Skin Deep – book review

Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt

Skin Deep is the thought-provoking and gripping novel by Laura Jarratt.

After a horrifying crash that has left her scarred both emotionally and physically, Jenna must learn how to live again. Before the crash, fourteen-year-old Jenna was fun and outgoing. Now, she will do practically anything to stop people staring at the scar on her face and giving her sympathetic looks. All she wants is to keep to herself and to be invisible. But that all changes when Ryan comes to town.

Sixteen-year-old Ryan is a traveller, and also someone completely out of her league. But he’s different from all the other boys she’s met. He’s kind, funny and thinks she’s beautiful even with the scar on her face. Jenna starts to be more open around him and slowly comes out of her shell. But then something shocking happens in the community. The police suspect that Ryan is a killer. The killer of the boy who scarred Jenna’s face.

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I completely loved reading this book. I was grabbed from the beginning and was taken on a journey of love, loss and learning how to live, not just exist. This book was beautifully written and the moral of this novel is something we should all live by. This book is about how scars/disabilities/injuries don’t define people and there is more to a person than that. In the book, it says: ‘They’re just scars. They’re not you.’ That’s exactly how I feel. I feel as though these things shouldn’t be the defining characteristic of a person, only something that tells a story. ‘Scars are beautiful too, you know. They’re a badge we wear for the world to show we’ve lived… And that we’ve survived. So they have a beauty all of their own.’ Laura Jarratt is really brave for taking on a topic like this one and she did it extremely well.

It really opened my eyes to how people who are victims of such terrible injuries, disabilities or crashes like Jenna must feel. The way the characters were written made me connect to them and the book had me feeling all the emotions that Jenna and Ryan would be experiencing. Like Laura’s other book, By Any Other Name, I mainly loved Skin Deep for it’s unique and complex characters.

Jenna is quite a sensitive girl, which is to be expected for someone who has just survived a fatal crash. At first, I thought she was a bit weak and I felt as though she should be happy that she survived. I’d like to think that if I were in that situation, I would be thankful that I lived and I wouldn’t care if I were scarred from the experience. However in reality, I would probably react in the same way as Jenna does. We would all be lying if we said we 100% didn’t care what anyone else thought of us. Everyone wants to fit in and feel as though he or she belongs. In that way, that just shows how realistic Jenna’s character was. My opinion towards Jenna completely changed as the book progressed and I realised how brave she actually was.

Ryan was an amazing person. I really felt as though he was real, not just someone in a book. He restored my hope in humanity because I feel as though there are people out there who don’t care whether people have scars or injuries and love them anyway. Ryan was the perfect example of how people should aim to live: with honestly, acceptance and being open-minded. I believe that after reading this book, I have become a more open and accepting person. I think I know how it feels to be ‘the Other’ in society now and Ryan has showed me that even though there may be people who act stupidly and with no respect out there, there are also people who are kind and accepting towards everyone. I hope now that I am a person in the latter group. But not everything about Ryan is “serious”. Ryan is an incredibly funny person who made me laugh out loud in an embarrassing way in public spaces. He could pick out the good things of even the worst of situations. He was optimistic and stood up for what he believed in. Sure, Ryan is flawed like every normal person, but his flaws make him real. Flaws and all, I loved Ryan. The relationship between Ryan and Jenna felt completely realistic and not at all forced.

I loved every aspect of this book. The plot was really great and the twist towards the end was very surprising. I absolutely loved the ending, yet I was a little sad that this book was over. I will definitely be rereading this one sometime soon. I’d give Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt a score of 9 out of 10. If you haven’t read any books by Laura Jarratt, I really recommend reading them! Laura is an amazing author and I look forward to reading whatever she writes next.

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