Monday, September 28, 2009

Book Reviews: Skinned and Crashed by Robin Wasserman (spoiler-free)

Lia is pretty, rich, and popular. Then her body dies, and her brain is downloaded into a new body. She’s still pretty, still rich – just not popular anymore. Her friends ditch her, her family feels uncomfortable around her, and the only ones who talk to her are other “skinners” and a nerd from her school named Auden.

And that pretty much sums up the whole novel – a potentially interesting premise that doesn’t really go anywhere. I think it’s probably because Lia is the least interesting part of the book – just another snobby girl robbed of her reason to be snobby who then has to find a way to deal with her new life as a social outcast/curiosity.

There is so much though bubbling under the surface of this future world where nuclear war has made most of the earth uninhabitable. The majority have-nots do without so that the minority can live on like nothing happened, still eating their free-range beef and chocolate while the less fortunate live on soy burgers in privacy-free corp towns and the even less fortunate forage for anything edible in the crumbling cities.

I wanted to see more of this world and how people were affected by it and less of Lia’s constant existential blather. Just read Decartes already – I think, therefore I am.

And then book 2, CRASHED, came along and gave me just that. We get to go to a corp town, to a city, and to see how the majority lives. Lia grows a bit more of a social conscience, and there is more action, less sitting around feeling sorry for herself. We learn more about the not-so great histories of Lia’s skinner buddies, and we finally get a feel for the direction the series might be taking, as more pieces of the puzzle become clear, lines are drawn, and sides are chosen.

Although this is not the most exciting dystopia series I’ve read, CRASHED gives me hope that the third book in the series will rock and be the big payoff for the set-up of the first two books.

SKINNED is now available in paperback and CRASHED in hardcover. Find out more about the series at the author’s website.

20 comments:

Carla said...

It does seem to be from other reviews of Skinned, that others feel the same way; that skinned could have been a more stronger thought provoking novel.

I am really pleased that the antee has been upped for the sequel Crashed, and hope to see further improvements in the third novel.

Once again, a great review. I love that you don't award them stars etc, neither do I to be honest

Falling Off The Shelf said...

Great review. These weren't on my must-have list..but they do sound interesting. I'll most likely give them a shot in the future.

brizmus said...

Why are the titles of Robin Wasserman's books always only one word? I'm glad to hear the sequel is better than Skinned. Guess I'll have to read it now.

Nicole said...

I really did like /Skinned/ - though Lea could get annoying at points, and the whole idea was almost an inverted /Uglies/, I loved the world. And now I really do need to go get Crashed. :)

Kailana said...

Oh, I didn't know the sequel was out! I read Skinned last month. I will have to see if the library will buy it!

celi.a said...

I'm on a dystopia kick, and I've read differing opinions about this series...hearing that it gets better (in the second book) definitely gives me hope. Thanks for the review!

Insert Book Title said...

Skinned does not look like it's for me, but great review!

bermudaonion said...

I wonder if Carl would like this - he loved the Uglies series.

Khy said...

I STILL haven't read Crashed because I am lame, but I really liked Skinned. Glad Crashed is good too! =D

Priya said...

It seems like a cross between Airhead and the Uglies series... would you recommend reading them?

Rhiannon Hart said...

I rather liked Skinned, and when I finished it felt like there was still a lot to explore in Crashed, which I'm looking forward to. I really enjoyed the relationship she had with her sister, and how she felt now versus how she felt as a human. That sequence when she freezes up at school was just so harrowing--it had date-rape vibes written all over it: if you can't remember it, did it really happen? I think the tone was too dead-pan and melodramatic, but overall I liked it and will read Crashed.

Zibilee said...

I am not sure these books would be for me, but the premise does sound interesting. I think I will wait until I hear how the third one goes before I decide if I will read them or not. Very insightful and honest review.

Staci said...

I really liked Skinned for the most part but I haven't read the Uglies series which is what a lot of people have compared it too. I'm glad that Crashed was much better so I will certainly read that one!!

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Joanne said...

Glad to hear that the series gets better in the second installment.

Lenore said...

Kathy - Skinned has a more "teen" feel to it then Uglies. Priya's close when she says it's a mix between Airhead and Uglies. There's not a lot of action and there is a lot of needing to be popular, fixation with clothes and trends, etc.

Priya - As a fan of dystopian fiction, I am glad I read them. The series isn't one of those really bleak future worlds (like THE ROAD) so it could serve as a good "gateway" series for those wanting to try out dystopias. Though I'd read Uglies first of course.

Debbie's World of Books said...

I thought Skinned was just ok so I debated about picking up the sequel. I may check it out at some point. I am a big fan of dystopian books.

Ladytink_534 said...

Does sound interesting, sorry it didn't live up to it though. Glad the second one pulls through!

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Great review! It sounds good. I have Skinned on my TBR pile and I've been wanting to read it for a little while!

Jeanne said...

My teenaged daughter and I felt much the same way you did about Skinned. Maybe I'll wait for the third one to come out.