Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt is a very enthralling teenage romance novel. However the novel also deals with the incredible difficulties faced by teenagers when they have problems at home or suffer a lack of confidence over their appearance (as all teenage girls do). Jenna was in a car crash in the summer and her best friend was killed. She suffered some terrible burns and is left with terrible scars. Jenna withdraws into herself and refuses to go out with any of her old friends; leaving the house only when her family begs her to. Ryan, a traveller, has a mum who suffers from bipolar disorder. When his mum is on her lows she becomes hateful and Ryan is forced to cope with her accusations.
When Ryan moves to Jenna’s village the two meet only for Jenna to flee sobbing as Ryan noticed her scars. Jenna’s insecurity confuses Ryan who sees past her physical appearance and doesn’t judge her for it. Ryan later sees Jenna again and apologises, mentioning her scars which both appalls and fascinates Jenna who is used to her kindly neighbours avoiding mentioning them.
The book swaps narration between the two characters and Jarratt develops the two personalities vividly - they both have their flaws and you can relate to them as authentic teenagers.
The only problem I had with the book was the fact Jenna was only 14 (Ryan was 16). I just found it hard to relate to such a young character as at her age I was not as interested in boys as she is!! However once you accept she is extremely lucky to have bagged such a catch (Ryan is completely drool worthy!)…… she is a likeable friendly character.
Jarratt manages to catch the characters emotions very well - it does not feel like a 40 year old writing.
I think the most striking part of the book is the fact the main heroine is (physical attributes) not perfect. So many YA novels have girls with perfect hair and great clothes etc.
“Ugly people don’t have feelings. They’re not like everyone else. They don’t notice if you stare at them in the street and then turn your face 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. When I was younger. Before I learned.”
Skin Deep is an extremely good novel with a heart warming romance and meaningful points (one is that people should not be judged by their appearance) and is really worth a read!!
I would give it 3 stars out of 5. It can be bought from Amazon.co.uk for £5.24, and is really worth it!