Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt

Book Description via Goodreads:

Paperback, 377 pages
March 5, 2012, Electric Monkey

Ugly people don't have feelings. They're not like everyone else. They don't notice if you stare at them and turn away. And if they did notice, it wouldn't hurt them. They're not like real people. Or that's what I used to think. Before I learned...

After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna is permanently scarred. She struggles to rebuild her life, but every stare in the street, every time she looks in the mirror, makes her want to retreat further from the world. Until she meets Ryan. Ryan's a traveller. When he and his mother moor their narrow boat on the outskirts of a village, she tells him this time it will be different. He doesn't believe her; he can't imagine why this place shouldn't be as unwelcoming as the rest. Until he meets Jenna. But as Jenna and Ryan grow closer, repercussions from the crash continue to reverberate through the community. And then a body is found...

Source: Jenn & Egmont UK (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

I was caught off guard by this stunning and brilliant debut! I didn’t expect that I would love it this much. It’s hard to really find the right words for this review – I don’t think there will ever be a set of worthy words for the awesomeness that was Skin Deep.

Jenna wasn’t the same after the accident. Aside from the trauma, the grief and melancholy of losing her best friend, Lindz, she was permanently scarred with a horrible third degree burn on the right side of her face. The pain, the embarrassment, the loss and the damage that Jenna endured was too much. To make things worse, Steven Carlisle, the person who caused this mess was roaming free on the streets of Jenna’s village. She couldn’t face the world anymore, not when people were looking at her with disgust, pity or even revulsion on their faces. She couldn’t even face the mirror anymore. But after everything she has been through, I could say that Jenna was a strong girl. She braved each morning, pushed herself out of bed and went out of her room. But beyond the confines of the house, she shrank back, afraid of the watching eyes.

Ryan was the new boy. He was good-looking, confident, charming and comfortable with himself. However, being a traveler or a gyppo had a bad stigma that was plastered on him like a sticker. When people find out that he’s a traveler, they instantly think of him as a bad person. They had reason to. He had a habit of ‘hanging out with girls’ and getting what he wanted from them. When he’s down, he would drink. He’d been in a lot of fights in the past – both the winning and the losing side but lately, it’s the former. But deep down, Ryan was a good guy. He was polite and careful. He took care of his mum and defended and stood up for Jenna. He understood her in a way that other people couldn’t. He could see past the scar, right through her soul. He was a balance of good and bad but I don’t think that the bad side of him overweighed the good side.

Jenna and Ryan’s lives collided, tangled and entwined forever in Skin Deep. Two imperfect, scarred – physically or emotionally – characters who both had their own problems met in a quiet village. What will happen? In the beginning, it was very awkward. Ryan had a hard time reading and understanding Jenna. He saw the scar on her face but he didn’t know the whole story behind it. He didn’t know her. But after a few more dog-related incidents including blood and dirt, the two became friends. I liked how the two of them hesitated, found comfort in one another, laughed and spent time together. Seeing the story from Jenna and Ryan’s perspective was just perfect. I could really see how their feelings changed, sometimes fluctuated, and burned inside them.

I loved how the author showed how their relationship developed. From being awkward strangers they became somewhat comfortable friends. Jenna found a listener and advisor in Ryan. Ryan found a girl worth protecting and taking care of in Jenna. He strived to make her smile and to make her laugh with his random statements and jokes. He didn’t look at her the same way he looked at other girls. He was very careful with Jenna’s feelings. I really liked that about him. I enjoyed seeing the tension and attraction build up between them. It’s a pulsing energy that sizzled in the air – unavoidable and undeniable. The romance was slowly developed through jokes, conversations, tears, revelations and secrets. Jenna and Ryan’s relationship was the cute, sweet kind. But it had a strong, intense side, too that pulled them in. The couple went through trials, from small ones like meeting Jenna’s parents to big ones like finding out Ryan’s mum was ill and Ryan getting involved in fights that turned most of the boy population of the village against him.

Skin Deep is a touching, undeniably gorgeous contemporary that will snatch your heart in a blink of an eye. It bleeds sadness, hopelessness, pain and loss but it also bleeds hope, joy and love out of the pages. Every page is a beautiful snapshot of life, realistic and imperfect. Skin Deep is a sweeping love story and a chilling mystery. I highly recommend this to YA contemporary readers, romance readers and people looking for a realistic read!



  1. I've seen this book around on the net but I wasn't sure what to think of it. But I might need to check it out soon. Sounds great! Great review!

  2. ooh this book sounds really great! There's all these edgy contemporary books being released this year, it's amazing! Thanks for the great review.

  3. Oh this definitely sounds touching. I like the sound of novel that takes the time to develop the relationship.

  4. I haven't heard of this book before, but it sounds like a wonderful read. I will have to get myself a copy. Thanks for the awesome review!

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