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  • ARC Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
  • ARC Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
  • Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Review: Titans by Victoria Scott
  • Review: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista

Monday, March 5, 2012

Review: Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt

I'll just go ahead and say it. Skin Deep is one of the best YA contemporary novels I have read. It was destined to be in my favorites shelf and I don't even have one. But I will now, and this book will be the first one in it.

Title: Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt
Pages: 376
Release Date: March 2012
Published by: Hardie Grant Egmont
Source: Publisher (thanks Jen!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Summary:

Ugly people don't have feelings. They're not like everyone else. They don't notice if you stare at them and turn away. And if they did notice, it wouldn't hurt them. They're not like real people. Or that's what I used to think. Before I learned...After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna is permanently scarred. She struggles to rebuild her life, but every stare in the street, every time she looks in the mirror, makes her want to retreat further from the world. Until she meets Ryan. Ryan's a traveller. When he and his mother moor their narrow boat on the outskirts of a village, she tells him this time it will be different. He doesn't believe her; he can't imagine why this place shouldn't be as unwelcoming as the rest. Until he meets Jenna. But as Jenna and Ryan grow closer, repercussions from the crash continue to reverberate through the community. And then a body is found...

The day of the car accident changed Jenna in a lot of ways. Shy, timid Jenna who's always been Lindsay's shadow lived, and she had the scars to prove she had survived. Once pretty, now people avoided looking at her face. She hears whispers of pity and cries of shock whenever people see her. She thinks she's hideous and now Jenna struggles to once again become normal. But what is normal? Jenna didn't knew until she met Ryan. An older boy with NFA (no fixed address) stuck with a mom who couldn't be tied into one place. He was the first boy who looked Jenna in the eyes and was fine with what he sees. The town that was once rocked with the tragedy that involved Jenna now faced another crime, and this time, Jenna, her family and Ryan might be the one involved.

Tragedy changes people. One bad decision can lead to catastrophic consequences and Jenna learned that the hard way that cold night of the accident. Now she had to live with the scars on her face. She avoids people. She hates herself. Pity was one of the first emotions I've felt for Jenna because so much have been taken away from her by that car crash. Her scars run deeper than what is on the outside. For a fourteen year old to be so broken inside, it makes me want to be there and assure her that it will be better. It might not happen soon, but it will someday. What amazed me was even through the hurt and all the judgment she was getting, Jenna was still capable of giving so much love and understanding people when others don't. And to be able to break away from being a shadow of a friend who isn't worth her time and attention, Jenna is a brave, young girl.

Ryan is one of the most charming sixteen year old boys I've read of. Yes, he can rival the likes of Etienne St. Claire when it comes to charm. It amazes me how he's got this overflowing capacity to look for what's good in a person when his life has been filled with hardships. What I liked the most about his character was that it was established how imperfect he is. He's not a saint, and he's well aware of a lot of things a sixteen year old shouldn't: sex, booze and violence. Ryan is another example of how much people judge others based on appearances. The fact that he's a traveler living in a narrowboat makes people think the worst in him. How can one call him a gyppo and beat him up? Does it make him less of a person? A criminal? It shocks me how much cruelty a person can be capable of. To be quick to judge and presume things. Sometimes it makes one think what the world has gone to.

Both Jenna and Ryan acted so much like adults it makes me wonder if I'm really reading a story with a fourteen year old girl and a sixteen year old in it. Maybe the circumstances forced them to grow up suddenly, but to see both of them go through terrifying, trying moments in their life and come out stronger and better makes me admire them so much. They know and recognize how broken and messed up they both are, and they want to get through it together.

Beautiful and moving. Two words I've been longing to associate with quite a few YA contemporary novels I have read this year but didn't get the chance to. It was Skin Deep that made me think of those words while and after I have read it. Books like this tend to stick with you for a long time. The grief, the hurt, the pain, the anger, the myriad of emotions this book has portrayed, it was just wonderful to be able to feel a wide range of emotion. Laura Jarratt is a master at writing vivid situations and characters that will speak in a deep, touching way to the readers. Laura Jarratt was able to convey such a searing, honest story about two people who just want to be normal, to love and be loved and to find their own places in life. I love this book so much, it hurts!

Reminiscent of Justina Chen Hadley's North of Beautiful, Laura Jarratt's novel makes us want to look inside all of us and think what beauty really is. How do we define what's beautiful and what is not? We judge one another based on appearances but sometimes we just have to take the time and the courage to know what's beneath the scars. Skin Deep is a bittersweet novel I would read over and over. I'll never get tired of reliving all the moments that made this book such a great read!

My rating:

Content (plot, story flow, character):
10,000 butterflies for this book!

Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!

Book Cover:
One of my favorite novel covers of all time!

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

2 comments:

  1. Great review of a stunning book - if anything, 10,000 butterflies seems on the low side!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, I think I'm going to have to buy this one! It sounds amazing. :D

    ReplyDelete

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