Under My Skin: 60% Awesome, 40% What the Heckles Happened!?

Penguin2.3

Under My Skin

Goodreads Rating: 4.08 Stars
232 Pages
Swoon Romance Publishing
Published: April 12th, 2016
Get a copy here!

Bookish Brit Adam Gibson is one wonky heartbeat away from a fatal arrhythmia. But staying alive requires Adam to become keenly focused on both his pulse and the many different daily medications he must take in exactly the right dosages. Adam’s torn between wanting to live and knowing that someone else must die in order for him to do so. He needs a new heart.

The pressure is getting to him. Adam stops talking to his friends back home, refuses to meet kids at his new school, and shuts his parents out entirely. His days are spent wondering if can cope with having a dead man’s heart beating inside his chest, or if he should surrender to the thoughts of suicide swirling around in his head.

And then a donor is found…

Outspoken artist Darby Fox rarely lets anything stand in her way of achieving her goals . Whether it’s painting, ignoring her homework (dyslexia makes a mess out of words anyway), kissing a hot boy she doesn’t even know, or taking the head cheerleader down a peg , no one has ever accused Darby of being a shy. She also happens to be the twin sister to a perfect brother with good looks, good grades, manners, and the approval of their parents – something Darby has never had.

Darby’s always had bad timing . She picks the worst time to argue with her brother Daniel. In a car with bald tires, on an icy road in the freezing cold, the unthinkable happens. In a split-second, everything changes forever.

3Penguins
Quick Reasons: I had some issues with the story, the characters, and the plot; the focus on mental illness (depression, psychosis) was well-written and sensitively handled; the first and second halves of this read like two different books; some of the character interactions/reactions came off as weird or contrived to me

Huge thanks to Laura Diamond, Swoon Romance, and YA Bound Book Tours for sending me a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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When I first stumbled across this book, I got REALLY excited about it. The blurb sounded just exactly like the type of thought-provoking, challenging read I’ve been so into recently. The cover also helped to sway me toward this book—it’s absolutely gorgeous, and I fell in love with it immediately. So when I found out the author was seeking more reviewers, I jumped on board enthusiastically.

 

And the first half of this book? Absolutely awesome. I really enjoyed the different struggles and obstacles our main duo, Darby and Adam, face. Between the both of them, I think they could light the world on fire using only the snark that falls out of their mouths. Their reactions and interactions, particularly to each other, were endearing, adorable, and tugged me along like a freight train. I loved them both instantly, and even more when they finally met. Perhaps it has a bit to do with the “opposites attract” thing, but I feel it’s more to do with the sass they threw about like so much pillow fluff.

But then things shifted, and I’m not sure how I feel about the shift now, having finished the read. I’m not sure when the change occurred, exactly. The duo were discharged from the hospital at roughly the 60% mark, and from there…things got a bit weird for me. For one, while I know NOW that the book was written by a psychiatrist, I felt like certain things said or done by Doctor Shaw in this read were a bit… over the line? Nonsensical. And the reasons for it are explained, at the end, but reading through it at the time, I was both confused and thoroughly pissed off.

 

Mostly, though, I felt as if any connection I had to the characters—Darby and Adam both—flew out the window once they were discharged. They both immediately became, like…totally different characters. The spark I’d seen in each of them, the will to be strong and to fight, seemed to seep out of them. Somehow, I went from totally adoring them to being almost annoyed (or, in Adam’s case, exceptionally confused) within about ten pages. I couldn’t, and still don’t know that I can, understand what shifted so drastically. It’s almost like the second half of this read was written at an entirely different point in the author’s life. They just don’t quite match up for me as a whole, I suppose, and that was disappointing.

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Overall, this was a cute read. The focus on mental illness after trauma was well-written and sensitively handled, if perhaps a bit jumpy in some instances. While I understand what Laura Diamond was trying to do with Doctor Shaw— “this is why doctors shouldn’t get personally invested in their patients’ outside of their field” springs to mind –I’m not sure it was done as effectively or smoothly as it could have been. I do recommend this to those who like diverse reads, thought-provoking and challenging subjects, and contemporary “opposites attract” romances. This was cute, but I had some issues with the execution in the end. Oh well—on to the next one!

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6 thoughts on “Under My Skin: 60% Awesome, 40% What the Heckles Happened!?

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