After reading this short book, I love Margaret Peterson Haddix even more as an author than I did before. I LOVE her suspense books and wasn't sure how much I would like a softer, more generalized fiction work from her, however she pulled it off flawlessly and I loved it. My heart went out to Anya and her family and I can only pray for all the families that really do deal with Anya's condition on a daily basis.
Because of Anya is told by two characters, Anya, the title character that is suffering from Alopecia Areata, a condition in which the person loses all of their hair for no real reason, and by Keely, one of the girls in Anya's fourth grade class. At first, when Anya begins losing her hair, she is petrified that the kids at school will find out, her mother buying her a wig almost immediately. Day to day school life becomes incredibly stressful as Anya attempts to make sure that no one knows she is wearing a wig. After a horrible day in gym class when Anya's wig falls off, she is sure no one will ever talk to her again, thinking her some terrible, bald monster.
Keely, typically a follower in the group of popular girls, takes a stand in this book and befriends Anya, letting her know that it's ok that she is different. She helps Anya to understand that the kids are more curious than afraid and if Anya would explain why she didn't have hair anymore, the kids would be more likely to act normal again. The bond between these two girls starts out very small, but quickly grows into a genuine friendship.
I was very impressed at the manner in which Haddix told Anya and Keely's complicated story in such a short book (only 112 pages), but she did it beautifully. I was so sad for Anya, yet so proud of Keely. This is a great selection for anyone liking Haddix's writing style or for young girls enjoying books on friendship and understanding.