Title – In the Skin of a Monster
Author – Kathryn Barker
Publication Date – August 2015 by Allen & Unwin
ISBN – 9781760111717
RRP – $19.99
My Rating – ★★★/5
It’s been three years since Alice’s twin sister decided to take a gun to school and killed seven innocent kids before she turned the gun on herself.
Alice lives in a small town and no one can stand to look at her because she has the face of a monster. When Alice finds her sister on a deserted highway ‘bad’ doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Now, Alice is trapped in another world, a dangerous world that’s full of the nightmares from people in the town.
It’s in this other world that Alice finally sees the true impact of what her sister did that day at school and the reason behind the “punishment walks.”
I received a copy of In the Skin of a Monster from Allen and Unwin New Zealand to review. When I read the synopsis of this it seemed like a really interesting topic to write about. What would happen if your identical twin committed a horrible crime and everyone looked at you like you were the monster because you looked like them?
When I started this book I wasn’t sure what to expect. It said on the back that Alice was caught in a dreamscape and I guess that’s where she went but I thought she would be stuck in her own dream not somewhere people’s nightmares can come to life.
This other world has been torn apart by the town’s nightmares after the school shooting. When Alice finds herself stuck there she’s mistaken for another “schoolgirl monster” by a boy who hates her just as much as the people in her hometown seem to.
Throughout the book you learn more about the events leading up to the day Alice’s sister took the gun to school as she talks to her, or writes to her sister, when you’re reading in her point of view. The more time Alice spends in this other world, the more she realises that she’ll probably never know why her sister decided to do what she did.
Since that horrible day Alice has been wondering if she’s a monster like her sister, capable of doing horrible things too. On her journey to get home, Alice discovers that everyone has a light and dark side but it’s the decisions you make that shape the person you are. Not who you look like, or who you’re related to, but what you do.
I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t expecting there to be a deeper meaning to it than just the story of a girl stuck in another world trying to get back to her own.
Have you read this book? Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of it.