STARRED REVIEW
January 05, 2016

New siblings’ hidden secrets

By Margaret Peterson Haddix

Life has always been routine for 12-year-old twins Eryn and Nick. They reside in a quiet suburban town and take turns living with their psychologist mother and goofy but good-natured father, who have been amicably divorced since the twins were little. They’ve embraced this arrangement until their mother reveals she’s getting remarried to a professor at a local college. The family is going to move into a new home in the same town, and the twins will get two new stepsiblings, Ava and Jackson. Although Nick easily accepts their mother’s news, Eryn is ruffled by the changes, especially when their mother informs the twins that they will never meet their new siblings.

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Life has always been routine for 12-year-old twins Eryn and Nick. They reside in a quiet suburban town and take turns living with their psychologist mother and goofy but good-natured father, who have been amicably divorced since the twins were little. They’ve embraced this arrangement until their mother reveals she’s getting remarried to a professor at a local college. The family is going to move into a new home in the same town, and the twins will get two new stepsiblings, Ava and Jackson. Although Nick easily accepts their mother’s news, Eryn is ruffled by the changes, especially when their mother informs the twins that they will never meet their new siblings. Astute and inquisitive Eryn can’t understand how her logical mother would agree to keep the kids apart. Moved by curiosity, the twins defy their parents and seek out the enigmatic Ava and Jackson. Their discovery shatters everything they’ve understood about themselves, their parents and the world in which they live.

Without spoiling too much, Under Their Skin, like Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children series, poses moral questions about the sanctity of life and what makes something human. Although this is a science-fiction story, the novel is set in a familiar 21st century, making each revelation that much more surprising for readers. The first in a duology, Under Their Skin is a page-turner and would make for an excellent addition to a middle-school book club discussion.

 

Kimberly Giarratano is the author of Grunge Gods and Graveyards, a young adult paranormal mystery.

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Under Their Skin

Under Their Skin

By Margaret Peterson Haddix
Simon & Schuster
ISBN 9781481417587

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