Under Their Skin, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Under Their Skin, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Thought-provoking sci-fi saga has riveting twists.

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Under Their Skin offers an opportunity to talk about the challenges facing blended families.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.

Language

What 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.

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Kid, 9 years old March 17, 2018

Fast-paced, page-turner of a sci-fi novel has unexpected twists

Under Their Skin is a story about two twins, one boy and one girl, who discover disturbing secrets about their family members. I picked up this book at my schoo... Continue reading

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?

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