Emily needs a change of scenery. She's been pegged as the "arty girl" by the kids in school — even her own friends. There's some truth to that, but there's more to how she sees the world than painting or drawing, and no one seems to understand that.
So when Emily gets the chance to go to an art program in Philadelphia for the summer, she jumps at it. A new cast of characters enters her life... and suddenly she has to figure out who she wants to be. She's gone from the suburbs where everyone's trying to be the same to a school where everyone's trying to be unique. The rules may have changed, but the pressures haven't.
With wit and empathy, Siobhan Vivian goes straight to the heart of a teen girl's search for identity — including the pain and heartache we have to go through to figure out who we are.
Emily s life reeks of the ordinary: she lives in suburban New Jersey in a posh gated community and hangs out at Starbucks with her friends in a town where most of the buildings are old, and if they re not, they re eventually made to look that way. When Emily heads to Philadelphia for a summer art institute complete with an eclectic cast of funky classmates and one dreamy teaching assistant she faces the classic teen dilemma of whether to choose the familiar over the new and exciting, while figuring out who she really is: Emily from Cherry Grove or Emily the aspiring artist? ( I look like two halves of two different people mashed together, she reflects during a trip to the beach. Is it possible to be a poseur in both worlds? ) Vivian (A Little Friendly Advice) serves up the story with vivid description and dialogue; the author s talent for scene-setting and evocative imagery is especially effective for a story about a girl just discovering her eye as an artist and herself as a person. Ages 12 up.