Skin Deep, By Lois Ruby. New York: Scholastic Inc, 1994. 280 pages.

Young Adult Literature

November 2, 2003

This book is a perfect example of the saying " don\'t judge a book by its\' cover." When I first received this book and looked at it, it totally didn\'t appeal to me whatsoever. First the title wasn\'t at all creative, and I didn\'t really like the outline of the story on the back of the book. But as I began to read it and get into the story, the plot seemed interesting and the atmosphere made a great facade. As I read on, I figured out how much the characters were developing.

The relationship between the two main characters, Laurel Grady, and Dan Penner, were the most interesting part of the book, because Laurel was the protagonist and Dan the antagonist. Ruby uses the two to narrate the story, using a parallel first‑person point of view. The vocabulary describing the hatred "socioeconomic violent counterculture gang menace,"feel towards Jews, Blacks, and Asians. Hatred towards the rest of the society really got me immersed in the book. I think the two most important components in this novel were character developement and atmosphere.

Character development, because as you read on you learn the attributes of each individual character and their role in the book. For example, Laurel was portrayed as protecting herself as well as those around her who deserve her love more than Dan, because Laurel’ s current boyfriend Dan destroys their relationship when he becomes a neo‑Nazi skinhead.

Atmosphere changes in various scenes, the author gave a creepy, eerie feeling by applying the senses; sight, sound and touch.When reading these chapters, you get a sense of insecureness and yet also eagerness to know what happens next. This book has everything in it that would make it a good book to me. It\'s readability is excellent and it contains suspense.

Although there is a conclusion to this book, it isn\'t exactly the conclusion I expected the novel to use and that\'s what I think is great. This book has taught me that conflict offers no easy answers, some readers may draw a conclusion that racism is just a one sided act in which whites are against blacks which Ruby leaves out this important issue. Because there were so many stories within this story the main focus is on First Amendment rights within the school setting and the guilt Dan feel in his conscience of why his Father left his family.

This novel would be very useful in discussing Affirmative action and First Amendments rights, because discrimination and the American court system has a true color barrier.