Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Sensitive


Sensitive by Allayne L. Webster, (UQP), 2019. Pb. 240pp.  RRP $16.95 Also available as a pdf, epub and kindle

Reviewed by Pauline Hosking

When thirteen-year-old Samantha moves to a new town with her family, she decides to reinvent herself. She is sick of doctors’ appointments, tests, itchiness and pain. Every day she faces the stress and embarrassment of looking different due to her chronic atopic eczema. Sam is desperate to hide the illness from her new friend Livvy and a cute, possible boyfriend. Samantha’s mother has inadvertently magnified the problem by trying so hard to find a cure.

A doctor recommends an exclusion diet which Samantha follows rigidly. As a result she ends up in hospital suffering from malnutrition and septicaemia. In the bed next to her is Billie who has the skin condition psoriasis. Billie is philosophical about her situation and has devised ways to stop herself feeling down.
Unfortunately there isn’t a miracle remedy for Samantha. Her best hope is to manage her mental health and her condition. She learns to be brave enough to like herself for who she is.
Sensitive is largely autobiographical, based on the author’s personal battle with chronic illness, severe life-threatening allergies and chronic atopic eczema.  ‘Globally, the diagnosis rate of childhood allergies and eczema has skyrocketed,’ writes Webster in a press release. ‘More education is required…’

This book will certainly help. The story is fast paced, the dialogue excellent, and there’s plenty of humour along the way. The author understands her audience very well. Samantha is a brave, warm-hearted girl who cares for others. Her anger, frustration and desire to be ‘normal’ will be easy for middle grade and early YA readers to relate to. Recommended.




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