Friday, 31 May 2013

REVIEW: SKIN DEEP by Laura Jarratt


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...

I really enjoyed this YA book, devouring it in one evening. The style is easy going but the issues are engaging and thought provoking. Jarrett deals with two major issues, the disfigurement of Jenna and the bi-polar disorder of Ryan's mother with an incredibly deft and sensitive pen. The characters were endearing, especially Ryan, whose character really elicited sympathy. 
The only criticism I have was the decision the author made about Ryan's mother at the end of the book. As a child of a parent with Bi-polar disorder, it would be the least 'positive' situation that I could think of and for me it just opened up a whole potential future catastrophe rather than the hope it was meant to (sloppily) inspire. This decision was a pity as it undermined the way that the representation had so carefully been built throughout the novel; however I also understand that my feelings towards this are incredibly subjective and would perhaps affect me in a different way to most readers, so I certainly wouldn't penalise the novel for it. 
I would highly recommend this although for me it wasn't a change my whole world book. It gets a very worthy 4 stars from me and a very secure recommendation. 


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