Publication: November 25, 2014, by Scholastic
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Sometimes a girl just needs a change . . .
The last thing Emily wants is another summer of tanning and pool hopping in Cherry Grove. Now that her best friend has a boyfriend, everything feels different in a way she doesn't quite understand. So when offered a spot at a prestigious art program in Philadelphia, Emily jumps at the chance to leave her hometown for a few hours a day.
But it takes more than a change of scenery and a new group of friends to discover yourself. As Emily bounces between a suburb where everyone tries to fit in and a city where everyone wants to be unique, she struggles to find her own identity. And while the rules may change, the pressures remain the same. Friendships can be hard to navigate. Boys can be both mysterious and predictable. And the line between right and wrong can be a little blurry. . . .
Siobhan Vivian is literally the master of writing a perfect relatable contemporary novel for teenagers willing to look for something fresh and different. Same Difference was a novel that really touched my heart. Yes, it wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty great, and it changed the view that I had on books with a different protagonist than whom I’m used for, someone who’s free to say what she’d like and doesn’t care what people thinks of her. Emily may have seemed to create a Plain Jane role, but she was an artsy person who might have not known what life she had planned out, but once she met people who respected her and fit her personality, she realized that she was a person to be respected and honoured for her talent. *smiles of cheesiness*
But no, this book wasn’t cheesy at all. Yeah, she did ‘fall in love with her teacher,’ but don’t other magnificent stories feature that kind of romance? Just take a look at PLL by Sara Shepard. Ezra and Aria? Teacher-student romance? But that novel honestly made it all look hideous, while this was okay, and he saw Emily and Fiona drinking alcohol, (which does compare to other teen issues found today which Vivian is fantastic at sharing), which kind of made it even more okay since he was into their kinds of stuff, too. And hey, they both enjoy art and the feeling of it. But the thing is, Vivian’s characters weren’t memorable. It’s been a little over a week since I finished this book, and I can’t seem to remember the guy’s name.
Ummm… *awkward silence* You see, I still don’t remember. But that’s not the point here. Yeah, the love interest kind of sucked, but the best thing was that this book hadn’t relied on the romance. If it did, then this certainly would’ve gotten a lower rating since there wasn’t too much of a connection between the two other than their talents and hobbies. The main point of this book was that Emily was trying to find who she was as an artist, and who her real friends are, as all she’s ever had was Meg, her best friend.
Yeah, the concept was pretty awesome if you ask me, and only certain authors can actually do it right. Some would've made this into a cliché disaster where we actually begin to question who we are ourselves and laugh at the stupidity. I love the feeling that Emily had to art and how passionate she was to succeed and be unique. That was diverse compared to most contemporary-romances, just like The List was when I read it a few years back. How does this woman honestly come up with these ideas?
Emily was a successful character, as was Fiona. Not to be judgmental, but I felt that some romance between them would come up when they met, as the way Emily described Fiona was kind of too-perfect and addictive if you ask me. But in the end, I realized that she was just desperate to find a person like her who understands her love of art, since Meg could never have.
Next off, the plot. That was another tweak that I had a tiny problem with. I guess I can explain to you that this was a very slow book. You'll need some time to get into it though it's pretty short if you ask me. Vivian here has created a protagonist who's trying to speak to readers, to let us know her story so we can fully understand the main concept and point of her decision to go into art and proceed with her talent. I fully respected her but I do wish that since this was a contemporary, for the pace to go faster as even her and her teacher didn't even get to a big jump in their relationship until somehow the end when they... kissed, you guessed it. *rolls eyes*
The funny thing is, Emily's from a small town in New Jersey. You'd never expect her to be so narrow-minded as Meg, her best friend was because she's never been into a city situation or found a hobby in her life where she is able to succeed. Cherry Grove is an awesome place, but I guess that it's not for someone like Emily who dreams big and wants out of everything and to rebel. Hey, you guessed it—she did eventually rebel against her parents because of the influence of Fiona as to change her clothing and her room and do "shadow art." Every teenager goes through that scene and spark in their lives, no? At least, that's how I feel it is, and I've been through that as well so I can understand.
With a story that's very easy to relate to and with a shocking finale to the choices that she made, Emily, our protagonist, was one of the favourites that I've read about in a while. She took a stand, led her talents into something bigger, and Vivian, our author, was truly magnificent with the way she had presented Emily's thoughts into readers' minds and left it there. Though there were some mishaps with the supporting side characters, I can truly say that I'm happy with the way this one ended up, just like her previous novels that I've read. I'll definitely go for more, and we won't need the same difference next.