What if your identical twin sister was a murderer? Does that make you a monster too? A profound, intense, heartbreaking fantasy that tackles issues of fate versus free will, and whether you can ever truly know someone.
Caught in a dreamscape, mistaken for a killer … will Alice find a way home?
Three years ago, Alice’s identical twin sister took a gun to school and killed seven innocent kids; now Alice wears the same face as a monster. She’s struggling with her identity, and with life in the small Australian town where everyone was touched by the tragedy. Just as Alice thinks things can’t get much worse, she encounters her sister on a deserted highway. But all is not what it seems, and Alice soon discovers that she has stepped into a different reality, a dream world, where she’s trapped with the nightmares of everyone in the community. Here Alice is forced to confront the true impact of everything that happened the day her twin sister took a gun to school … and to reveal her own secret to the boy who hates her most.
I bought this book because of the cover first, blurb second. The cover is inviting, intriguing, interesting, and really stands out in a bookstore. Not only does this book appeal to a young adult and adult audience, but the cover also looks like the cover of a horror novel. The book gives you that dreaded uneasy feeling like when you’re watching a horror movie and you don’t know which characters are going to live and which ones are going to meet an awful end.
The premise of this story is fantastic. Three years earlier, Alice’s twin sister murdered seven children at their school. Even after you’ve completed In the Skin of a Monster, you never really understand why she did it. You never really understand her character, but that’s because this isn’t her story. This novel is not about Alice’s sister. This novel is about Alice, and her perception of her sister and her memory of her sister.
Alice is accustomed to abuse from people in their town. She lives in a small town with a low population, and everybody blames her for the massacre that her sister caused. Mostly because she looks exactly like the murderer, but also because they need someone to blame, and that’s Alice. And then Alice is walking along the highway and she sees her sister’s ghost. She leans forward and touches her, and they switch. Alice is thrust into an alternate dimension where she’s faced with the nightmares of every single person in their town, and Alice’s twin sister (well, an alternate version of her) is now in the real world, where she murdered seven innocent people.
I got quite confused when reading this novel. The alternate dimensions weren’t what I was expecting. After reading the blurb, I thought this book would be about Alice trying to live her life after her sister murders seven children and then kills herself. But it wasn’t. And then when Alice switched with her sister, I thought this novel might be about her sister living in Alice’s body, walking around in the small town, potentially planning another killing. But it wasn’t. This novel is about Alice coming to understand her sister’s actions. This novel is about Alice understanding how she feels about her sister and about the final weeks leading up to the massacre.
This novel is classed as young adult, but it also appeals to an adult market. It’s a disturbing novel, and there are many questions left unanswered after completing it. It’s originality is fantastic. The writing is fantastic. It’s very creepy and very disturbing, which is fantastic. Go into it with an open mind, and you’ll enjoy the read.
My Score: 8/10