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Me, Just Different: The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt #1

Review

Me, Just Different: The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt #1

The first book in The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt trilogy, Stephanie Morrill’s debut, is a surprising read, mostly because it’s marketed as Christian YA lit. But ME, JUST DIFFERENT isn’t piled high with prim and proper tales of church going, quotes from bible verses, and preaching God’s way. In fact, there are more than a few risqué plot elements that will resonate with --- or, at the very least, pique the interest of --- any teen, religious or not.

At first glance, Skylar Hoyt is what some might call a typical popular high school senior. She is drop dead gorgeous, a snappy dresser, and has hunky guys lining up to be her boyfriend. Her friends --- Jodi, Alexis and Lisa --- spend most of their afternoons talking about how they look, the boys they like, the cool parties coming up…and occasionally, what they can’t stand about each other. On the surface, the group seems like any other popular clique in teenage America. But spend a little time with Skylar and you start to notice the cracks in her perfectly-put-together façade.

For Skylar, the trouble started when she was almost raped at a party after a guy she was flirting with dropped a “roofie” in her drink. Luckily Eli, Jodi’s ex-boyfriend and the most handsome guy at school, came to her rescue, and the two teens made a pact to give up partying and boozing in favor of becoming more responsible and going to church. But despite her vow to reform, Skylar’s life just gets more and more complicated. Eli wants her to be his girlfriend, which would be fine if Jodi wasn’t secretly jealous. Plus, Skylar has started to feel something more than friendship for the new boy, Connor, who lives down the street. To make matters worse, while going to church youth group should be helping her feel better, it’s actually making things worse. Her friends aren’t exactly supportive of her decision to forgo fun in favor of prayer, and their ongoing effort to party hard is making Skylar feel a little on the outs.

While all the social pinball seems par for the course for this type of novel, Morrill introduces some meatier issues in ME, JUST DIFFERENT as well. Skylar’s parents are less than cordial to each other and divorce is imminent. Her 15-year-old sister Abbie is pregnant and refuses to divulge her secret to anyone except Skylar --- or make a decision about what to do with the baby once it’s born. And Skylar’s ongoing relationship with God and what role religion does, or should, play in her life weighs on her daily --- especially when making big life decisions.

There are times when Skylar’s incessant jockeying between men and temper tantrum-like bursts of selfishness can seem flighty, if not downright irksome. For a girl in need of a spiritual makeover, some readers might wish it would happen sooner than later. But her myriad questions about life, love, and everything in between feel earnest and genuine. Unlike some of the more two-dimensional characters (namely, Skylar’s girlfriends), other characters --- particularly Connor --- vibrate with authenticity, and given the surprise ending, it’s a good thing they’re there to shake things up a bit. More to look forward to in the next two books!

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Reviewed by Alexis Burling on October 18, 2011

Me, Just Different: The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt #1
by Stephanie Morrill

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2009
  • Genres: Christian, Fiction
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Revell
  • ISBN-10: 0800733770
  • ISBN-13: 9780800733773