Skinned (Gripping Trilogy Series #1)

( 76 )


Lia Kahn was perfect: rich, beautiful, popular — until the accident that nearly killed her. Now she has been downloaded into a new body that only looks human. Lia will never feel pain again, she will never age, and she can't ever truly die. But she is also rejected by her friends, betrayed by her boyfriend, and alienated from her old life.

Forced to the fringes of society, Lia joins others like her. But they are looked at as freaks. They are hated...and feared. They are ...

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Lia Kahn was perfect: rich, beautiful, popular — until the accident that nearly killed her. Now she has been downloaded into a new body that only looks human. Lia will never feel pain again, she will never age, and she can't ever truly die. But she is also rejected by her friends, betrayed by her boyfriend, and alienated from her old life.

Forced to the fringes of society, Lia joins others like her. But they are looked at as freaks. They are hated...and feared. They are everything but human, and according to most people, this is the ultimate crime — for which they must pay the ultimate price.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A spellbinding story about loss, rebirth, and finding out who we really are inside." — Scott Westerfeld, author of the Uglies series
Children's Literature - Greta Holt
Lia Kahn awakens from an operation following her death. She has died in a car accident, but her powerful father insists that doctors download her brain into an artificial body. Frozen is the first book in the "Cold Awakening" trilogy. Set in a futuristic world, after a great war has destroyed much of the United States, the theme explores freedom of choice, problems of artificial intelligence, and social conscience. Lia has been rich, popular, thoughtless, and bored. Now, she must face a different future, as she discovers that almost no humans, including her family, can adjust to her post surgery body. She becomes involved with other artificial "mechs" and learns more than she wants to about how others—those left in devastated cities—have to live. Her former privileged class is used to an internet existence so powerful that it almost negates real life. Lia is not a sympathetic character, and some readers may feel impatient with her slow, angry journey toward actual humanity, possible only after she loses her real body. The pacing and characterization of the novel can be fitful: high school popularity issues are suddenly interrupted by long, philosophical conversations. Adult language. The title was originally published in 2008 with the title Skinned. Reviewer: Greta Holt
VOYA - Ed Goldberg
In a futuristic society, young terminally ill people can be "downloaded," their brain cut into thin sections and scanned into a computer that is placed in a human-like, mechanical body. Although this new "person" retains complete memories of its former self, in most respects it is quite different, impervious to the human frailties of aging, illness, and bodily functions. When Lia Kahn is fatally burned in an auto accident, her father decides that she should be downloaded. The problem is that no one, including her family and friends, considers her Lia Kahn anymore. Her sister, Zo, steals her boyfriend. Her friends replace Lia with Zo. Students stare at her now that she is no longer cool and comment behind her back, except for Auden, a backward youth who is intrigued by Lia. Quinn, another "skinner," befriends Lia and introduces her to a group of "mech heads" who, unlike Lia, revel in their uniqueness. Lia refuses to admit she is different-until Auden is severely injured trying to "save" Lia from herself. This first book in a planned trilogy deals with the definition of a person. If it walks, talks and looks like one, is it? Wasserman, author of Hacking Harvard (Simon & Schuster, 2007/VOYA February 2008), writes an interesting, fast-paced book, raising many questions that remain unanswered at the end. Her characters are realistic-some likeable, others not. There is little information about the time or place in which the book takes place, which detracts slightly. It might interest fans of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. Reviewer: Ed Goldberg
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
It's about 100 years in the future. The story begins as a once-beautiful teenager lies in a coma after a car accident. Then Lia's body is left behind in a trash morgue, she is given a new, manufactured body, and the contents of her brain are downloaded into this new body. Is this Lia? What is a human? Now she will never die because when her body wears out, the contents of her brain can be downloaded and she can start again. Unfortunately, there was not time to build her a body that looks like her old organic body, so they had to pick an approximate fit. This means that Lia looks in the mirror and sees a stranger, but she still has the thoughts and feelings of her previously all-organic self. This new person doesn't need to eat or sweat or pee. For sleep, she just shuts down, like a computer going into sleep mode. As the story continues, we find out what the ramifications of such technology are. For a start, most humans are still in the mortal, organic, vulnerable state, so they resent "skinners" for many reasons. Lia's never happy sister, always envious, is now even more resentful. Lia's old boyfriend can't handle this at all. So Lia takes up company with others like her, but when they interact with organic humans, only dreadful complications result: mostly emotional ones. This is an intelligent science fiction story for older YAs. It relates to their knowledge of computers and videos and electronic games, to their shopping habits, to their fierce obsessions with physical appearance. Wasserman does a fine job. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

In a high-tech future, Lia Kahn is a rich, glamorous, "it" girl at a prestigious high school. Then a car accident leaves her body mangled beyond repair. Rather than let her die, her parents take advantage of a new procedure that downloads the contents of her brain into a sophisticated mechanical replica of a human body. Lia is now a "mech," known in derogatory slang as a "skinner." She still feels like Lia, but she no longer breathes, eats, sleeps, or ages. She can no longer enjoy the easy high of a b-mod, the ubiquitous mood-altering drug that gets the rest of her friends through lunch, and her boyfriend only touches her when he's drunk. She is kicked off her beloved cross-country team because the coach believes her new body gives her an unfair advantage over her competitors. Religious extremists hold a protest when she returns home from the download operation, holding up signs that say "God made man. Who made YOU?" Lia can only see her new body and new social status as a tragedy. Thoughtful readers, however, will recognize that the true tragedy is her self-imposed isolation, and that the world is much bigger and more brutal than the halls of one wealthy high school. The book is written in snappy, short paragraphs with enough sarcasm, humor, and plot momentum to engage reluctant readers.-Megan Honig, New York Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Beautiful, talented, wealthy and above all headstrong, 17-year-old Lia Kahn knows who she is and what she wants, until she is severely injured in a car accident that destroys her body but spares her mind. Though she's a candidate for a highly controversial procedure, Lia's parents opt to preserve her mental capacity, including her memories and personality, by swapping her destroyed flesh-and-blood body for a machine model, which although it looks human does not breathe, eat or even need to sleep. Set in a well-drawn future world highly reminiscent of M.T. Anderson's Feed (2002), this novel finds Lia reentering her familiar life to learn quickly that as a "mech-head" she's subject to enormous prejudice, from the religious "faithers," her popular friends and even within her own family-which causes her to seek the answers to serious and painful question about her existence. Futuristically blurring the boundaries of life and death, this text intimately tackles tough ethical topics, including faith, identity, suicide and genetic engineering, through blunt dialogue and realistic characters. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416936343
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 9/9/2008
  • Series: Gripping Trilogy Series, #1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 634,353
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Wasserman grew up in suburban Philadelphia. She went to college and majored in the history of science. She also edited children’s books. Robin is the author of the Seven Deadly Sins series, the Chasing Yesterday trilogy and Hacking Harvard. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Read an Excerpt

THE FIRST DAY “As last days go, mine sucked.”

Lia Kahn is dead.

I am Lia Kahn.

Therefore—because this is a logic problem even a dim-witted child could solve—I am dead.

Except here’s the thing: I’m not.

“Don’t panic.”

It was my father’s voice.

It was—and it wasn’t. It sounded wrong. Muffled and tinny, but somehow, at the same time, too clear and too precise.

There was no pain.

But I knew—before I knew anything else—I knew there should have been.

Something pried open my eyes. The world was a kaleidoscope, shapes and colors spinning without pattern, without sense until, without warning, my eyes closed again, and there was nothing. No pain, no sensation, no sense of whether I was lying down or standing up. It wasn’t that I couldn’t move my legs. It wasn’t even that I couldn’t feel my legs. It was that, with my eyes closed, I couldn’t have said whether I had legs or not.

Or arms.

Or anything.

I think, therefore I am, I thought with a wave of giddiness. I would have giggled, but I couldn’t feel my mouth.

I panicked.


There had been a car, I remembered that. And a noise, like a scream but not quite; not animal and not human.

And fire. Something on fire. The smell of something burning. I remembered that.

I didn’t want to remember that.

I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t open my own eyes.

They don’t know I’m awake in here. In my mind I heard the pounding heartbeat that I could no longer feel, felt imaginary lungs constricting in terror, tasted the salt of invisible tears. They can’t.

To my father; to my mother, who I imagined huddled outside the room, crying, unable to come inside; to the doctors, who my father would surely have had shipped in from all over the world; to Zoie, who should have been in the car, who should have been the one—

To all of them I would appear unconscious. Unaware.

I could imagine time slipping by, the doctor’s voice rising over my mother’s sobs. Still no response. Still no movement, no sound, no flicker of her eyes. Still no sign of life.

My eyes were opened again, for longer this time. The colors swam together, resolving into blurry shapes, a world underwater. At the upper fringe of my vision I caught something bulbous and fleshy, fingers prying my lids apart. And hovering over me, a dim, fuzzy figure, speaking with my father’s voice.

“I don’t know if you can hear me yet.” His tone was steady, his words stiff. “But I assure you everything will be all right. Try to be patient.”

My father pulled his hand away from my face, and my eyelids met again, shutting me behind a screen of black. He stayed. I knew, because I could hear his breathing—just not my own.

As last days go, mine sucked.

The last day I would have chosen—the last day I deserved—would have involved more chocolate. Significantly more. Dark. Milk. White. Bittersweet. Olive infused. Caramel filled. Truffle. Ganache. There would have been cheese, too, the soft, runny kind that stinks up a room as it dribbles down your throat. I would have lay in bed all day, eating the food I can no longer eat, listening to the music I no longer care to hear, feeling. The scratchy cotton of the sheets. The pillowcase, at first cool to the touch, warmth slowly blooming against my cheek. Stale air hissing out of the vent, sweeping my bangs across my forehead. And Walker—because if I had known, I would have made him come over, I would have said screw my parents, forget my sister, just be here, with me, today—I would have felt the downy hair on his arms and the scratchy bristles sprouting on his chin, which, despite my instructions, he was still too lazy to shave more than once a week. I would have felt his fingertips on my skin, a ticklish graze so light that, for all that it promised and refused to deliver, it almost hurt. I would have tasted peppermint on his lips and known it meant he’d elected gum over toothpaste that morning. I would have made him dig his stubby nails into my skin, not only because I didn’t want him to let go, but because along with one last real pleasure, I would have wanted one last pain.

This can’t be happening.

Not to me.

I lay there. I tried to be patient, as my father had asked. I waited to wake up.

Yeah, I know: total cliché. This must be a dream. You tell yourself that, and maybe you even pinch yourself, even though you know it’s cheesy, that the mere act proves it’s not a dream. In a dream you never question reality. In a dream people vanish, buildings appear, scenes shift, you fly. You fall. It all makes perfect sense. You only reject weirdness when you’re awake.

So I waited to wake up.

Big shock: I didn’t.

Stage one, denial. Check.

I learned the five stages of grief when my grandfather died. Not that I passed through them. Not that I grieved, not really, not for some guy I’d only met twice, who my father seemed to loathe and my mother, the dead man’s only daughter, claimed to barely remember. She cried anyway, and my father put up with it—for a few days, at least. We all did. He brought her flowers. I didn’t roll my eyes, not even when she knocked over her glass at dinner for the third time in a row, with that same annoying aren’t-I-clumsy giggle. And Zo pumped the network and dug up the five stages of grief.

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

Since I was dead—or worse than dead, buried alive in a body that might as well be a coffin except it denied me the pleasure of suffocation—I figured I should be allowed to grieve.

No, not grieve. That wasn’t the right word.


I hated everyone, everything. The car for crashing. My body for burning, for breaking. Zo for sending me in her place. For living, breathing, partying somewhere beyond the darkness, in a body that worked. I hated Walker for forgetting me, like I knew he would, for the girls he would date and the girls he would screw and the girl he would curl up with in his bed, his arms closing around her, his lips whispering promises about how she was the only one. I hated the doctors who marched in and out, prying my eyes open, blinding me with their pen-size lights, squinting, staring, waiting for some kind of reaction I couldn’t give them, all while I was screaming in my head I’m awake I’m alive Hear me Help me and then the lids would shut me into the black again.

My father stayed by my side, the only one to speak to me, an unending monotonic litany: Be patient, Lia. Try to wake up, Lia. Try to move, Lia. It will be okay, Lia. Work at it, Lia. You’ll be okay. I wanted to believe him, because I had always believed him. I wanted to believe that he would fix this like he’d fixed everything else. I wanted to believe him, but I couldn’t, so I hated him most of all.

Next came bargaining. There was no one to plead with, but I pleaded anyway. First, to wake up—to open my eyes, sit up, swing my legs out of bed, walk away, and forget the whole thing. But that obviously wasn’t happening. So I compromised: Just let me open my eyes, let me be able to speak, let me be able to move and feel. Let this not be permanent. Let me get better.

And then, later, still no change, still no hope: Let me open my eyes. Let me speak. Let me escape.

That was before the pain.

Like the doctors, it didn’t bother to sneak up on me. It exploded, a starburst of light in the black. I lived in the pain. It was my whole being, it was timeless, it was forever—and then it was gone.

That was the beginning.

Intense pleasure, a spreading warmth building to an almost intolerable fire. Biting cold. Searing heat. Misery. A bubbling happiness that wanted only to laugh. Fear—no, terror. Sensations sweeping over me from out of nowhere, disappearing just as fast as they came, with no reason, no pattern, no warning. And—never staying away too long before returning for a visit—the pain.

I never slept. I could feel the time pass, could tell from the things the doctors muttered to one another that days were slipping by, but I never lost consciousness. I lost control when the waves came, I lost reason and lost myself in the bottomless sensations, but I never got swept away, much as I wanted to. And in the moments in between, when the dark waters were still and I was myself again, I went back to bargaining.

Let me sleep.

Let me die.

“I’ll do it—but you owe me,” I had told Zo. Before.

She’d ignored me, twisting her hair into a loose bun and clipping it just above her neck. Her hair was blond, like mine, except mine was shiny and full and bounced around my shoulders when I laughed, and hers was tangled and limp and, no matter what she did, looked like it hadn’t been washed. I always told her she was just as pretty as me, but we both knew the truth.

“Try again. You owe me,” she finally said, pulling on a faded brown sweatshirt that made her look like a potato. I didn’t mention it. Our parents had selected for girls, selected for blond hair and blue eyes, paid the extra credit to ensure decently low body-mass indexes and decently high IQs, but there was no easily screened-out gene for sloth—no amount of cash that would have guaranteed a Zo who didn’t piss all over every genetic advantage she’d received. “Or do you want me to tell Dad where you really were this weekend? I’m sure he’d love to know that when you said ‘cramming for exams’ you really meant ‘cramming your face into Walker’s’—”

“I said I’d do it, Zoie.” She hated the name. I snatched the key card out of her hand. “So, do I get to know where you’ll be while I’m changing diapers and wiping snot on your behalf?”


Neither of us had to work. Given the size of our parents’ credit account, neither of us would ever have to work. Except for the fact that our father was a big believer in productivity.

Arbeit macht frei, he used to tell us when we were kids. It’s German, like my great-great-great-grandparents. Work will set you free.

I was twelve the day I repeated that to one of my teachers. She slapped me. And then she told me where the slogan came from. The Nazis preached it to their prisoners. Right before working them to death.

“Ancient history,” my father said when I gave him the bad news. “Statute of limitations on grudges expires after a hundred years.” He had the teacher fired.

I wasn’t required to get a job because I was an athlete. A winner, my father said every time I brought home another track trophy. A worker. He never came to the meets, but the first-place trophies lined a bookshelf in his office. The second-place ones stayed in my room. Everything else went in the trash.

Zo didn’t play a sport. She didn’t, as far as I could tell, do anything but hang around parking lots with her loser friends and get zoned on dozers, some new kind that puffed out these foul clouds of smoke when you sucked, so you could feel like a retro from the bad old days before the nicotine ban. “Explain to me why it’s cool to look like Grandma,” I asked her once.

“I don’t do things because they’re cool,” Zo snapped back. “That’s you.”

Just for the record, I didn’t do things because they were cool.

Things were cool because I did them.

So every day, I ran ten miles at the track while Zo worked her dad-ordained shift at the day-care center, wiping drippy noses and changing shitty diapers, except on the days she suckered me into doing it for her.

“Fine,” I told Zo. “But I swear to you, this is the last time.”

It was.

The coordinates were already programmed into the car. Our father would check that night to make sure it had gone where it was supposed to, but he’d have no way of knowing which sister had gone along for the ride. TotLand, I keyed in, then flung myself into the backseat. Walker couldn’t wait to be eighteen so he could drive manually, but I didn’t get the point. Better to curl up and let the seat mold itself to my body, listen to a mag, link in with Walker to remind him about that night’s party, cruise the network to make sure none of my friends had stuck up pics of something I shouldn’t have missed (an impossibility since, by general agreement, if I’d missed it, it was worth missing).

But that day I unplugged. No chats, no links, no vids, no music, no nothing. Silence. I closed my eyes.

There was this feeling that I only got when I was running, a couple miles in, after the tidal wave of exhaustion swept past and the world narrowed to the slap of my feet on the pavement and the air whistling through my lungs and the buzzing in my ears—not a feeling, actually, but an absence of feeling, an absence of self. Like I didn’t exist anymore. At least not as Lia Kahn; that I was nothing but a blur of arms and legs, grunts, pounding blood, tearing muscle, wind, all body, no mind. Lying there that day with my eyes closed should have been nothing like that, but somehow it was. Somehow I was: Empty. Free of worry, free of thought. Lost in the black behind my lids.

Like a part of me knew it was going to happen.

Like when everything flipped upside down and the scream of metal on metal exploded the silence and the world churned around me, ground over sky over ground over sky, and then, with a thunderous crack and a crunching of glass and steel, a twisted roof crushing me into a gutted floor, ground, I wasn’t surprised.

I tell people I don’t remember what happened after that. I tell them I hit my head and it all went dark. They believe me. They want to believe me.

They don’t want to hear how I lay trapped, skin gnashed by metal teeth; legs numb, absent, like the universe ended at my waist; arms torn from sockets, twisted, white hot with pain. They don’t want to hear how one eye was blinded behind a film of blood but the other saw clearly: black smoke, a slice of blue through a shattered window, freckled skin spattered with red, the white gleam of bone. An orange flicker.

They don’t want to hear what it felt like when I started to burn.

I wish I could say my life had flashed before my eyes while I was trapped in that bed. It might have made things more interesting. I tried to force it. I thought if I could remember everything that had ever happened to me, moment by moment, then maybe it would be almost like being alive again. I could at least kill some hours, maybe even days, reliving Lia Kahn’s greatest hits. But it was useless. I would start with the earliest moment I could remember—say, screaming at the pinprick pain of my first morning med-check, convinced by toddler rationality that the tiny silver point would suck out all my blood, while my mother smoothed back my hair and begged me to stop crying, promising me a cookie, a lollipop, a puppy, anything to shut me up before my father arrived. I would remember the tears wet on my face, my father’s disgust clear on his—and then I would think about how the daily med-checks and DNA-personalized medicine were supposed to make us all healthy and safe and live nearly forever, and how nearly wasn’t close enough when your car’s nav system crapped out and rammed you into a truck or a tree and flipped you over and chewed you up. I would remember my mother’s hand across my forehead, and wonder why I never heard her voice in my room.

Days passed.

I made lists. People I knew. People I hated. Words starting with the letter Q. I tried to make a list of all the ViMs I’d ever owned, from the pink My First Virtual Machine with its oversize buttons and baby-proofed screen to my current favorite, a neon blue nanoViM that you could adhere to your shirt, your wrist, even, if you felt like flashing vids as you sashayed down the hall, your ass. Not that I’d tried that … more than once. But things got hazy midway through the list—There’d been too many ViMs to remember them all, since if you had enough credit, which I did, you could wire almost anything to function as a virtual computer that would link into the network.

I sang songs to myself. I practiced the lines I’d been forced to memorize for English class, because, according to my clueless teacher, “the theater may be dead, but Shakespeare is immortal.”

“To die,—to sleep;—No more; and by a sleep to say we endThe heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocksThat flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummationDevoutly to be wish’t.”

Whatever that meant. Walker had done a passage from Romeo and Juliet with Bliss Tanzen playing Juliet, and I wondered if Bliss would be the one—or if you counted her D-cups, the three—to replace me.

I listened to the doctors, wishing they would betray some detail of their personal lives or at least say something other than “delta waves down,” “alpha frequency boosted,” “rhythm confirmed as normal variant,” or any of the other phrases that floated back and forth between them. I tried to move my arms and legs; I tried to feel them. I could tell, when they opened my eyes, that I was lying on my back. It meant there must be a bed beneath me, some kind of sheets. So I tried to imagine my fingers resting on scratchy cotton. But the more time passed, the harder it was to even imagine I had fingers. For all I knew, I didn’t.

I stopped trying.

I stopped thinking. I drifted through the days in a gray mist, awake but not awake, unmoving but uncaring.

So when it finally happened, it wasn’t because of me. I wasn’t trying. I didn’t even know what I was doing. It just … happened. Eyes closed, eyes closed, eyes closed—

Eyes open.

There was a shout, maybe a doctor, maybe my father, I couldn’t tell, because I was staring at a gray ceiling, but I’d done it, I’d opened my eyes, somehow, and they stayed open.

Something else moved. An arm.

My arm. And, for a moment, I forgot everything in the pure blast of relief: my arm. Intact. I couldn’t feel it, wasn’t trying to move it, but I saw it. Saw it jerk upward, across my field of vision, then back down to the bed again, hard, with a thump. Then the other arm. Up. Down. Thump. And my legs—They must have been my legs. I couldn’t feel them, couldn’t see them, but I could hear them against the mattress, a drum-beat of thump, thump, thump. My neck arched backward and the ceiling spun away, and I was flying and then a thud, loud, like a body crashing against a floor. Crack, crack, crack as my head slapped the tile, slapped it again, again, all noise and no pain, and then feet pounded toward me and all I wanted was the motionlessness of the dark again, but now I couldn’t close my eyes, and two hands, pudgy and white and uncalloused, grabbed my face and held it still, and then for the first time since I’d woken up, everything stopped.

To sleep: perchance to dream.

© 2008 Robin Wasserman

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Interviews & Essays

A Message from the Author
When I entered the history of science Ph.D. program at UCLA a few years ago, I figured I'd study the history of physics, since that's what I'd been doing as a Harvard undergrad. But in my first semester, my soon-to-be-advisor offered a seminar cryptically titled "Automata," and -- the sci-fi addict in me wondering if we'd just be sitting around reading Asimov and watching Bladerunner -- I signed up. We skipped Asimov in favor of Aristotle and spent more time in Charles Babbage's dystopic past than in Bladerunner's dystopic future, but by the end of the semester, I was hooked.

It turns out that automata (mechanical replicas of life) have been around for more than two thousand years. And despite radically different shapes, purposes, and circumstances, they always end up playing the same fundamental role: mirroring our own humanity. They open up questions of what it means to function like a machine (Are our bodies machines? Are our brains?) and give us a way of defining what we are -- and what we are not.

Eventually, I planned to write a dissertation on the way we define ourselves through -- and against -- machines. I say "planned" to write, because I ended up writing the Seven Deadly Sins series instead. It wasn't quite what my advisor and I had had in mind, so I left UCLA, left Los Angeles, left the history of science, and returned to the east coast with a master's degree that seemed totally irrelevant to my new career.

Now here I am three years later, finally the sci-fi writer I always wanted to be growing up, but it wasn't until I got a few chapters into Skinned that I realized I was asking the exact same questions I'd planned to explore in my dissertation. What's the difference between thought and emotion, and which is unique to humanity? Where does free will exist in a mechanical universe? What makes us individuals? What makes us human?

It's only when I finally figured out what I was doing that the book really came alive for me. This is why it's dedicated to my grad school advisor, who, despite the fact that he's getting a novel rather than a dissertation, is nice enough not to hold a grudge. --Robin Wasserman
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  • Posted November 15, 2008

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    Reviewed by Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen for

    Lia Kahn was perfect. She had a perfect life, perfect friends, and a perfect boyfriend. She was popular and beautiful and everyone wanted to be with her and know her -- until the accident changed everything. <BR/><BR/>When Lia is in a fatal car accident, she finds herself awake in the hospital. She should be dead, but she knows she's alive. She can't feel her body, but she knows it's there. Lia has become the latest patient in the "download process" -- a way to download your memories and brain functions into a computer-based body that is made to look and act human. Lia is angry about the download process. She doesn't want to be a "skinner" -- the awful nickname for download recipients. But she also isn't ready to give up on her life. <BR/><BR/>Being a skinner isn't easy, though. Groups of people have rallied against the download process, calling it unethical and saying the skinners are without a soul. Lia's friends seem to have turned on her and her boyfriend can't stand to be near her anymore. She's Lia, but she's not the same Lia, and she's not sure how to handle her new life. <BR/><BR/>Add in the mysterious group of skinners that Lia encounters, plus humans that would do anything to be part of the download process, and Lia isn't sure anymore what exactly it means to be human. <BR/><BR/>SKINNED presents an interesting look at what really makes us us. Are we human when we have flesh and blood, or is it our memories that make us who we are? Can we ever have the same life again? An interesting and engaging look at medical ethics and humanity, SKINNED is the beginning of a new trilogy.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Good Book

    This book was very good. I started it and finished it in one day. Simalir to the Uglies trilogy (show below). I really enjoyed this book. It kept me reading, turning the pages and I didn't want it to end. I can't wait until the other books come out!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT!!!! Very thought provoking and amazingly written!!!

    This book contradicts every page onto itself, leaving you wondering which side your really on! Which by the way is a GREAT thing! If youve read as many books as me then youll know how excelent of an author Robin Wasserman is!!!!! All these other reviews tell you all about the book so i wont go into details. But this book has great futuristic details, good character forming, interesting concepts, betrayal, adventure, and a million other amazing concepts.
    The Adoration of Jenna Fox
    The Fox Inheritance
    The Uglies Series
    ~Million Reads
    P.s. trying out different names!!!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2008

    OMG! Best book EVER!


    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2008

    Dark, Depressing, Futuristic Sci-fi Book (Reviewed by TheBookworm)

    Skinned by Robin Wasserman*<BR/>Publication Date: September 2008<BR/>Not Rated<BR/><BR/>Skinned was a dark, depressing, futuristic sci-fi book told through a unfortunate anger/sad stricken use-to-be popular ¿dead¿ girl. I got half way through it, but I didn¿t finish it. Life has enough depressing, wearing things, why do I want to read books like that to? <BR/><BR/>This book is set in futuristic times with new, interesting gadgets and was sometimes confusing because of it. For people who wish to read this book you should be aware of unnecessary, inappropriate sexual content included. <BR/><BR/>It was unbelievable how unfair, unjust, and almost horrible Lia¿s predicament was. There was so much betrayal, stereotyping, unjustness, and cruel speculation I couldn¿t even imagine the humiliation, hurt, anger, sadness that weighed Lia¿s heart down. The book is fiction, not even real, but it felt like a cloud was over me while reading it. So strong were the emotions/atmosphere that the person reading it felt the hurtful hailstones of hatred thrown at the main character.<BR/><BR/>This has no literary importance, but I absolutely love the size of the book. It¿s bigger than pocket-sized, but smaller than a normal novel. It¿s stoutness, makes it easy to fit in your hands. Wish all books were this size!<BR/><BR/>Skinned was a depressing, heavy read that I would suggest to sci-fi readers.<BR/><BR/>Date Reviewed: October 29th, 2008

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2008


    this book rocks!! It's so real and at the end it makes you hungry for more!!!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A futuristic day of age with many new ideas... Not bad.

    The book gets many points for originality. How many times have I heard of clothing changing colors, a device playing music according to moods, and acquiring a new, mechanical body? None.

    Lia's dead.. her self-driven car crashed. Her body was beyond repair, so her father requests a procedure be taken so she can live a life, even if it is in a fake skinned mechanical body.

    Lia has trouble adjusting after the procedure.Her life is a mess. Her sister hates her, making her already messy life even more hectic and depressing.

    Only Auden,an outcast that hasn't adapted to the new ways of life, reaches out to her..

    Okay, no more or I'll spoil it. (:

    So, good book in all. Took too long to get going, and even the ending, sad and thrilling as it was, didn't motivate me to read Crashed.
    If you liked Meyer's Host and Westerfield's Uglies series, this a unique futuristic teen book you will surely enjoy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    Okay so i bought this book in spite of The host. I loved that book so i decided to try out another sci-fi... bad idea. not only did i really not like this book, but i couldn't even finish it. i normally read the whole book even if i don't like it just to see if anything interesting happens, but not with Skinned. If you want to read a good book, i don't recomend this book, but thats my opinion.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

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    I was really looking forward to reading this book, but it was a total let down. I was even on a waiting list for a month at my library! I know that it's going to be a trilogy so that's probably why this story never went anywhere.

    It was very difficult to read. Her writing style just didn't appeal to me. It didn't flow. The main character was stuck up and annoying. Her sister is horrible. This book is very depressing. All the girl does is complain the ENTIRE time.

    I highly doubt that I will read the sequels when they come out. This book was just too forgettable. I won't even remember what happened by then. I loOove series. I like full stories, but I think that this will be the first that I refuse to finish.

    The concept for the story was very intriguing. It had a lot of potential, but unfortunatly feel flat. If you like the idea/plot concept behind this story (brain transplants) then I recommend "Airhead" by Meg Cabot. She has the same basic concept but it is much much better!! The sequel to the Meg Cabot book comes out soon. Just something to think about.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2009

    Amazing Book

    I received this book from a free book club and was somewhat fearful as to if I would enjoy it or not because I am not into the sci-phi types of books. However, once I started reading it I could not put it down! I thought it was an amazing book that was extremely well written. It was easy to follow and thrilling, I highly recommend this book to ANYONE!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:


    I read this book and it is not for readers under 13 I think personally. I am under that and that is why I am warning parents. It talks about sex and things like that. Some can handle it but others can't help giggling about it. If you like tragic things with twists and turns at every corner then read this and you will be surprised. I loved it and I can't wait for the next in the series. :)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

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    On a purely coverwhore aspect: I love this cover. It captures th

    On a purely coverwhore aspect: I love this cover. It captures the book really well, not to mention just being pretty itself.

    I enjoyed this book. Overall, it's well written, perfectly described, and oh so quotable. The characters were real people - yes, even the 'skinners'. The thing was...

    It was the reverse Uglies.

    Anybody whose read Scott Westerfeld's Uglies know that those books kick booktastic butt. They're just excellent novels. Lia was everything Tally wasn't - Tally wasn't pretty, but Lia was. Tally wanted to be pretty, Lia wanted her life back. Tally went to live with those who loved nature, Lia went and dealt with the 'skinners'. Tally fell in love with a pretty and a natural - Lia fell in love with a human and had feelings for a 'skinner'.

    So, even though I enjoyed Skinned, the similarities it had to Uglies completely distracted me throughout the whole novel.

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  • Posted April 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    From start to finish, Skinned is an incredible experience. I rea

    From start to finish, Skinned is an incredible experience. I read the whole thing in one sitting and didn&rsquo;t regret one minute of it.

    Robin Wasserman has written a book about an all-too-realistic dystopian future where governments are virtually non-existent, ruled by a president that takes trips to rehab every few weeks. In this sort of world, there are only the very poor (who have nothing) and the very rich (who have everything).

    Lia Kahn, the seventeen-year-old protagonist of the book, is of the latter category. She, along with her moneyed teenager friends spend every waking moment not in school partying and indulging in debauchery. Sex is a casual commodity for these minors. Personally I could have done without all that, but given the deterioration of society it&rsquo;s a logical inevitability.

    Once she&rsquo;s a &ldquo;skinner&rdquo;, her previous life vanishes in the blink of an eye. I found Lia&rsquo;s gradual distancing herself from friends and family heartbreaking; I was gripping the book so tightly from the unfairness of it all, which was basically the entire book. But Lia&rsquo;s transformation doesn&rsquo;t affect just her, and I like how the private battles of her families and friends were explored and have to come to terms with.

    What I found curious is the constant reasonings Lia monologues in her head, trying to convince herself of one idea but&mdash;if you read between the lines&mdash;always knowing she&rsquo;s in the complete opposite. Both sides of the issue is explored and the use of reverse psychology might be seen as contrived but worked effectively here.

    As it happens, Skinned deals with a lot of issues; disability, life, stereotypes, bullying and a host of others. When you&rsquo;re not reading it, you&rsquo;re wondering what you would have done, who would you be, what it would be like if you were in Lia&rsquo;s shoes.

    Overall Skinned is a magnificent book that makes you think for days and maybe weeks afterward. I&rsquo;d recommend this book to anyone who likes YA dystopian.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2012

    good but has issues

    starts slow and the main character is pretty whiny but other than that i enjoyed it. but fix the cover it's skinned not frozen!!!

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Definitely recommended!

    So, when I first saw this book (I don't know when), I thought that it looked kind of creepy and possibly slightly boring. But OMG, when I started reading this, I was instantly hooked. I'm very picky about books, and if I'm not captured from the first page, I don't bother reading them. But the way Robin sets up the story makes you wonder what actually will happen. It's set in the future, how far I'm not sure but, it really makes you think it's not to far from the present day. The plot is excellent and is never boring. The characters are detailed, but they seem to lack a final finesse. Overall, the book is amazing!!!! I definitly recommend this!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2011

    Starts slow, but ends well

    It's kinda hard to understand what's going on in the beginning of this book, and most of the first half is spent on Lia's recovery and thoughts about how much she hates everyone. After you get past that, the book picks up pace. Lia is a little annoying througout the book, but the characters are well developed and the story is very good.

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  • Posted February 22, 2011

    What an interesting read!

    I absolutely devoured this book (and Crashed)! Robin Wasserman knows how to create a truly unique story that keeps you biting your nails, wondering "What will happen to Lia next?" Lia is a very complex character and that's saying a lot these days, considering every teen book has shallow characters. After I finished Skinned and Crashed (I just ordered Wired and can't wait), my mind was whirling with the possibilities that Wasserman brought up in her book. That's another thing that teen books usually lack that Wasserman accomplished: Skinned makes you think. I loved it and hope more people will find the beauty in Wasserman's work. Go mechs!! Boo orgs!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2011


    great book

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  • Posted November 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome dystopian genre addition!

    Where was this series when I was on the bout of Ugly (Scott Westerfeld) madness last year?
    Do you like teens, machines, living forever? Then Robin Wasserman's series has it all for you.
    The thought behind this book is somewhat along the lines of: in the futuristic reality where immortality is a machine away, are you really choosing that future? or is someone doing it for you?
    One day after and accident Lia was mentally transferred to a new body. With it comes a whole host of problems, loss of friends, family, society, and an influx of Lifers- mech hating religious zealots.
    The book moves through loss, denial, anger, revelation, and strengths portraying a youth who lost her choices, was forced into immortality and the life she left that basically does not want her anymore. What will happen? Where will she go? Now what?
    When you are forced to loose everything, what do you have left?

    I loved this book, I cannot wait to pick up the next two books and see what happens.

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  • Posted April 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Didn't finish

    I had picked this book up and thought it sounded good. I was wrong. It is not that great. The characters didn't seem that real and it was written badly not as in grammar mistakes oor anything but it didn't make you feel like you were in the story really. I tried picking it up later but i couldn't finish it again. It was not my type of book. There was no romance no nothing really it was about a girl taling about how her life is so bad ever since an accident. It was really not that interesting to me.

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