Monday, June 30, 2008
The Secret Under My Skin by Janet McNaughton
I recommend this book for: grade 7 and up
In a future where the planet has been ravaged by pollution and extreme weather and the people fear technology, a girl who can't even remember her name gets the chance for a new life. Blay grew up on the streets, under the care of an older girl and master thief, protected by one of the tribes of homeless children who roam the city. She now lives in a work camp, picking through a dump for anything useful, and reading poetry in her spare time. It is the reading that gives her a new chance - the opportunity to help Marella pass the tests to become a bio-indicator (someone who is sensitive to the pollution in the environment and helps to protect the people). But there's more here than a tutoring assignment - there's a whole revolution, and everything Blay has learned about the past (of the nation, and her own personal history) is called into question.
This complex setting is actually explained much better than this in the book. Blay is an interesting character, and although the environmental message can be somewhat preachy, the story was still compelling enough to keep me reading. Not a favorite, but not bad, either.
They liked it!