Lia Kahn was perfect: rich, beautiful, popular - until the accident that nearly killed her. Now she has been downloaded into a new body that only looks human. Lia will never feel pain again, she will never age, and she can't ever truly die. But she is also rejected by her friends, betrayed by her boyfriend, and alienated by her old life.
Forced to the fringes of society, Lia join others like her. But they are looked at as freaks. They are hated...and feared. They are everything but human, and according to most people, this is the ultimate crime - for which they must pay the ultimate price.
(Summary from jacket flap)
Um. Okay. This book was good. I kept reading, the plot moved, the characters were fine. But there was a problem.
Futuristic fiction is one of my favorite genres. I love reading about what authors think or dream the future's going to be like. I've read the Uglies series and I Was A Teenage Popsicle which both fit solidly into that classification. Reading Skinned, I felt like it was just a copy of both of those books together.
In IWATP, the girl if frozen because she's sick and there's no cure. She's given new life through a cure twenty or so years into the future and is thrown into society. Everyone thinks she's a freak and she has to find new friends and reinvent her life.
In the Uglies, everyone's beautiful, there's an outcast society for all the people who don't want to be like everyone else, there's denied love, etc.
In Skinned, the girl dies, is given a new body, and is even more beautiful and perfect than everybody else. She is rejected by her friends and by society. She has a guy fall in love with her whose feelings she doesn't return, she goes and joins an outcast society. Sound familiar? Exactly. ALL of the little story elements in Skinned could be connected back to those two books I read. I was looking for something new and original and unique. A new perspective on the future world. It's sort of different from IWATP and Uglies but not by much. There just wasn't anything too special about this book. I felt like I was just rereading.
But I guess I can't say that all of that ruined the book for me. Being an avid fan of futuristic fiction, I couldn't denounce Skinned just because of it's unoriginality. And there were a few bright points for me. Lia's character was pretty good. She had really relatable thoughts and struggles and worries, so as she grew and found out more about herself and her new life, I felt more connected and drawn to her.
The part about her new body and her adjustment to that was really well described and cool. If people ever learn to transfer brains to new synthetic bodies in the real future, I think I'd be a little in awe but also terrified. The whole idea of not being in my own body and not having the sensations I have now is a weird thought.
The best part of the book for me was Auden's little betrayal/brain fart at the end of the book made for a great cliff hanger so I'm holding out hope that the next book in this planned treasury will surpass Skinned on the originality scale but hopefully not copy "The Smoke" from the Uglies what with all of the outcast society stuff that Lia's now a part of.
So I did enjoy it. Relatively. I'm a sucker for the future.
I'd recommend Skinned in hopes that Crashed will be better. And also because I think Lia's pretty sweet. Just be warned that if you've read Uglies or IWATP you'll find a ton of stuff similar and unoriginal.
Read my Bits 'n Pieces interview with Robin Wasserman here.