Book Review: Skin Deep

Jenna is fourteen and desperate to keep up with her best friend’s rapidly maturing habits. And then one night they get in a car with a drunk driver, and Lindz is killed, while Jenna is left permanently scarred. 

Before the accident, Jenna had assumed ugly people didn’t have feelings. She learns the hard way that they do. 

For the first eight months after the accident, Jenna wishes she had met the same fate as Lindz. She is too frightened to leave the house except when absolutely necessary, and avoids talking to her former friends at school. 

But then Ryan bursts into her life, and Jenna learns there is more to her new life than what she sees in the mirror. 


Skin deep is an addictive YA novel that reminds us all that true beauty comes from the inside. Through dealing with mental illness, drugs and alcohol, family, violence, and general themes of growing up, author Laura Jarratt leaves us with an inspiring message. 

It reminds me of “Before I Fall”, except that Jenna is more caring and understanding than Samantha. The overall message of lessons about humanity coming out of tragedy is the same, however. Both protagonists are permanently changed by their respective car crashes, but where the books differ is that Jenna gets the chance to keep living her life with her new understanding. The tagline of “ugly people don’t have feelings” represents the powerful underlying lesson that the novel aims to teach its readers. 

I found Skin Deep to be an extremely easy read, and despite being 376 pages long, I found myself at the end way too quickly. If you’re looking for a great contemporary YA book to read, I definitely recommend giving Skin Deep a try. 


I borrowed Skin Deep from our local library, but I can only assume it’s available at all good bookstores and online. 
Published in Australia: 2012 by Hardie Grant Egmont

frangipani princess xoxo

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