Saturday, April 14, 2018

In Her Skin (Book Review and Giveaway)

Title: In Her Skin
Author: Kim Savage
Publication: Farrar Straus Giroux, April 2018 (hardcover, Kindle, audio)
Genre: YA
Plot: From childhood Jolene Chastain's mother taught her how to survive by scamming the public, pretending to be someone else to garner sympathy and extract cash. Jo can be whatever or whoever anyone wants her to be. When her mother takes up with a series of bad boyfriends, Jo's life deteriorates rapidly even as her con artist skills become very lucrative. But after her mother is killed, she takes off, ending up on Boston where she makes friends with another abused teen, Wolf, in the tent city where the homeless live.

Hanging out at the Boston Public Library during the day, Jo becomes fascinated by a beautiful young woman she sees studying, Temple Lovecraft, about her age but clearly from an extremely privileged background. After stealing Temple's ID, she googles her and learns that seven years ago 9-year-old Vivienne Weir disappeared from Temple's home while the two girls were playing. This gives Jo the idea for the biggest scam of her life and one that could provide the long-term security she knows she needs - to pretend to be long-lost Vivi. Jo's ability to play a part is undeniable but what if Vivi's life does not represent safety but, terrifyingly, another source of danger?
The Boston Public Library where Jo plans her con artist move
Audience: If you like authors such as E. Lockhart, Michelle Gagnon, and Annabel Monaghan, you will enjoy this YA suspense novel.

My Impressions: This is an original and darkly compelling story about a teenager mature and self-reliant beyond her years. I was attracted initially because I have always been fascinated by impersonation stories and was also intrigued by the Boston setting. Kim Savage certainly delivers an intricate and unforgettable story with memorable characters, including a heroine who the reader roots for from the beginning. Jo has gone through very difficult situations so this may not be suitable for pre-teen readers.

The author says In Her Skin is about the danger of forgetting who you are. It is interesting that Jo does not have many happy reasons to remember who she once was: while her mother clearly loved her, her mother's bad choices led to the mother's death and physical harm to Jo, and yet she was trying to leave to save them both when she was killed and Jo remembers the lessons her mother taught her and uses them to survive:
Remembering past lives. Isn't my only skill. Long ago, I learned I was good at using the ones right in front of me. Momma had a name for it: said I was an Intuit.  See, every time I switched schools, to avoid getting teased for my backwater accent or my short pants, I'd pick a certain girl - the girl whose laugh could leave you bleeding, the one who moved other kids around like chess pieces, the one teachers let get away with murder. I couldn't copy clothes, or the smell of clean scalp, or a hard little chin. But I'd get good at the cool rhythm of her speech, her shuffle walk, her nonchalance. Eventually, it wasn't enough to be on the outside: I wanted in.
Jo has used this skill to survive trials that would send someone weaker straight to social services but she is smart enough to realize there are tradeoffs. Even after she assumes Vivi's identity, she is conscious that her real self is still there, however deeply buried, and she doesn't want to lose it.

Giveaway: There is a giveaway to win a finished copy of In Her Skin. Click on the Rafflecopter link to enter from April 10 through April 24, a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author: Kim Savage is the author of three critically acclaimed young adult novels, After the Woods, Beautiful Broken Girls (named by Kirkus as one of the 10 Best YA of 2017), all by Farrar, Straus, Giroux/Macmillan. Her novels have been published internationally and been optioned for TV. A former reporter with a Master's degree in journalism from Northeastern University, she lives with her family near Boston. Kim and her husband have three children, each of whom begs to appear in her books. They shouldn't.

Purchase Links: Goodreads * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository * Kobo * IndieBound * iBooks

Source: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and the Fantastic Flying Book Club for review purposes, and recommend it. You can visit other stops on the tour and read those reviews by clicking below:

Tour Schedule

April 10th


Pink Polka Dot Books- Welcome Post

April 11th


A New Look On Books- Official Book Playlist

April 12th


The Last Page- Review
Vicky Who Reads- Creative Option

April 13th



April 14th


Phannie the Ginger Bookworm- Review & Favorite Quotes
Mama Reads Blog- Creative Option: Playlist

April 15th


Jessabella Reads- Review & Book Playlist
Kat’s Books- Review
Bookablereads- Review & Favorite Quotes

April 16th



1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

That sounds like an intriguing story. Thanks for the giveaway!