Review: Skinned by Robin Wasserman

Skinned (Cold Awakening, #1)Skinned by Robin Wasserman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

To save her from dying in a horrible accident, Lia’s wealthy parents transplant her brain into a mechanical body. But now people look at her differently. Can her life ever go back to normal?

*** Note: The Skinned Trilogy was re-released with new titles and covers, renamed the Cold Awakening Trilogy. In this case, ‘Skinned’ was republished as ‘Frozen’. ***

TL;DR – This review got a bit lengthier than I intended. Short review: Book is good. Writing is solid. Worth the read. Looking forward to book two.

The writing is done well. As anyone who has read more than a page or two is aware, Lia is a fairly self-centered protagonist. She doesn’t pick up on much to do with the people around her. However, Wasserman manages to write in such a way as to make obvious to the reader what is going on with the people in Lia’s life, while also making it completely clear that Lia remains clueless. This is often done through the way a character says something to Lia or when she makes an off-hand comment about something.

I’ve read novels where the reader needed to know what was really going on while the protagonist remained oblivious, but it’s not often that I see it done so well as in Skinned.

The entire book was pretty allegorical where bigotry was concerned, and I love that. We see the way religion can be used to “excuse” hatred of those who are different, along with strong allusions to racism (some overt, some not). My favorite thing is the dehumanization that goes along with bigotry is made so blatant it’s impossible to miss.

I’d also like to mention: this is a book by a Jewish woman, so if you are one of the people taking the challenge to read books by more diverse authors, you should consider this or her other books.

Lia being so self-absorbed I really wanted to hate her, but the way she is treated makes it hard. Typically, I would write off a self-centered character right away, but watching her be mistreated [start]by literally everyone she ever thought cared about her[end] made me feel for her against my will.

I will say, I felt it took way too long for Lia to take the route we all know she needed to take. [start]That is, she clung to her old life for way longer than I was willing to read about it! I couldn’t believe it was almost the end of the book before she even started considering that she ought to move on with her new life![end] While I was reading, I kept catching myself mentally complaining that she wasn’t hanging out with any Mech-heads!

Fair warning, you won’t see much character growth from Lia in this book, but I’m hoping it will come in the sequel.

I’d also just like to say, as I said before I even knew I’d be writing a review for this book: I hate Jude. I found his personality grating; he seemed like a cocky jerk. I’m fairly certain this was intentional, but it doesn’t stop it being annoying to read his scenes. [start]Who does he think he is? Mech-Jesus?[end]
I have a bad feeling the second book (Crashed/Shattered) is going to include a romance between Jude and Lia and I can already feel the annoyance about it building when I’ve yet to even open the book.

I don’t like Ho Zo one bit, either. The things she does are understandable when you look at it from her perspective [start]she felt guilty because she was supposed to be in the car, but seriously there is no reason to be a bitch all the time[end], but the girl clearly needs better coping mechanisms. Like, take a chill pill. Literally. There’s a b-mod for everything. Use that shit.

Also, and this is completely spoiler-y so don’t read it if you haven’t finished the whole book: [start]Why didn’t Lia at least attempt to get her oh-so-powerful father to make them try the Download on Auden anyway??? Like yes, I understand the requirements, but her dad can do sooo many things and has sooo much sway, and yet she doesn’t even ask him to try and save Auden??? Noooo, she just runs the fuck away! FFS LIA!

To be clear: I’m not bothered that she chose to run away. If I was her I’d have run away pretty much the second I figured out how to run! My problem is that she just ran away without even considering taking a moment to try and help the only friend she had.[end]

View all my ratings and reviews on Goodreads

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