SKIN DEEP by E.M. Crane


Age Range: 14 & up
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A thoughtful, lonely girl with a difficult mother and a fear of bullying, Andrea Anderson watches her classmates (a metaphor of stage and audience recurs throughout but doesn’t quite gel) and stagnates. When a teacher commits suicide and Andrea lands a dog-walking job for reclusive, artistic Honora Makepeace, she begins to live more fully. Sadly, in a novel concerned with Andrea’s identity, too much is left unexplained or undeveloped, and she never comes fully to life. Character types—the cheerleader with a soul, the disgruntled working-class single mother, the wealthy artist with a tragic past—sometimes almost transcend their predictability but ultimately lack true depth. Often lovely prose and a touching (if unoriginal) relationship with mentor Honora make it clear why this won the 2006 Delacorte Press Contest for a First Young Adult Novel, but in a field filled with female coming-of-age stories, there is little to set this one apart. Still, fans of Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen will probably enjoy it, and readers can hope that Crane’s next plot lives up to her prose. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: March 11th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-385-73479-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2008