My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Spot the Difference is a novella, written especially for World Book Day by Juno Dawson. SPD focuses on Avery, a year 10 girl with severe acne, who is getting severely bullied for it. When a new experimental drug becomes available, Avery’s skin clears up – and her social life blooms. Suddenly, she’s in the A-List, with a hot boyfriend and everything’s going well – except she’s neglecting her friends.
Spot the Difference has to be the first book I’ve read which tackles the very common affliction that is teenage acne. Many characters in YA are flawless, with perfect skin, at a perfect weight, and seemingly without any physical or mental illness or disability. SPD introduces a cast of outcasts and cool kids – with Avery’s friend Lois with an underdeveloped arm, while her other friend Jessica is overweight. This was a huge breath of fresh air, although I would love to see more YA novels where disabled and overweight characters are allowed to be ‘cool’.
Although I enjoyed the story and the overall moral – but I found the instant rocketship to popularity once Avery’s face had healed a little unrealistic. In reality, if one of your ‘flaws’ ceases to be, it’s much more likely bullies will find something else to bully you for.
There was a lot going on in this novella, and this story would have easily worked for a full novel – the characters were well-rounded and developed, and there’s a full story arc.
A fun short story read, that tackles some serious issues that haven’t yet been tackled with sufficiently in YA. Highly recommended (and only £1!)