“The stereo thumps out a drumbeat. Lindsay yells and reaches into the front of the car to turn the volume up – it’s her favourite song. The boys in the front laugh and Rob puts his feet up on the dash. I smile like I’m having a good time, squashed in the middle of the back seat with Lindsay dance-jigging around on my knee and Charlotte and Sarah on either side of me.”
When Steven Carlisle started showing off even more in his new car, driving with his knees and smoking a joint at the wheel Jenna knew it wasn’t a good idea. When the car skidded on a patch of black ice and crashes Jenna can barely remember a thing until Rob is pulling her out of the flames. Steven walks free, Jenna’s best friend dies and Jenna is left with severe scaring to her face and neck. Jenna is trying to come to terms with her new face but doesn’t even want to leave the house most days, especially not on the day she bumps into Ryan on the canal and he looks at her as if she’s a monster. Ryan knows it was wrong, he was just surprised and longs for the time he can apologise to her but will she even listen to the gorgeous traveller when he tries to talk to her?
Skin Deep was beautiful. I was told it was and I didn’t think I would think so, it’s about a girl who is severely scarred and a traveller boy who is judged as soon as he is seen, it’s a contemporary love story, what could possibly make it any different to the other love stories out there? But it is, and it is beautiful, nothing could have prepared me for the deep, moving story that is held between its pages and I don’t think I can prepare others so just go and read this book!
I loved the depth of the story, how Jenna and Ryan both had their own self-image problems to deal with and the twist of the murder half way through the book. I like love stories but prefer them to have a bit more depth to them than boy meets girl, girl meets boy, and they fall in love. I liked how Jenna and Ryan’s relationship grew from the start and how they were friends before deciding that they had feelings for one another. There was no insta-love and the character and story development was both brilliant.
The characters from the book were so real that I thought I knew them. There were parts of the book where Ryan could come across as an arse and I really liked that he wasn’t perfect, he was a real 16 year old boy and I thought that his relationship with his mum made him act in a certain way even when he didn’t want to. Jenna was a great character and I thought she was right for her age, but came across as more mature sometimes because of what she had to go through. I felt so sorry for her because of the change she had had to go through and the fact that she didn’t even have her best friend with her to handle the situation anymore. It must be so hard to have to learn to look at your face again after a graft of the extent she had to have and she was so brave, even if she didn’t want to go out and face the world, she still did it. Ryan’s mum was really interesting and I think her illness came across well in the story, you could tell that there was something not right with her from the beginning in the way that Ryan was so worried about her and her personality, all aspects of it were put across so well in the book that it was quite worrying to read at times. I really liked Jenna’s family too, even though her mum tried too hard sometimes but her father was just right I think! Steven was the worst character in that he made my skin crawl, I can’t believe he walked free and his whole attitude was awful.
I really love the writing from this book, it’s told in alternating perspectives between Jenna and Ryan and I love how much more you get because of this. I’m a huge fan of split narratives and it definitely works for this story. I cried so much at the end of this book because I really got to know and love the characters, I don’t usually cry at love stories, only when characters die, so that shows how much this one made its way into my heart.
I really would urge people to read this book, its beautiful and the problems that Jenna and Ryan both go through make you love them and root for them even more. I really couldn’t stop reading and I doubt others would either.
Skin Deep is the debut book from Laura Jarratt, published on March 5th by Electric Monkey, an Egmont imprint. My copy was gifted to me from Viv at Serendipity Reviews.