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Same Difference

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,388 ratings  ·  244 reviews
Portrait of the artist as a young girl, from new teen writer Siobhan Vivian

Emily is ready for a change. She's been in the same town with the same friends for a long time...and none of them really understand her art. But when she goes to Philadelphia for a summer art institute, she suddenly finds like-minded people. One in particular, Fiona, intrigues and challenges her. Bu
Hardcover, 287 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Push
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  2,388 ratings  ·  244 reviews

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Apr 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Elizabeth Scott, Sarah Dessen
Shelves: 2010, chick-lit, ya
I find it hard to review Same Difference. There is nothing wrong with this book except that within a few days I will probably not remember I ever read it.

Same Difference is your standard coming-of-age story. The main character - Emily - feels a little blue, her best friend has a new boy-friend and Emily feels left out. To break the routine of being the third wheel, she decides to pursue her newly found artistic aspirations and attend a summer arts program in the big city nearby - Philadelphia.
Feb 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Emily feels trapped. Trapped in Cherry Grove, a suburb that practically exudes pool parties and backyard cookouts. Trapped with her best friend Meg, who has recently gotten a boyfriend and isn't paying as much attention to her. And trapped in a school where art isn't appreciated. So when Emily is offered to go to a prestigious art program over the summer of her junior year, she accepts immediately. However, now she's stuck between two completely different worlds: her hometown where everyone trie ...more
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Emily is searching for something real. Summer in her hometown of Cherry Hill doesn’t feel fun anymore as it should, especially since her best friend Meg got a boyfriend. So she decides to attend an art program in nearby Philadelphia. She figures that since she’s always liked drawing, this will be a chance to discover herself without everyone else’s expectations weighing her down. But is a change of scenery really all that Emily needs to forge her own identity? Because it seems like Emily keeps r ...more
Jun 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Sixteen-year-old Emily struggles to discover her identity as she goes back and forth between an art program in Philadelphia and sunning in the suburbs in New Jersey.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and will probably read the author's first book, A Little Friendly Advice soon. A little predictable, but definitely enjoyable. Fun and interesting, and I'll definitely recommend this at my library.

However, one thing really bothered me about the plot . . . (SPOILERS AHEAD)

-Emily is a REALLY bad fr
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Theresa Miller
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I would have given this book four stars, because it was great, but not quite to the five-star mark. But then this happened:
The girl in the book is going to summer art classes at the art college in Philly. After her first week, she's still self-conscious about her J. Crew tanks tops- she's way too suburby, she feels. So one morning she takes a Sharpie to one of her tank tops and draws a picture of her (now deceased) cat Meowie. Right there on her tank top. I read this on the lightrail back from
Jennifer Wardrip
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Angie Fisher for

How many of us can truly say we know who we are, especially as teenagers?

Emily is no different. Sure, she has had the same BFF forever, will graduate from high school next year, and her family seems pretty together. Take away those three things, and she has no idea.

That is, until her art teacher recommends her for an invitation-only summer program in Philadelphia. Though she has never thought seriously about her artistic ability (like everyone else,
Mar 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
I am able to see bits and pieces of myself in almost every book I read, but it is rare that I find one that so accurately reflects the teen I was (and in some ways even reflects the adult I am now). Emily is a "regular" girl who is a talented artist (OK, that part isn't like me AT ALL) who does not realize the extent of her ability. She willingly downplays her skills to make her more dominant friend, Fiona, stand out and feel better about herself. Even when she is given the opportunity to shine, ...more
Michelle Wrona
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more reviews!

*3.5 star rating*

Siobhan Vivian is literally the master of writing a perfect relatable contemporary novel for teenagers willing to look for something fresh and different. Same Difference was a novel that really touched my heart. Yes, it wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty great, and it changed the view that I had on books with a different protagonist than whom I’m used for, someone who’s free to say what she’d
Diana Welsch
Feb 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This book had a plot arc that I could totally get behind. It was subtle, no grand gestures, no cliched bullshit. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Emily is a 16-year old boring New Jersey suburbanite. Her summertime fun plans have usually include laying by the pool, going to Starbucks, going to Dairy Queen, all with her cheery best friend Meg. But Emily has just taken an art class in school and found that she has an aptitude for drawing. So her parents signed her up for a summer art program 3 days a week
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth F
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
From suburban lawns to urban art school, the main character is on a summer journey of self-discovery. I recommend for students interested in art who may feel like an outsider in their home, town or school. The art school kids are portrayed in a real way and not idealized.

p. 96 "I'm here,looking at you,trying to figure out just who you are. Because it seems like you might be this secret cool person wrapped up inside this whole other cool person. Only you don't know it yet."

p.45 "For this class,
Aug 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Middle school- High school
2.5: The summer before her senior year, Emily leaves the familiarity and confines of her suburban neighborhood each morning to attend art school in the city. While she has always enjoyed art, under the influence of new peers and courses, Emily begins to develop and trust in her own strong aesthetic voice. Author Vivian’s discussion of composition and materials and her insight into the power of art brings the story to life and is my favorite part of the book. At the same time, Vivian’s plot and c ...more
Sallyann Van leeuwen
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Emily lives in a safe gated community where day after summer day hold nothing more than lazing around a pool and watching her best friend Meg and her boyfriend Rick cosy up. So when the offer of attending a summer program in an art school is made, Emily has her eyes and world broadened. Here she meets an eclectic bunch of people, the arty bunch who encourage her to step outside her vanilla world and grow into the person she wants to be. Morphing into her new shell doesn't sit well with everyone, ...more
Juliet Jarrett
I just finished this book Same Difference! It's about this girl named Emily Thompson and she lives in this small town called Cherry Grove, right next to Philidelphia. At first she doesn't make friends that well, but then she meets this one girl named Fiona. She isn't your normal type of person. She is kinda fun and quirky. First off she has short blonde hair but then a pink extension that is about 5 inches longer. The author likes to refer to it as, "A Kool-Aid Waterfall." So when she meets Fion ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book does an excellent job capturing those moments of loneliness that teenagers (and all humans) feel. Emily wants to be liked and will transform herself to fit in with others. At times, the other characters in the book are quite mean to her, and the reader feels complete empathy for her and wants her to feel a sense of belonging. She struggles to develop independent thoughts and ideas, but often, she finds herself emulating a very dominant female in her life, Fiona. The book was very well- ...more
Nov 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian (Scholastic). Emily, 16, has the chance to spend half-days at a prestigious art school in Philadelphia, splitting her summer between the city and her hometown of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Soon, she finds herself torn between the art world--where everyone wants to be unique, and the suburbs--where fitting in is practically required. Throughout this book, there are moments when you feel like you are Emily; it's a beautifully written coming of age novel. ...more
Aram Teens
Love Vivian's writing a lot - her characters are never over-the-top and they don't struggle with twelve million problems before resolving the big one at hand. Emily feels like a real girl. Interestingly, this one pairs really well with Laura Lee Gulledge's graphic novel PAGE BY PAIGE. ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arty, ya-literature
This is a steady, quiet coming-of-age story that offers detailed sympathetic characters. Such an absorbing read with lots of insights into Art and our need to connect with it, other people and ourselves.

I love realistic, contemporary material, and this is an excellent example of the genre.
Mackenzie Virginia
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: women, 2-stars
That's mostly what I get from this book. I didn't really like any of the characters, or understand them. I didn't like their decisions, and not even in a way that I don't like them but respect them for their character, etc. I just felt like it was all superficial.
Nov 25, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maybe
The only book I read from this author is "Not That Kind of Girl" (and I enjoyed it), so I do intend to read more. this one seems to be right up my alley and it might be a great starting point.

Dear March, why won't you switch places with January :p
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, 2011
This book made me horribly homesick on many many levels. I loved the characters--I KNOW these characters--and loved this book, simple as it was.
Israa Ismail
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-loved
I wish this book never ended that's how awesome it was! ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book for any art students :) Really inspired me to make art again! Generally easy to understand and such a gooooooooood book for teens :D
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vanezza Joongz
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not really into this kind of genre but finished it anyway. The story lost the essence of being real. REALLY. For me, Emily was a character that I can't figure out until the end. Or maybe because we don't really have too many similarities. It's not really like disliking her but I don't like her at all. Not in a sense of being good/bad person but she's like someone I can't quite appreciate in the story. Only the way the author had written this story is what keeps me on going. ...more
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I loved the Sweet Dreams series when I was a tween, and this reminded me of those books (but different in that sex is acknowledged and no big deal). I have 4 more of her titles and hopes that I'll enjoy each of them just as much. ...more
Vanessa Deroo
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Same Difference is a pretty story of friendship and self discovery - two crucial things when you're sixteen. It's worth a read, although I would have liked for Fiona and Meg to be more rounded characters. ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I checked this book out, and then wasn't sure why I wanted to read it. But once I started it, I really liked it. Loved the figuring out - going with the flow vs. actively living life and who you really are. ...more
Sam Moreau
Nov 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
Could have been a little better written in the beginning if you are trying to pull readers in. Took me longer to finish then most books due to lack of interest. Maybe just not the book for me. Seems like every teen artist love story rewritten if you asked me
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Siobhan Vivian is the author of THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD (April 2016), as well as THE LIST, NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL, SAME DIFFERENCE, and A LITTLE FRIENDLY ADVICE. She also co-wrote BURN FOR BURN series with her best friend JENNY HAN. She currently lives in Pittsburgh.

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