Friday, March 23, 2018

ARC #Review - In Her Skin by Kim Savage #YALit #Thrillers

Series: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult / Thrillers & Suspense

Sixteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain is about to take on the biggest heist of her life: impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn’t been easy, and Jo is hoping to cash in on a little safety, a little security. She finds her opportunity in the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family with ties to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine. 

When Jo takes on Vivi's identity and stages the girl’s miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her back with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household—and some secrets refuse to stay buried. As hidden crimes come to the surface, and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold onto an illusion of safety, or escape the danger around her before it’s too late.

Kim Savage's In Her Skin follows in the footsteps of After the Woods and Beautiful Broken Girls. Protagonist Jolene Chastain is about to take on the biggest con job of her life. Jo learned everything she knows about being a con from her own mother. But, after her mother was murdered by the Last One, as she calls him, she high tails it out of Florida and lands in Boston. Homeless, living on the streets with her prostitute boyfriend Wolf, Jo decides to take on the identity of a girl named Vivienne Weir who disappeared when she was 9 years old. 

Everyone is a mark in Jo's world. From the Police Social Worker, to the Boston Detective who was part of the original investigation into Vivienne's disappearance, to Henry and Clarissa Lovecraft who are given custody to the girl who now calls herself Vivienne. But, there is one person the con may not work on. That person is 16-year old Temple Lovecraft who knew Vivienne when they were children and may know what really happened to Vivi. Jo attempts to live by several important rules. "Stay in character, even when no one is looking & never forget what you claim."

But, given the opportunity to finally have a family, a home of her own, and perhaps a future that doesn't lead to her dying at an early age on the streets, Jo plays the part of Vivienne as though she was born to it. The problem is that the Lovecraft's, especially Temple, are way more than they put forward to the public. Temple has a very dark side that I won't spoil. But, needless to say, you must pay attention to the nuisances and hints that the author leaves behind for you, the reader. 

As a reader, you start to ask important questions: What really happened to Vivienne Weir while her parents were next door? Does the Lovecraft family have anything to do with her disappearance? Did Jo walk into a situation that will end up getting her disappeared? Or, will Temple discover the truth behind Jo and turn the con upside down?This is also an odd way to tell the story. It appears as though Jo is telling the story to Temple, and not the actual reader. Bizarre and twisted I have to admit. This is a story that is a bit on the unsettling side, with enough foreshadowing to keep you reading until the twisted ending that still has me muttering to myself.   

"A Death blow is a Life blow to Some
Who till they died, did not alive become
Who had they lived, had died but when
They died, Vitality begun." Emily Dickinson

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