Skinned by Robin Wasserman
Published by Simon Pulse on September 9th 2008
Series: Cold Awakening #1
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 368 pages Source: Amazon
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The Download was supposed to change the world. It was supposed to mean the end of aging, the end of death, the birth of a new humanity. But it wasn't supposed to happen to someone like Lia Kahn.
And it wasn't supposed to ruin her life.
Lia knows she should be grateful she didn't die in the accident. The Download saved her--but it also changed her, forever. She can deal with being a freak. She can deal with the fear in her parents' eyes and the way her boyfriend flinches at her touch. But she can't deal with what she knows, deep down, every time she forces herself to look in the mirror: She's not the same person she used to be.
Maybe she's not even a person at all.
This book has just enough dystopia in it to get me excited. Lia Kahn is not a likable protagonist. She is that stereotypical popular bitch that is too pretty, too rich, too perfect. Until she got into a life-changing car accident that killed her body and her memories have been downloaded into an android – her parents’ last futile hope of saving their daughter. The idea is brilliance. I even relatively enjoyed the writing style.
What I didn’t enjoy was the preachiness. All dystopia books have a level of preachiness; it comes with the territory. There are, however, different ways to execute it. Wasserman chooses to execute her “lesson learned” through Lia’s conversations with Auden, a generally nice guy who protects Lia when nobody else will. These conversations seem to encompass the entirety of Lia and Auden’s relationship for the first half of the book, then his character appears to complete change after a couple of events that have led him to despise everything that Lia is. Although ultimately at the end, Lia discovers the truth in Wasserman’s message, she also has to be told it several times y several people in what feels like otherwise useless ways.
I think this is a shame because Wasserman has a brilliant idea here, and she opens an excellent discussion about what makes humans truly alive. I am hoping that Crashed and Wired deliver a little more in the way of an interesting plotline and less shoving-a-message-down-the-reader’s-throat. Despite my gripes, though, these thoughts came after I finished the book – while I was reading it, I enjoyed it immensely.