BOOK REVIEW: Summer Skin
by Kirsty Eagar
Publication date: 27 January 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Goodreads: 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.
THIS BOOK IS A WORK OF ART, I NEED IT INJECTED INTO MY BLOODSTREAM, I NEVER WANT IT TO END.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let me just say (if you couldn’t tell) I love, love, LOVED Summer Skin. This is going to be such a hard review to write, I was blown away by the book. I’m going to try to keep this review as short as I can because I don’t have a single bad thing to say about Summer Skin, it gets all the ticks from me. I could go on about it forever.
The writing is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Sure, it follows the general ‘girl meets boys’ trope where girl and boy hate each other, girl and boy become friends, girl and boy fall in love, but it was the way Eagar wrote it that makes it a real stand out. It was smart, honest and filled with such interesting characters. It’s a truly empowering novel for all women.
Eagar covers topics so important in today’s society—gender equality, slut shaming, rape culture, the validation young women seek (often through social media) and most importantly, feminism. Summer Skin is the book that every young woman needs in her life. I’d even say that it’s the book that every young adult needs to read at least once. I say ‘at least once’ because I guarantee that you’ll want to read it again and again.
The development of the characters and their relationships was well written. The females offer no apologies. Jess and her friends are smart mouthed, funny and take no shit. Mitch is basically a sexist pig. Who loves a sexist male character? This girl right here apparently. Sure on the surface he comes across as just another sexist jock but he’s much more than that. He respects Jess’s boundaries and as you go through the story you’ll see his growth and change.
Speaking of well written, let me bring your attention to sex. I know that for some people, sex is the deal breaker for a book, but it was so well handled in Summer Skin and was in no way the focal point of the story. It was mature, realistic and sex positive—the characters, especially the girls, were able to talk about sex without fear of judgement.