In the Skin of a Monster is a Young Adult novel by Australian author, Kathryn Barker.
The plot described on the back cover is a great idea; a girl living in a country town in Australia, whose identical twin sister took a gun to school three years ago and shoots dead a number of kids. Alice, the surviving twin, is a pariah, shunned by her father, her school mates, and virtually her whole community, who, (understandably), visibly shudder when they see her.
If In the Skin of a Monster had continued in this vein, I probably would have preferred it to the actual story, as horrific as that sounds.
However, the back cover and the actual plot didn’t match at all.
What happens is, Alice goes out walking and somehow changes places with her dead twin, who has been living in a place made up of everybody in town’s actual nightmares.
From here on in, the story got really weird. There are monsters and guns, victims endlessly trying to run away and never waking up, blood and guts and, of all things, an angel. Alice and her little band of companions spend the rest of the book trying to kill the nightmare monsters so the people in her community can sleep peacefully at night.
I felt sorry for Alice, who even in other people’s nightmares is perceived to be a monster, even though she is completely innocent.
The writing was good, I just didn’t like the plot. If I was a fifteen or sixteen year old girl, I may have loved In the Skin of a Monster. However, I’m not. I think I’m too old for books about werewolves and angels and that sort of stuff which is popular with teenagers at the moment. I would be happy for Miss S to read this though, as there was only a hint of romance which (unusually) is age-appropriate, and the heroine is an actual heroine, who stands on her own two feet and does battle, for herself and for other people.
Not for me though.