Thursday, March 29, 2018

ARC Review: In Her Skin by Kim Savage

Title: In Her Skin
Author: Kim Savage
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
Publisher: FSG
Pages: 304
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//I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//
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.

It's no secret around my blog that I don't read much contemporary fiction, but thrillers and mysteries are usually the exception. I was so intrigued by the idea of a girl stealing the identity of someone who'd gone missing as a child. What a great premise for a book! So when a copy of In Her Skin showed up on my doorstep, I couldn't wait to read it!

Jo has had a hard life. She leaves the world and people she knows to take on the life of Vivi, a girl who had tragically gone missing many years earlier. Vivi's parents have died, but their close friends, the Lovecrafts, are happy to take Jo in. Despite the warm reception she receives from Mr. and Mrs. Lovecraft, their daughter, Temple, seems less than enthused. Like I said, I love the premise behind this book! While I didn't love Jo, I did think she was a pretty good character. She certainly isn't the con artist the synopsis leads us to believe, however. Jo is really just an opportunistic homeless girl who is desperate for love and family.

The relationships in this book are all incredibly tense and most of them are somewhat uncomfortable in a way that made me feel uneasy while reading, in the best possible way! I thought Temple seemed okay at first, but I was never really sure what her motives were or whether she could be trusted. The same could really be said for everyone in this book, really. I also really enjoyed the peeks into Jo's previous life. While I'm really glad we got all the detail and tension about Jo's life as Vivi, I almost wish there was a tiny bit more backstory.

I absolutely loved the mystery contained within this book! Honestly, there were multiple layers to unravel and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time! From the beginning, it seems like perhaps things with the family are a little less perfect than they seem. On top of that, maybe there's more to Vivi's story than meets the eye. Because of all the mystery, I can't say very much about the story itself, but it's definitely a fantastic mystery with twists that I can truly say I did not see coming.

My only complaint with In Her Skin has already been hinted at - this is really not a book about a con artist. There are mentions of cons in Jo's backstory, but that is not what THIS story is about. This story is about a girl who sees a chance to take a family for herself and jumps at it. I really couldn't fault her for it and I loved the story that followed, but I definitely felt like the synopsis was misleading. Jo isn't out to con anyone out of anything, she just wants a family.

Overall, I really enjoyed In Her Skin! This is my second Kim Savage novel and I can confidently say I loved this one so much better than the first! It wasn't perfect, but it kept me guessing and turning the pages. If you're a YA mystery fan, I really don't think you can go wrong with this one.