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Skin Paperback – October 23, 2007
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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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
The author wants to get the message across that no family is perfect. She does a good job delivering that because his family seems like the average family, but even they have their problems too. The book is good if you want a quick and easy read. The vocabulary isn't very challenging at any points, but it still gives a lot of detail. The book reminds me of other stories, movies and books that are out there
and has a bit of a cliche meaning to it, but it has a good message it's portraying and is an interesting read. I think it gets quite graphic at some parts and it goes into excessive detail that you can feel everything he is describing. I feel like this is a good book to write a review for because it might be more appealing to a certain crowd, and not others. I think this book is geared more towards female teens because they can relate to it more then anyone. Also, for any teenage girl out there, it is really easy to become self-consious about your body and now is the time we are most concerned about our image. Over all, I would recommend this book, especially for anyone that may know someone who is going through this situation. You may be able to help.
Most recent customer reviews
second of all it is extremely realistic
and thirdly i cried at the end
this is like an amazing...Read more
Skin is a dark story about a fourteen year old boy named Donnie. Donnie's life is falling apart.Read more