Book Review – Skin


Title: Skin

Author: Donna Jo Napoli

Genre: Young Adult

Source:  Net Galley

Goodreads Rating: 3.25

My Rating: 3 stars

Worth it to stick with it.

Worth it to stick with it.

Summary (from Goodreads):

My lips are white. Sixteen-year-old Sep stares into the bathroom mirror on the first day of school. It’s not some weird lipstick (she never wears lipstick), she didn’t bump her lips or chew on ice. Her lips are just ? white. In a panic, she digs up an old lipstick and smears it on her colorless lips. But soon, more and more white spots begin to bloom, spreading their chalky tendrils across her olive brown skin. Does she have a disease? Is she turning into some kind of freak? Sep is usually the one who knows all the answers. With a quicksilver mind and a supple body, she’s happiest when she’s delving into the mysteries of animal biology or giving herself over to sweet, hot moves in Jazz Dance Club. Unlike her best friend, Devon, she’s never been in a rush to get a boyfriend. But as the white blotches spread, her dating days ? like the endangered species she studies ? seem numbered. So when Josh, a boy she’s always liked, makes a flirty advance, she wonders: why not grab pleasure while she can? Frank, funny, and full of passion, this compelling novel tells the empowering story of a strong, gifted teen who, as her life spins out of control, desperately tries to prove to the world ? and herself ? that she is deeper than skin.


When it started off, the voice of Sep came off as really young. She’s meant to be a junior in high school and it was very odd to me that the author made the students think wearing lipstick was such a major thing. Teens wear make-up. I don’t think people really would have noticed or cared that Sep was suddenly wearing lipstick.

I also found it odd the author made such a big deal about the color of her skin, calling herself not white. I suppose she had to do it so when the disease kicked in, the reader would know that the spots really showed up, but I think it could have been handled better.

As the story continued, I came to like Sep more and thought the actions and emotions of a teen finding out she has a disease that everyone will see, was realistic. It did get a bit graphic in parts, which I don’t mind but seemed a bit surprising when it started out so tame. The speech her boyfriend gives at the end of the story was especially powerful.

All in all, an emotional and realistic read.


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