Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Review: Under My Skin by James Dawson


Title: Under My Skin
Author: James Dawson
Author Info: Website|Facebook|Twitter
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: 5th March 2015
Rating: 4 stars

Tell Me About It
Meet Molly Sue. Once she's under your skin there's no getting rid of her...

Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally's about as shy and retiring as they come - but all that's about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour - and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she is doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back - hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and popular as she is in her dreams.

But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head - or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue's. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl - in fact, she's mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue... and before long she's going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody 'under your skin'.
My Thoughts
When I first heard about Under My Skin I knew it was a book I had to read. The whole idea of a tattoo being able to manipulate you and talk to you sounded both creepy but cool. Under My Skin is the first book I have actually read (finished) by James Dawson, even though I do have two more on my shelves waiting to be read.

Before I get to the main part of my review I want to point out how much I LOVE the cover. Not only the little tattoo images in the background, but also the big tattoo of Molly Sue, giving us a clear picture of what she looks like. Another nice touch is each chapter has a different tattoo about the chapter number, which I thought was a nice way to keep the theme running through the book itself.

The protagonist Sally is not the most popular person, she has a small group of friends who have a lot in common with her, but she also lacks in self confidence. Living with strict parents doesn't help her come out of her shell at all. She just wants to be visible, and not some invisible person in school. One way her mother has of solving this issues is making Sally audition for the school play, and while she lacks in confidence, her singing voice is spectacular. Wanting to better herself, Sally ends up getting a tattoo, but soon realises that she has literally got more than she bargained for when her tattoo, Molly Sue, talks to her and soon takes over control of her body. When I got to this part it may have freaked me out a bit. I have tattoos myself, but Under My Skin would definitely make me think twice about getting another ;)

Under My Skin was an interesting, occasionally creepy book to read. It deals with a lot of issues, that combined make a great read. We have the insecure protagonist, some bullying, romantic interests, man handling (to put it nicely), and peer pressure. For me Sally was easy to relate to. I see myself in her, I was the awkward, shy person in school that never really mixed with others, or volunteered for anything that made me centre of attention so my heart broke for what she was going through. However the changes that she makes throughout the pages, not matter the means, were good for her. They gave her confidence to be herself, and to really try for the school play.

Now back to Molly Sue. Molly Sue was someone who I both liked and disliked. She does have a hand in Sally's transformation, and although Sally did have most of the items needed, she just needed the little push to get things done. I also do like how Molly Sue stood up for Sally, and for Jennie when they were in situations where they where being treated wrong by a boy. However, I don't like how controlling she became, and what she makes Sally do, and attempts to make her do.

James has done a great job of making Under My Skin both creepy, but also relatable. I have a love/hate relationship with the characters and the final pages had me wondering what was going to happen. I really enjoyed this book.

Final Verdict
Under My Skin was a great read, and has definitely given me the push I needed to pick up the author's books from my shelves and read them.

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