Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Skin by Donna Jo Napoli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s the first day of her junior year and Sep is staring at herself in the mirror. She isn’t worried about her hair or her summer green feet, she took care of those. For some reason, her lips are white! Not pale; her lips have no color at all. With her olive brown skin, it is obvious. Her mother tells her she still has to go to school so she grabs her pink lip-gloss from when she was 10 and suffers through her first day jitters. After seeing the doctor it is determined she has Vitiligo. It isn’t contagious, it isn’t life threating, there is no treatment and it will spread. While the spots are small and easy to hide with clothing and make-up, Sep decides to live it up. She starts dating Joshua and amps up the relationship before everyone discovers she is a monster and she is shunned. Joshua and Jazz Dance Club are her outlets and her body and soul both develop in new ways.
Skin addresses many teen issues such as acceptance, appearance and friendship that are found in young adult novels and spins additional questions about the same topics. Will people around Sep still be willing to interact with her after they see her skin condition? Will her friends stand by her? Is beauty really more than skin deep? Napoli explores Vitiligo and the stigma many suffer, but she takes Sep further than just the disorder. The characters have depth and real life issues that most readers will relate to. I recommend this book to teens and adults whether they usually read YA or realistic fiction as a matter of course.
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