Monday, March 19, 2012
Review: Under my Skin by Charles de Lint
Publishing Date: March 6th, 2012
Pages: 416 pgs
My Rating: 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads:
For the past six months, something has been happening to young people in Santa Feliz. Week after week, there's news of another teen changing shape, transforming from human to wild animal and back again. The federal government has stepped in, running public service announcements calling for affected youth to turn themselves in for "orientation and training."
Josh Saunders has seen the news reports, but he is still unprepared when it happens to him. One minute he's arguing with his mother's boyfriend and the next, he is looming over the man, blood dripping from his claws—he has transformed into a mountain lion. When he switches back to his human body, he knows his life has changed forever. He has become a Wildling.
Trusting only his best friends Des and Marina with his secret, Josh tries to return to regular living. But an encounter with Elzie, another Wildling, brings him unwanted attention from the authorities. And when an accidental betrayal reveals Josh's secret, his carefully constructed cover is ripped apart, forcing his friends to intervene. They must grudgingly put their trust in others, including other Wildlings—and, most challenging, in each other—if they ever hope to save him.
I first heard of this book because a fellow book blogger mentioned she was going to the release party of this book and asked if I wanted to join her. As there are not many book signings or book related activities in Ottawa I jumped at the chance to go. I promptly went to the store and picked up the book and I have to admit was a bit turned off by the cover of this book. Covers are the first thing that a customer is going to see and while they say "don't judge a book by it's cover", I often do. This is one of those covers that I would quite frankly be embarrassed to show in public and while I was reading the novel, I actually took off the dust jacket.
That being said, despite it's horribly cheesy cover, this book was really, really good. It is a book about Wildlings, which are humans who turn into animals. The book is told in two different perspectives: Josh a young boy who can turn into a wildcat and Marina, Josh's best friend, who is secretly living as a wildling. I love reading books from a male perspective and I don't think there are enough books that do it and I was happy to read Josh's parts of the book.
The book is action-packed and I could not put the book down. I think I read this is one evening and I couldn't help but want more when I was finished. I also like the fact that while this is the first book in a series, it doesn't leave you on a ridiculous cliff-hanger. The book is nicely resolved but it also leaves it open to find out more about the characters and the town that they are from.
I loved the way that de Lint weaves First Nations elements into the story. It really makes you think about getting back to your roots without all the distractions that can be found in society. I have always been interested in these elements and so it was nice to see in his novel. Overall, I quite enjoyed all the aspects of this book including the minor characters. It was beautifully written and thought provoking and I give it 5 out of 5 stars.