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Skin Hardcover – April 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141690655X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416906551
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–Donnie, 14, has a dysfunctional family. His parents, completely ineffective, constantly rage at one another. His sister, Karen, 16, is anorexic and storms around screaming profanities and lying. Donnie is simply becoming invisible. The outcast at school, he suffers from ear infections and lays low, watching his sister starve herself. He tells of his infatuation with his sister's best friend and of the humiliation he suffers at school. Readers know from the first page that Donnie finds Karen dead; his recounting of the preceding years is heartbreaking because of his sincere love for the sister who has been his keeper, and because of the anger and betrayal he feels during her physical and emotional descent. Vrettos tends to interject distracting moments of slapstick, and the character development is uneven. The father, in particular, is inexplicably one-dimensional in his failure to communicate with his family other than by manhandling and shouting. The well-meaning mother is simply ineffectual, alternately coddling and lashing out. Their constant arguing becomes background noise that neither moves the plot forward nor illuminates the family's problems. In an ending that feels hopeful yet too expected and tidy, Donnie finds some actual friends and resolves to leave his family's problems behind as he pursues his own life. The insight into the protagonist as the invisible one in a highly dysfunctional family makes Skin worth considering for large collections.–Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-11. Like Sonya Sones' Stop Pretending (1999), this devastating novel plumbs the anguish of a teen facing a sibling's illness. First-time novelist Vrettos' gloves-off approach is apparent from the opening page, in which 14-year-old Donnie fruitlessly gives CPR to his elder sister, who has starved herself to death. The first-person narrative then recounts the year leading to the tragedy, hinting at how parental strife may have triggered or magnified Karen's anorexia and dissecting how Donnie's emotional withdrawal parallels his sister's wasting. Memorable language ("My sister looks like she could fold inside a paper cup") sharply etches the particulars of Donnie's experience, though at times Vrettos' allusive writing style clouds the significance of certain plot elements, such as Donnie's chronic ear infections and his bond with a rebellious cousin. But the overwhelming alienation Donnie endures will speak to many teens, while his honest perspective will be welcomed by boys--so often the terrified bystanders in anorexia battles--as an alternative to the girl-focused, patient-centered titles typical of fiction about eating disorders. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
70%
4 star
22%
3 star
9%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 23 customer reviews
A great read for early teens.
R. Clawson
Be thankful for what you have and what wonderful things have happened to you.
Rebecca M. Oterosandoval
It is one of the better books that I have read to date.
Timothy Kendall

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Adrianne Vrettos newest and first novel, Skin, is based on a boy's perspective in his life. The main character, fourteen year-old Donnie, tells us his experiences in life and what are the causes and effects of them. As he struggles to save his sister, sixteen year-old Karen, from dying of a serious case of anorexia, he is becoming more isolated from the world. He is so isolated that he has no friends whatsoever. With Donnie's parents arguing, his sister dying, and him becoming more isolated, what can get any worse?

Despite the fact that this is Ms. Vrettos' first novel, her writing is very fluent. Her writing grabs you, not only as a reader, but also because she puts you in the book as a character. It's as if you're in the book and you don't want to get out until it ends. In my opinion, this she has a great writing style. This is the type of book that I would rate 5 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ZeeSays on October 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Donnie feels himself disappearing as his sister starves herself to death. Donnie and big sister, Karen, are both sick, literally, of their parents fighting. We find out mid-way through the book that Donnie is on some kind of medication, and Karen doesn't like to eat . . . ever. But this books is not really about anorexia. It's part of the story, but there is not the usual focus that an anorexia book would have with lots of details about how a person with an eating disorder would think, act, and feel, like there is in say The Best Little Girl in the World by Levenkron.

Instead, this is told through Donnie's eyes, and we see snippets of Donnie's life. The story is not told in a continuous way. There are often large gaps between chapters. This allows the reader to get a wide lens view of what happens to this family. This story is really about a little boy with no one that sees him. His parents fight with each other and pick on Karen about her eating. Donnie gets a scrap of attention when he is running a fever. But most of the time, he feels invisible. He turns it into a game where he tries to make sure no one speaks to him at school. Everyone complies, except for a new set of twins from his school who insist on saying hi to him at least once a day.

As Karen's body disappears and becomes just skin, Donnie feels himself disappearing into her disease.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca M. Oterosandoval on May 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
SKIN

Skin is a dark story about a fourteen year old boy named Donnie. Donnie's life is falling apart. His parents fight everyday, the girl he likes hates him, he doesn't have any friends, and his sister won't eat. All Donnie wants to do, is to be noticed, he wants his parents to pay attention to him for once, instead of his anorexic sister Karen. Karen always has the spotlight because, she has no fears whatsoever. Karen isn't afraid of cussing in front of her parents or at her parents, or running away or getting in trouble. Donnie wants to help his sister eat. He sneaks protein powder into her water when she's not looking. Karen still doesn't get any healthier or wider. Donnie is now the outcast at school. He goes through classes and the hallways, like an invisible man. Donnie doesn't notice anybody, and nobody notices him. Donnie just wants a good life. He wants his parents to stay together, and he wants Amanda to be his girlfriend, he wants friends that won't ditch him in the cafeteria. He wants his sister to be healthy. Amanda doesn't like Donnie, because he started a nasty rumor about her and himself. It made Amanda so embarrassed that she never wanted to talk to Donnie again. Even though she did talk to him soon enough. In the end, Karen isn't what you would exactly call healthy. But, Donnie did make new friends. He forgot all about his family issues and focused on what really mattered. His future. "Skin," can actually teach you a lesson on life. Be thankful for what you have and what wonderful things have happened to you. Don't think about the negative. Donnie thought about the negative, and every time, he felt worse and worse. Donnie's life was a mess. But once he started thinking of the positive, he could think clearly and fix his problems.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Julissa Ann Umhaefer

May 15, 2006

Skin, Adrienne Maria Vrettos

ISBN 978-1-4169-0655-1

Lost in the world of pain, only to find the result is due to family problems? When the only thing you can control is what you east and don't eat. Would you go to the extent of developing an eating disorder, eventually resulting to death, just to get the feeling of control? Would seeing the skin on your bones shrink to the point that you can be folded into a paper cup stop you from neglecting your body from food?

This is the case of Karen, a young teenager who faces the difficulties common to many teenagers. Going through the struggles along with her younger brother, the narrator of this novel, and her dysfunctional parents, Karen finds that the only way out is to develop an eating disorder. Karen goes on with life with the two people that understand her. The two people are her younger brother, Donnie, and best friend, Amanda. Having these two people understand seems like it would be enough, but for Karen its not.

As she grows weaker and her skin lies on her bones, she continues to rebel against the ones that love her most. Her brother, Donnie, has a hard time handling all that is happening and we are taken on a journey of his thoughts. We are able to experience this horrid situation through the eyes of her younger brother and are able to see how hard it is to see the one you love most starve to death.

Adrienne Vrettos has a unique writing style that draws the reader in. She creates a place that makes the reader hungry to continue to read her novel. Sharing laughs, tears, and heartache with the characters feel all that they do. As she goes on throughout the story she gives you the opportunity to create a bond with the characters, almost making you feel as though you are part of the story and are going through the experiences along with Karen, Donnie, and Amanda.
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More About the Author

I'm Adrienne Maria Vrettos, author of Burnout, The Exile of Gigi Lane, Sight, and Skin. I live in Brooklyn with my family.





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