31 Jul 2015

Review: In the Skin of A Monster by Kathryn Barker

In the Skin of A Monster by Kathryn Barker
July 29th, 2015 · Allen & Unwin
Source: Stole from friend
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 304
What if your identical twin sister was a murderer? Does that make you a monster too? A profound, intense, heartbreaking fantasy that tackles issues of fate versus free will, and whether you can ever truly know someone.

Caught in a dreamscape, mistaken for a killer ... will Alice find a way home?

Three years ago, Alice's identical twin sister took a gun to school and killed seven innocent kids; now Alice wears the same face as a monster. She's struggling with her identity, and with life in the small Australian town where everyone was touched by the tragedy. Just as Alice thinks things can't get much worse, she encounters her sister on a deserted highway. But all is not what it seems, and Alice soon discovers that she has stepped into a different reality, a dream world, where she's trapped with the nightmares of everyone in the community. Here Alice is forced to confront the true impact of everything that happened the day her twin sister took a gun to school ... and to reveal her own secret to the boy who hates her most. 
After skimming the blurb and deciding it sounded like the perfect book to help with my slump, I went in expecting a contemporary, and soon discovered it wasn’t one. Nonetheless, it was thrilling and kept me turning the pages. So much so that I binged it in a day and if you have the time, I do think it’s a good way to read it. It's confusing at times and I feel it wouldn’t have flowed as easily had I kept stopping and starting it over the span of a few days. Plus, having been in a book slump of late, sometimes the only way to get through it is to find a good book and read for hours.

I’m not a fan of multiple point of views in a story, but this one worked for me, probably because of the story and how it’s told. Having said that, I never came to care for the characters as much as I would have liked to. Maybe because it was both very character driven and plot driven, where as normally it’s one or the other.

With Jellicoe Road levels of gripping complexity and a twisty, upside-down vibe of Alice in Wonderland, though unlike nothing I’ve ever read before, The Skin of a Monster is a brilliantly woven story. Strangely wonderful and sure to keep you on your toes; recommend.

Is this Oz YA title on your TBR? 
Oh, and while you're here, don't forget to go enter my blogoversary giveaway going on! 


  1. I've seen this one around Twitter and it sounded awesome, even more so after seeing your review. I love contemporaries with a twist of the sinister and mystery, but definitely sounds like one that demands to be read in one sitting to be able to connect more with the characters and storyline. Have just added it to my TBR and will hunt for it next time I'm at the shops. Wonderful review Bec <3 really enjoyed it.

  2. I haven't heard of this one but now that I have, I NEED it! It sounds so good, ohmygosh. So unique and interesting. Must find asap. Thanks for the awesome review, Rebecca!

  3. So glad this managed to get you out of your slump, Becca. I'll have to grab it off you before you give it back to Claire :P I'm really intrigued by the sounds of it and I'm surprised to see you say it isn't a contemporary, which is what I was expecting too xxx

  4. Yay! I'm so glad this got you out of your slump :) To compare it to the complexity of Jellicoe Road combined with Alice in Wonderland has be reallyyyy intrigued and keen to read this! It sounds amazing! xx

  5. I'm so happy you liked this one, Rebecca! I loved it, because it was SO not what I was expecting when I decided to read it. Which actually turned out pretty awesome, because a fantasy story with such a complex and emotional basis is quite rare.

    I couldn't connect to Alice as much as Lux, but by the end, I really felt for the two of them as a couple. I wanted a Happily Ever After (I ALWAYS want a Happily Ever After), but I can understand why that wasn't the case in In the Skin of a Monster.

    Lovely review, dear ^.^