Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hiding My Heart: A Review of Skin by Donna Jo Napoli

Skin by Donna Jo Napoli

Author Website
Buy on Amazon (Releasing August 6, 2013)
(Goodreads Blurb)
My lips are white. Sixteen-year-old Sep stares into the bathroom mirror. It's not some weird lipstick (she never wears lipstick). 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, Devin, 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 Joshua, 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 is 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.
Thanks to Netgalley and Amazon Children's Publishing for providing and ARC for a fair and honest review.  Quotes are from an uncorrected proof and may not be in the final edit.

"The best thing in my life and the worst thing in my life were happening at the same time."

It's the first day of school.  For most, that day is filled with a little nervous excitement.   For sixteen year old Giuseppina, or Sep, that day is filled with worry.  

Staring into the bathroom mirror, Sep hardly recognizing the reflection looking back at her.  Sep has always had olive-toned skin.  So why, today of all days, are her lips completely white?

After showing her mother and making a appointment with the family doctor, Sep hides her white lips behind lipstick and heads to school.  Although Sep is surrounded by supportive friends, she chooses to keep her secret a while longer.  When her old crush, and popular football player, Joshua Winer begins to seek out Sep's company, she clings even harder to the make-up mask she has begun to wear.

As Sep and Joshua grow closer, the white spots begin to spread around her body.  When they finally get too big to hide, Sep makes a decision that wrecks two hearts, not just one.

Joshua Winer is an excellent book boyfriend.  He is popular but a little dorky.  He likes Sep's direct way of asking what she wants to know.  He even enjoys the oddball way she sometimes answers his own questions.  He is super sweet to her, even after she rips out his heart.

At first, I wasn't sure I was really going to like this story.  Even after I found out which direction it was going.  I couldn't put it down though.  When Sep started making choices that I did not agree with and I felt she was being unfair to those around her, I still couldn't stop reading.  What Sep was facing was scary and no one; not her mother, not her doctor, no one on the internet was able to offer her the help she was looking for.  Sep had to find a way to dig deep inside to find the strength to face her new life.  The road that Sep takes is bumpy and heartbreaking, but I'm very happy with where she ends up.

Not all of the lyrics in this Adele song fit the story, but some of them match so perfectly that I had to use it.
It was in the darkest of my days
When you took my sorrow and you took my pain
And buried them away, you buried them away

More lyrics:
All about Adele:

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