In Over Their Heads: Under Their Skin, Book 2

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
In Over Their Heads: Under Their Skin, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Robot thriller wraps up neatly.

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

In Over Their Heads provides opportunities to talk about blended families. It also addresses issues about automation, free will, and genocide.

Positive Messages

Groups with different agendas can find common ground through good communication.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nick and Eryn want to protect the human race, but they don't want to kill any killer robots. They look out for each other and for their parents, step-parents and step-siblings.

Violence & Scariness

In a physical attack at the book's climax, a few characters are injured, though not critically.


"Crap" is as rough as it gets.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that In Over Their Heads, by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Found, Among the Hidden), is the second half of Under Their Skin, a science fiction saga about 12-year-old twins who uncover disturbing secrets about their blended family and fight to save both humans and robots. Peaceful robots are shot in one scene, but generally there's little violence that leads to permanent injury.

User Reviews

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Kid, 9 years old March 17, 2018

Not as good as the first book, but still worth reading

If you like the first book in this series, I think this sequel is something good to read but it’s not as good as the first book.

What's the story?

As IN OVER THEIR HEADS begins, Nick and Eryn are still adjusting to the fact that their parents, step-parents and step-siblings are all robots. They also have to keep the secret that humanity plans to wipe out any and all robots, whatever the cost. Hiding out on a wilderness preserve, the family ponders their options as a blizzard builds and a strange girl with old-fashioned ways offers them shelter. Should they trust her or seek refuge elsewhere?

Is it any good?

This conclusion to the robot saga will engage middle-school sci-fi fans through its humor, sneaky twists, and relatable characters. After the big reveal in the first volume of this sci-fi saga, the action slows down and the confusion ramps up. Author Margaret Peterson Haddix orchestrates a suspenseful climax, but some readers may grow impatient as it takes a long time to get there.

In Over Their Heads continues the tale of kids and robots trying to figure each other out, but the narrative becomes awfully talky. Each chapter shifts the point of view, and sometimes it's difficult to remember who is taking center stage and why. Still, it's a fun ride full of suspense and intrigue.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how In Over Their Heads deals with the topic of blended families. How do the science fictional elements work to address the issue?

  • Do you think robots will ever entirely take the place of humans? What kinds of jobs can be performed better by robots?

  • How is violence used in In Over Their Heads? Is it an effective method of achieving a goal?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

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