, she has never thought herself less than anyone else, but with more and more not-so-joking statements coming up from kids she goes to school with, she begins to wonder if her life is not as good or normal as she once thought.
Being pretty young still, and not being able to understand that life doesn't have to revolve around where someone lives or how much money they have, Claire lashes out at those close to her, not meaning to hurt them, but trying to find meaning for herself in the issues that are plaguing her. Her best girlfriend, Brianna, has also moved into a new and pretty ritzy home with a fancy new pool and lots of other items that Claire can only wish for, and her other best friend, Ronan, who lives in the trailer park with her, isn't helping to calm her nerves. Rather, he is trying to fit in more with the people who Claire sees as making fun of them, and it makes her question her perception of life in general and what is truly important.
Little does Claire know that not everything is always as it seems, and even those who seem like they have everything together and are living perfect lives are often hiding secrets of their own. Brianna's cousin, Eden, is one of these seemingly perfect people that everyone has known at some point or another in their lives. She is the type of person who drives others crazy with her confidence and certainty in life, but it is important to remember that it is impossible to ever know someone fully, and judgments make coming to understanding with others harder.
It's perfectly normal to wish to be someone else once in a while. Life often seems so much easier from someone else's perspective, hence the "grass is always greener on the other side" phrase. 'Why Can't I Be You' implores readers to better understand how to cope with judgment and perception, and learn how to be happy with life as it is, since everyone's happiness is entirely subjective and dependent on any number of factors. It will help readers be more thoroughly sensitive to not only others, but to their own individual situations.