Beauty and power in SKIN, a YA novel by Donna Jo Napoli

Sskinkin (Skyscape) by Donna Jo Napoli $17.99

Her lips turned white seemingly overnight and now sixteen-year-old Sep must survive the first day of school wearing old pink lipstick smeared on her colorless lips. Each day more white spots spread their chalky tendrils across her olive brown skin and she learns she has a condition called vitiligo. The condition coincides with sudden interest from a popular football player named Josh who was once a childhood friend. Sep chooses to hide her condition with makeup and painted tattoos, and convinces friends she’s only making a fashion statement. But as her relationship with Josh and her skin condition heat up, Sep tries to grab pleasure while she can. In this frank, funny, and passion narrative, unfolds to show the empowering story of a strong, gifted teen whose life is spinning out of control while she deftly “tries to prove to the world–and herself–that she is deeper than skin.”

Readers will find this novel compelling in the ways it traces Sep’s anxiety about being discovered as she recognizes through the positive reactions of friends, family and the boy who loves her, that there is power in loving and being loved and in believing in yourself. This novel could easily lead to discussions of individual fears, differences and the difficulty of limiting our perceptions of physical beauty.

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