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Skinned captures teen angst

Lia Khan lives the perfect life. Rich, popular, athletic and a member of a close-knit family, she held huge power in her social circle. A role model for her friends, Lia leads the most feared and revered clique in the high school.

In her new novel, Skinned, Robin Wassermann explores how a girl goes from beautiful and popular to “freak” status. Wasserman tells how a detested and doubtful girl overcomes her problems and learns to rise above them.

Uglies author Scott Westerfield has said Skinned was ?A spellbinding story about loss, rebirth and finding out who we really are inside,? a statement that captures the whole theme of the novel.

Each page holds suspense, presenting the action of what Lia is compelled to do, but cannot bring herself to, keeping the readers interested. Wasserman?s beautiful writing helps teens see the real power of friendship, as she explores the everyday life of a high schooler. Often portraying the most hurtful moments in a teen girl’s life, Wasserman details all the feelings and actions of the character.

Set in some distant time when technology is more advanced, the perfect life of Lia Khan, 17, is thrown upside-down after a car accident. After sustaining serious injuries, doctors decide to transfer her brain into a new body. Though Lia remembers the painful accident, she knows that she has no power to stop the procedure.

She abhors the thought of becoming one of these “skinners” who are shunned because of their mind transplants. Because Lia had no say in the surgery, she concludes that she has been skinned, and is not a skinner. The skinners often switch bodies to keep themselves younger. Lia acts the same as she always has, but appears as a different person because of her new body.

As she leaves therapy in the hospital, she notices how everyone acts different around her. Believers, or Christians, hold worship days, and often dispute the morals of that time period. They pound at her car pronouncing her existence as a skinner is a huge sin. Kids at school avoid her while her sister Zoey takes over her social life and her parents cry every night over a fake daughter.

Though all her friends desert her, Auden, a kid who is considered a loner, comes to brighten the dim parts of her life. With his kindness and patience, Auden helps guide Lia out of the darkness that grows around her, and she joins a group of skinners. Despite many problems at home, one of the skinners’ leaders ? the young, ambitious and exceedingly handsome Joed ? teaches Lia to feel again.

Illustrating truth in everyday friendships, Lia?s story tells how a lot of teens fall into despair and then find a way back to hope. By losing friendships and gaining new ones, people find ways to overcome their problems.

Skinned is available at Barnes and Noble for $15.99.

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