Strange things are happening to the teens in small-town Santa Feliz. Without any warning or explanation, some youth are developing the ability to change into wild animals. In today’s age of cell phones and the internet, it doesn’t take long before videos of kids changing catches the attention of the authorities. Even though Josh Saunders has seen the footage of the other kids, he can’t really believe it when it happens to him. In a state of panic, Josh runs from his home and unknowingly encounters Cory, an older Wildling who helps him get his bearings. Afterwards Josh must make many difficult decisions about who to tell and who to trust. When the FBI steps in to try and manage the situation, things get scary for the kids who have become Wildlings. While trying to accept his new life and stay under the radar, Josh meets Elzie and attention is inadvertently focused on him. Now Josh is worried about his safety, and for good reason… men in suits and dark cars seem to be following him. When things come to head, Josh is left in a perilous situation, and his friends are forced to come to his rescue despite the overwhelming odds.
Under My Skin immerses the reader in action and mythology right off the bat, and then continues to build excitement and suspense slowly over the course of the novel. The plot offers some unexpected twists, ensuring that the story is rarely predictable. While introducing us to the Wildlings universe, de Lint skilfully merges fantasy and reality in such a subtle way that the existence of these supernatural beings seems entirely plausible. It’s refreshing to find YA fantasy novel that doesn’t require the reader to suspend their belief of realty in order to accept the fantastical elements of the story. The narration shifts between the main characters’ point of view, which allows readers to get the full story, but giving Josh and Marina unique voices would have made this technique more effective. The characters in Under My Skin are interesting and likeable, although not deeply layered. I enjoyed the fact that Josh was allowed to grow into his new abilities, while slowly accepting the changes and responsibilities that went along with it. Far too often we’re forced to believe a main character as a hero before they’ve really earned the title. The ending of the book does a wonderful job of tying up the current story while setting up an exciting premise for the rest of the series.
I enjoyed the story more and more as it progressed, and the ending definitely made me eager to read the next installment in the series.
*I received this book for review from the Publisher.