In A Closer Look, by Karen DelleCava, freshman Cassie Donovan is having a great school year. She's reasonably popular, her natural talent gets her tapped for the varsity track team, and she has a burgeoning relationship with adorable and musically-talented Tommy Sweeny - who is, of course, to die for. Things couldn't be better...until the morning Cassie wakes up to find her hair all over her pillow.
Cassie has a medical condition called alopecia, but that's not the biggest shock. The biggest shock is when she discovers that she has had it before, only she was too little to remember. Now suddenly her life is as unrecognizable as her reflection in the mirror. She loses more and more hair, Tommy becomes stand-offish, and Cassie's mother does nothing but cry all day. And to make matters worse, a certain member of the varsity track team who sees Cassie as competition laughs at her worsening condition and whispers behind her back.
All Cassie wants is for things to be like they used to, but she gets the opposite. Her once fairly carefree life is now all about personal courage, self-acceptance, and the very real possibility of having to purchase a brand new wig.
A Closer Look is a sweet and touching book about a very real problem that does not necessarily have a happy solution. The prose is realistic and age-appropriate, and is laced with a certain type of humor that only teenagers can understand. The pacing is steady enough to keep the book moving, and the unrelenting tension caused by Cassie's hair loss makes the reader feel they're right in the doctor's office with her. In short, the book is full of characters you'll care about and events that demand your attention.