Of all the ARCs I picked up at this year’s ALA Annual Convention, one of those I was most looking forward to reading was Skinned by Robin Wasserman. Unfortunately, in my usual scatterbrained way, I completely forgot where I put the book when I unpacked one of my many boxes.
I finished it this week and it was not what I expected. Having recently read Meg Cabot’s Airhead, (also a pretty good read) I was expecting a similar story with a darker and more futuristic tone.
Oh My God, I was wrong.
If you’ve read Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake you might recognize some similar dystopian elements, but in general, I felt like Wasserman really created something unsuaul and unique in her post-apocolyptic society. In a world where everyone is Linked-in night and day; where people don’t age, they rejuvenate; and where cities are frightening places where energy is regulated to a tiny trickle so the rich can maintain their lifestyles of tech-clothes, music players that change songs based on the mood of the listener, self-driving cars, and contact lenses that connect the wearer to the network with the blink of an eye.
After the nuclear wars have destroyed the ozone, as well as turbulent zones like the Middle East, religion is considered out of style and bordering on crazy. No one thinks twice about genetically modifying embryoes, even paying extra to ensure low BMI’s and high IQ’s. But when Lia Kahn, the richest of the rich, dies, the latest life-giving technology proves too much for her society to handle.
I don’t want to give away too much plot, but let me just say that I was fully caught up in the turbulence of the novel. By the end, despite my sympathies for Lia, I still found myself questioning her right to life. Or, more accurately, her right to identity. Wasserman’s newest book does what all great dystopian books should: it makes you question yourself and your world. It makes you wonder if that which you think of as normal life could really be the seeds of a bleak and frightening future.
The book comes out on September 9 (that’s not too far away), and is a must-read! The first book in a planned trilogy, I’m definitely looking forward to the next two installments!
Check out additional reviews here: Jen Robinson’ Book Page