My lips are white.
Sixteen-year-old Sep stares into the bathroom mirror. It's not some weird lipstick (she never wears lipstick). Her lips are just white. In a panic, she digs up an old lipstick and smears it on her colorless lips. But soon, more and more white spots begin to bloom, spreading their chalky tendrils across her olive brown skin. Does she have a disease? Is she turning into some kind of freak? Sep is usually the one who knows all the answers. With a quicksilver mind and a supple body, she's happiest when she's delving into the mysteries of animal biology or giving herself over to sweet, hot moves in Jazz Dance Club. Unlike her best friend, Devin, she's never been in a rush to get a boyfriend. But as the white blotches spread, her dating days, like the endangered species she studies, seem numbered. So when Joshua, a boy she's always liked, makes a flirty advance, she wonders: why not grab pleasure while she can.
Frank, funny, and full of passion, this is the empowering story of a strong gifted teen who, as her life spins out of control, desperately tries to prove to the world and herself that she is deeper than skin.
My lips are white.
SKIN introduces us to sixteen-year-old Sep who wakes up one morning to white lips. She's horrified. Her mother let's her borrow some candy pink lipstick to cover it up till she can see her doctor. Then her former fifth grade best friend Joshua, who's the captain of the football team, seems interested in her...again. Sep at first isn't sure to trust him or anyone especially when more white patches appear on her body. Her doctor tells her it's vitiligo-a skin condition that isn't contagious but has no cure. Sep struggles with this diagnosis and fears she'll be looked at as a freak. Along the way she makes some choices about who to confide in while experiencing the usual High School scene.
Let's just say this book was intriguing enough for me to read in one afternoon. It's nothing like Napoli's other stories.
What worked for me had to be what I felt was a realistic at times reaction to receiving not great news from a doctor. In this case it's vitiligo, a skin condition. Rock legend Michael Jackson suffered from this disease too. I could see why Sep would be hung up in her appearance. It reminded me of my own terrible acne when I was 14 years old and how the kids called me 'pizza face' and worse. I swear for that whole year I avoided mirrors. So I felt for Sep.
I also liked her best friend Devin, who was supportive at times. There's some great scenes with Devin and Sep, that show their friendship. I just wished we'd seen more of these scenes.
What I did have a hard time with was the dialogue that rambled on and on. At times I would skim over it as I felt it would go off on a tangent. I'm not sure if the author wanted that to be a quirk of Sep. All I know is it was jarring at times and took me out of the story. Also Sep came off as not very likeable and very moody. I know that it's normal for anyone to want to lash out once they hear not great news. But I felt she didn't give Joshua or others the benefit of the doubt and at least let them know what was going on.
And I admit it. I liked Joshua, who had a sweet appeal going for him. I didn't get a sense of Owen, only that he seemed to talk way over Sep's head.
Overall though this is an interesting take on a teen dealing with vitiligo along with other things that happen in high school like boyfriends, friendships, family dynamics, and the very real fear of being ostracized.
2. At times protagonist's emotional reaction to having vitiligo is very realistic
3. I thought Joshua had a sweet appeal
4. Some great interactions with friends
Secret For A Song by S. K. Falls (Munchhausen Syndrome)
Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult (Osteogenesis Imperfecta)
Skin by Donna Jo Napoli (Vitiligo)
Skin is about a sixteen year old who wakes up one day to find her lips gone completely white. Whoever says that appearances don’t matter, clearly doesn’t know much about high school. Sep, (real name: Guiseppina) has gotten a skin disorder named vitiligo that has white spots appearing all over body.
I enjoyed this book because of two reasons. It was believable. Any young girl in such a situation would be angry and try to come up with as many solutions to her problems as she can. Sep is like any other teenager, overwhelmed by events, always unsure. Kudos to Napoli for pulling such a voice off! Secondly, the picture of the high school and friendships and relationships was so accurate. Sep could have been a girl from my school and would have gone through exactly the same things.
I do think the book dragged on at some times. I was hoping for a fast pace, more things happening sooner than they did in the book.
Overall, I think this book would be great for anyone who has ever had any trouble because of being different and worrying about being ostracized because of that difference.