When thirteen-year-old Samantha moves to a new town, she decides to reinvent herself. She wants to be called SJ now. She’s going to be cool and mysterious. But above all, she’s going to pretend to be healthy.
SJ suffers from chronic eczema and allergies – she’s sick of doctors’ appointments and tests, sick of itchiness and pain, sick of looking different, feeling different. All SJ wants is to be ‘normal’. She’ll do whatever it takes to keep her illness a secret. After all, would new friend Livvy or cute boy Sam still want to hang out with her if they knew the truth?
We gain an in-depth and personal insight into chronic eczema, through the eyes of 13-year-old Samantha.
After moving to a new town, she decides a new start is in order - a new start involving not letting anyone know about her illness. She makes a wonderful friend in Livvy, and has the beginnings of a love interest with a boy, also called Sam.
However, as her eczema continually flares and her other allergies take their toll, it becomes increasingly difficult to continue to hide her secret.
With a terrific ending of hope, Sensitive will help many sufferers and their friends understand this condition better. Allayne L Webster grew up and lives with chronic atopic eczema herself, and through Sam’s journey she gives us an insight into the challenges that can come with this, but that life can, and does, go on with the love and support of family and friends. This was a great read, and I finished this book with a real feeling that the world would be a better place with a little bit more empathy and understanding.
With themes of illness, friendship, family and hope this is a lovely, and definitely a ‘sensitive’ story, that will most appeal Year 6 - 9 girls.
Reviewed by Rob