Review Blog

May 22 2017

Summer skin by Kirsty Eagar

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781925266924
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Mature content. While this is not normally a book I would pick up and read, I was intrigued by the review on the cover, promising it to be the feminist love story all girls have been waiting for. This isn't wrong. Summer Skin dismisses the old damsel-in-distress and hero archetypes and instead replaces them with two very stubborn individuals who loath and love each other. It is a blunt and intelligent take on a love story, the kind of thing many teenage girls might want to look to when compared to other popular YA romances.
The story follows Jess in her third year of university in Queensland. Part of Unity college, she is out for revenge against the abhorrent Knights for the previous year's sweep (a challenge to be the first to bed a Unity girl). While Farren wants no further conflict between the colleges, Jess goes behind her back to initiate a Unity Sweep where the girl who brings the most humiliation to a Knight becomes named The Knight Rider. After a public announcement citing that any girl who sleeps with a Knight is a traitor to Unity, Jess soon finds herself questioning her own loyalty with the appearance of Blondie (Mitch Crawford). Mitch doesn't seem to know what he wants, other than to touch Jess. He refuses to kiss or sleep with her. It seems they each have a lot to learn about themselves and each other. Beginning with how to trust.
While this book has a strong physical focus, I would recommend for girls sixteen and up. It deals with issues surrounding consensual sex, making it an important discussion for teenagers who don't or won't listen.
Kayla Gaskell, (University student)

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