Under Their Skin, Book 1
By Michael Berry,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Thought-provoking sci-fi saga has riveting twists.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Under Their Skin offers an opportunity to talk about the challenges facing blended families.
Siblings can work together to solve problems that affect each other. Curiosity about the world is a beneficial character trait. There's something unique about being a human being.
Positive Role Models
Nick and Eryn are smart, inquisitive, and resourceful 12-year-olds. They occasionally break their parents' rules, but they usually feel bad about doing so.
Violence & Scariness
A death threat is part of the plot, but no actual violence occurs.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Eryn and Nick are embarrassed they were conceived as frozen embryos.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Under Their Skin, Book 1 is the first of a two-part science-fiction saga about a pair of 12-year-old twins who uncover disturbing secrets about their blended family. Written by Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of Found and Among the Hidden, the novel has no objectionable language, sexual content, or overt violence.
Where to Read
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
Fraternal 12-year-old twins Nick and Eryn have come to expect some emotional bumps in their lives since their parents divorced, but they are not prepared for the big changes that come when their mother remarries. Not only do they have to move to a new house, but they'll have to get used to having a new stepbrother and stepsister. The strangest part of the arrangement, however, is that Eryn and Nick are not ever supposed to meet their stepsiblings. When they begin a quest to find out why these kids are being hidden from them, they're told that to continue the investigation would put the entire family in danger. Eventually, Nick and Eryn learn secrets that could jeopardize not only their own lives but also the fate of humanity.
Is It Any Good?
It takes a while for the plot of this sci-fi novel to ramp up, but once it does, the narrative surprises come thick and fast. UNDER THEIR SKIN starts out in familiar territory, with a set of twins trying to maneuver through their mother's remarriage. Readers who can push past the talky opening chapters will be rewarded.
A note of oddness grows in complexity as Eryn and Nick pursue their investigation of their family's secrets, until author Margaret Peterson Haddix unveils a stunning revelation at the novel's midpoint. After that, further reversals will keep readers on their toes and wanting more.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the challenges of living together as stepchildren. What kinds of compromises have to be made in building a blended family?
Have you read other books by Margaret Peterson Haddix? How does Under Their Skin compare?
Does your family have any rules that at first felt strange or arbitrary but later made sense because your perspective about them changed?
- Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Robots
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: January 5, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: November 30, 2020
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Read
Our Editors Recommend
Science Fiction Books
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate