Book Review: Summer Skin
By: Kirsty Eagar
Published By: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: January 27th 2016
Page Count: 352
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: New Adult Romance
Jess is in her second year at university and is a resident at Unity College. The year before her best friend, Farren, was targeted by a group of Knights College boys and Jess is out for revenge. At the annual toga party, any Knights boy is fair game, and the aim is the biggest humiliation possible
This is where she finds Mitch. He seems a typical, arrogant, rugby playing Knights boy, the perfect victim for her prank, but she keeps catching glimpses of something more, and despite herself, she's intrigued. Things don't go smoothly, these two run hot and cold more than the College showers. The hot is very hot, and the cold is heart breaking.
Summer Skin takes some common NA tropes and goes so much deeper with them. This is a real exploration of modern feminism, masculinity, sexuality, personal identity in the selfie age and so much more. Jess is a great and likeable character because she makes mistakes. There are times when she's horrible to Mitch, and horrible to herself. She is one of the most realistic protagonists I've come across in NA fiction. She and her friends go to building sites and catcall the builders. She is a whiz at economics, but a mess in other areas of her life. Mitch is tortured and self-loathing at times, and infuriatingly smug at others. These are complex characters who can be hard to like at times, but are easy to love.
There are some steamy scenes but there is nothing gratuitous about them. They act to further the plot and the character development and we see growth in both characters through their intimacy.
Summer Skin made me at once glad I never stayed in a residential college and simultaneously disappointed that I didn't. I loved the university setting and the very Australian feel the book had. If you want to know what it's like to be a young adult living in Australia today, then this will go a long way to showing you. Kirsty Eagar paints a vivid picture of modern university life and the pressures facing young people. This is a feminist, sex-positive story that will appeal to readers of NA fiction who are looking for a twist on the standard story lines.
*Be aware that this book contains significant sexual content and strong language and as such is suitable for older teen readers upwards.*
Jess Gordon is out for revenge. Last year the jocks from Knights College tried to shame her best friend. This year she and a hand-picked college girl gang are going to get even.
The lesson: don't mess with Unity girls.
The target: Blondie, a typical Knights stud, arrogant, cold . . . and smart enough to keep up with Jess.
A neo-riot grrl with a penchant for fanning the flames meets a rugby-playing sexist pig - sworn enemies or two people who happen to find each other when they're at their most vulnerable?
It's all Girl meets Boy, Girl steals from Boy, seduces Boy, ties Boy to a chair and burns Boy's stuff. Just your typical love story.
A searingly honest and achingly funny story about love and sex amid the hotbed of university colleges by the award-winning author of Raw Blue.