For Beauty McElwrath, the first day of sixth grade in small-town Green River, Florida, proves to be exactly the catastrophe she expected. Beauty is acutely shy, and she s sure she s doomed to be a social outcast for yet another school year. It doesn t help that her mother is dating her teacher!
But then she meets Alane Shriver, a new student who suffers from progeria, a rare, rapid aging disorder. At first Beauty is frightened by her fellow outsider s wrinkled skin, shriveled hands, thick glasses, and tiny, frail body. But fear gives way to curiosity, and Beauty discovers that, on the inside, Alane is just like any other twelve-year-old girl. When a life-threatening event puts the two of them in harm s way, Beauty unexpectedly finds the confidence and inner strength to save Alane. (Publisher website)