Win a signed copy of A Closer Look! Details at the end of this post.

It was New Year’s Eve, but I didn’t care how I looked—jeans and a sweatshirt, hair in a ponytail—done deal. Babysitting for a two-year-old could be messy so that outfit was a safe bet.

Too early to leave, I wandered into my younger brother Kyle’s room. He was packing video games for a sleepover at his friend Rob’s house.

“Got big plans for the night?” Kyle asked.

“While you’re frying your brain playing those stupid things, I’ll be making a cool ten bucks an hour.”

“For babysitting a kid that’s asleep?”

“It is New Year’s Eve. I could’ve gone to a party or done something else instead.

“Yeah, right—as if anybody asked you.”

Jerk. I hadn’t expected any party invites, and besides, I’d accepted this job over a month ago, so I was already booked even if something else had come along.

“Bite me,” I told him. “Next time you’re hard up for cash, don’t come to me looking for a loan.”

“Aw, you know I didn’t mean it,” he said. Then he Kyle-smiled me. That always worked on Mom, not on me. But I never could stay mad at the brat for long.

Excerpt copyright © 2011 Karen DelleCava

About the book:

Freshman year is going well for Cassie, a standout sprinter about to move up to varsity, and Tommy, that cute sax player, has asked her out. But in a matter of weeks, Cassie’s got a secret: her hair has started falling out and she’s doing everything possible to hide it. Cassie’s horrified when she learns that it happened before, when she was three, and a trip to the dermatologist confirms what she’s feared—that all her hair may fall out. Cassie has alopecia areata and there’s no effective treatment. Eventually she confides in Tommy, but soon after, when he suggests they chill out as a couple, Cassie feels betrayed. Then at a crowded track meet, Robin, a rival on the team, exposes her secret. With her worst fears realized, will Cassie ever again be able to face her classmates, teammates, and most of all Tommy?

What people are saying:

“Readers will be rooting for Cassie and the way she proves that losing your hair doesn’t have to mean losing your spirit.”–Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of Among the Hidden, an ALA Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults

A Closer Look is heart-wrenching and funny. Cassie’s spirit and voice will keep readers intrigued, and athletes especially will identify with her grit.”–Rich Wallace, author of Wresting Sturbridge, an ALA Top 10 Book for Young Adults

A Closer Look is a sensitive and honest novel full of authentic details that is sure to resonate with readers. Cassie is as real and alive as the girl at the next desk in homeroom, and teens will empathize with her struggle with shame and self-image.”–Erika Tamar, author of Fair Game, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and NY Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age.

“…This engrossing and well-written story will have readers empathizing with Cassie as she struggles to deal with this life changing condition.”–Children’s Literature, reviewer: Denise Daley

“There are a lot of great YA’s out there, but it has been a long time since I read one as hard-hitting and in-your-face as A Closer Look… –Rita Hubbard, Young Adult Book Central.

Released: November 1, 2011

About the author:

Karen DelleCava has always loved to write. Her mom still has all her creative writing assignments from middle school to prove it. Her fiction, crafts and party plans have appeared in Highlights for Children magazine. Karen earned a BS in Business Administration from Montclair State University. She’s member of the SCBWI and volunteers for the NY Metro Chapter. She also works part time as a yearbook consultant. When she’s not reading teen fiction, writing or playing Scrabble, you’ll find Karen jogging, biking or hopping around on her patio doing step aerobics. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two sons. A Closer Look is her first young adult novel. Visit to read all of Chapter 1.


Karen has been kind enough to contribute a signed copy of A Closer Look for a giveaway!

Just comment on this post to enter.

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Please list your extra entries in the comments.

The contest is open in the US and Canada, and ends on January 18th at midnight EST.

Good luck and happy reading!