Published by Electric Monkey on March 5th 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
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...
Skin Deep is about a girl who is in a car crash and suffers severe burns, causing a large, disfiguring scar to mar along one side of her face. This accident has happened less than a year ago and the wounds are still fresh (literally and figuratively). Jenna doesn’t often go out anymore, for fear of the pointing and whispering from other people. Naturally, as a 14-year-old, she’s already got some insecurities about her appearance, but after this accident, Jenna has understandably become more reserved and has only one friend.
Skin Deep was an incredibly emotion-inducing read. It was a brilliant blend of romance and contemporary that I love. Ryan is a traveller, who’s mum has Bi-Polar disorder and never wants to stay in one place. This time though, Ryan puts his foot down, and is set upon staying in this town for longer than usual–perhaps permanently. I loved the way the scars were handled, and how Ryan treated Jenna with the scars. At first, Jenna is incredibly sensitive and takes offence at many words that were not meant to be hurtful. Soon though, she begins to crack out of her shell and do things normal teenagers should do without a second thought.
Ryan is goshdang special, there is simply no other word for it. I have read many Romances and I have a lot of book boyfriends and Ryan is so incredibly different and so the same. As Ryan and Jenna fall in love, I was so happy for them and loved the way it was written. Ryan had this way of making Jenna feel beautiful even with her scars, which was a hard feat. He helped build her confidence and I’m sure, without him it would have taken many more years to gain such confidence. I thought they were genuinely perfect for each other. Together, they had their own issues, and it was very balanced the way they both leant on each other, and helped each other when they needed to.
The only thing that annoyed me about this book was Jenna’s father. In the accident, Jenna was with her best friend friends, who were smoking and taking drugs whilst driving. No, Jenna did not have the imitative to make them stop and let her out, and this caused the crash. However, I’m pretty sure she learned her lesson by the months it took her scar to heal–and is still healing. Also, with the emotional trauma of her best friends dying, and another girl dying. This doesn’t stop her father from stunting her emotional growth when she’s trying to re-build herself though. He constantly questions what she is doing, and shouting at her for trying to go out with friend. I get that there’s a trust issue after that crash and Jenna was close to dying, but that’s his problem–not hers. Her father is just so incredibly angry all the time, and sets up a local campaign in their small town to take a stand against speeding. But he doesn’t listen to her. Jenna hates this campaign, she feels uncomfortable being looked at, and no one treats her like a normal girl. Her father continually calls her selfish. It looks to me like the father needs therapy and not her. Perhaps it’s just my family, but if I was this uncomfortable and hurt by this campaign, my family would stop immediately. Okay. Rant over. Word of warning, this never really gets resolved, but I still loved the book.
Jarratt has crafted such an emotional and amazing book about first love, trauma, insecurities and re-building oneself. I loved it. It was exactly my kind of Contemporary and definitely a re-read. I read it in about two days, because it’s the kind of book you make time for.
Rating: 4.5 Stars