Under My Skin is releasing on Tuesday, December 9. It is up against several good books releasing that day, so it might not be on your radar yet, but it should be. I know that the dystopian bubble is bursting right now, but Under My Skin reads as more science fiction than teen dystopian romance. No one has to get married or knocked up — this one goes in a different direction, with much more horrifying results. Big Brother hasn’t got anything on these people when it comes to invading personal privacy! The cover screams The Selection, but don’t be fooled — Tate is a character much more likely to study The Art of War than an Emily Post book on manners.
Under My Skin by Shawntelle Madison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Tate has plans for her future. When she unexpectedly passes the mandatory test to be apprenticed to the Water Bearers, everything changes. She never wanted the pampered life promised to a Water Bearer. She never asked to be swept into the privileged life of the ruling class. She never could have anticipated the true horrors that come with passing that simple little test. I was quite surprised by the direction this book went. This was a new twist on dystopia that I have not seen before. Engaging and mysterious, suspenseful and tense, this book kept me guessing all the way to the end. The writing stumbled a little bit in the scenes following the test — I found myself overwhelmed with character names and unclear pronouns for a few pages, but it quickly righted itself and was consistently strong through the rest of the novel. I also felt like the light romance was a misstep. It was a very minor subplot, but when it did crop up, it felt like it came out of nowhere and was based on nothing. Please alert the media that every ya book doesn’t have to have romance, especially one that has such an interesting major conflict. I am adding this to my high school classroom library wish list. I think many of my students will be drawn to the cover and the premise. Language and light romance make this appropriate for all ages.