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A Different Kind of Beauty

by Sylvia McNicoll

Elizabeth Kerr is back in Sylvia McNicoll’s sequel to her Silver Birch winner Bringing Up Beauty. In this book, 14-year-old Elizabeth, slogging through the morass of teenage angst, grapples with her first year of high school while training another Seeing Eye dog, Beauty II. To add to her problems, her older sister, a successful picture book creator, has just returned home pregnant. Meanwhile, another character, Kyle, 16, has just lost his sight as a result of diabetes and is struggling to regain a sense of normalcy. Bitter and angry at being so helpless, he’s constantly lashing out. When he’s hit by a car and is rescued by Elizabeth and Beauty II, he claims that Beauty attacked him. But Kyle ultimately learns to take control of his life, and Elizabeth and Beauty play an important role in his new empowerment.

A Different Kind of Beauty is one of those teen novels stuffed too full with issues and catastrophes. Kyle, for example, not only goes into insulin shock but gets hits by a car, ending up in hospital twice. Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s sister is not only coming out of an abusive relationship but nearly dies and almost loses her baby when she has to have an emergency Caesarean. The many crises in the novel take the focus away from the storyline of the main characters, Elizabeth and Kyle. It’s also surprising how insensitive many of the characters, including Elizabeth, are to Kyle. Despite his short temper and arrogant attitudes, Kyle is a character whose realistic adaptation to blindness will grip young readers


Reviewer: Jeffrey Canton

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside


Price: $22.95

Page Count: 208 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 1-55005-059-1

Released: Dec.

Issue Date: 2004-2


Age Range: ages 10-14