Publisher: Macmillian Children’s Publishing Group, Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux (BYR)
Date of publication: April 17th, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain is about to take on the biggest heist of her life: impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn’t been easy, and Jo is hoping to cash in on a little safety, a little security. She finds her opportunity in the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family with ties to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine.
When Jo takes on Vivi’s identity and stages the girl’s miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her back with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household—and some secrets refuse to stay buried. As hidden crimes come to the surface, and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold onto an illusion of safety or escape the danger around her before it’s too late.
I enjoyed reading In Her Skin. There are very few novels that will keep me guessing about what exactly is going on. This book did. I did have a small issue following the book at first because of how it was written. It is almost entirely in 2nd person. But once I got used to it, it made for a very interesting read.
In Her Skin is set in Boston, MA. It is always interesting to see a city that you grew up near featured in books. I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to be critical. In Her Skin nailed Boston’s Back Bay area on the head. I could find nothing wrong. No inconsistencies, nothing. That made me like the book even more.
The plot of In Her Skin was very interesting but I did find some fault with it. Jo Chastain, a homeless grifter who is sick of living on the streets. She has researched the disappearance of Vivienne Weir. She was going to assume the identity of Vivienne, live with the family who had guardianship over her and live in comfort for the rest of her life. Or so she thought. Almost immediately, she realizes that there is something off about the Lovelaces and their daughter, Temple. She also realizes that the secrets that this family has could kill her.
I had a lot of pity for Jo throughout the story. She wasn’t homeless by choice. After her mother’s pimp (and Jo’s abuser) murders her mother, Jo is forced to run to Boston to escape him. She lived for 2 years in a homeless community. She had been taught, from an early age, how to con people. It was the only thing that she knew how to do and she did it well. Her decision to take on Vivi’s identity was done out of desperation. As was all her actions after she walked into the police station. She didn’t realize how dangerous her situation was until midway through the book.
Temple scared me. Not going to get into that part of the story but I don’t know how Jo could sleep in the same bed as her. Considering that Jo had an off feeling about her. One thing I have learned from reading thrillers…..always trust your feelings about certain characters. Because they will always be right!!
As creepy as this sounds, Jo was sexually attracted to Temple. Even thinking about that gives me the heebie-jeebies. I don’t know if their “relationship” ever went to the next step. The author was very vague about that. She was even more vague about Jo and sex in the book. There was the understanding that Jo and her on/off addict teen prostitute boyfriend, Wolf. Sex didn’t factor into the storyline and you know what, I loved it.
There are triggers that appear in the book. There is child sexual abuse, rape, teen prostitution, and drug use. The author did a great job of introducing each subject in a way that wouldn’t overwhelm the reader. There was a lot left unsaid but enough revealed that you could fill in with your imagination.
The end of the book almost anti-climatic. I didn’t know how I felt about it. I actually almost felt let down with the events leading up to it.
Pros of In Her Skin:
A) Set in Boston
B) Great Suspense
C) Great Main Character
Cons of In Her Skin:
A) written in 2nd person the whole book
C) The end of the book
I would give In Her Skin an Older Teen rating. There is language, mild violence, and vague sexual references/situations. I wouldn’t recommend anyone under the age of 16 to read In Her Skin.
As stated above, there are triggers in this book. They consist of child sexual abuse, rape, teen prostitution, and drug use. The author is never explicit while describing those triggers but a warning is needed.
I would reread In Her Skin. I would recommend it to family and friends with a warning about the triggers.
I would like to thank Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux (BYR), Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review In Her Skin.
All opinions stated in this review of In Her Skin are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**