Author: James Dawson
Published by: Hot Key Books on 5th March 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Horror, Paranormal, Romance
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Hive | Book Depository
Meet Molly Sue. Once she's under your skin there's no getting rid of her...
Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally's about as shy and retiring as they come - but all that's about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour - and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she's doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back - hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and as popular as she is in her dreams.
But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head - or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue's. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl - in fact, she's mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue... and before long she's going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody 'under your skin'.
I've said it before but I'll say it again, over and over. Hot Key Books publish some of the best books ever. Unique, intense and utterly fabulous! Under My Skin is my second James Dawson novel and just when I thought you couldn't get any better with creeptastic Say Her Name, James has slayed it again with Under My Skin! I am a huge fan of James himself as a person, he's incredibly inspirational and a fantastic writer.
Under My Skin just blew me away. I mean, tattoos that can move, speak and possess you? Talk about creepy! A good 90% of this book is all out creepy as hell. You'll get a little shiver here and there yet James still manages to fit in good ol' English humour too that I absolutely loved. Under My Skin revolves around yours truly.
The protagonist and I may share the same name but the Sally in this book and I are quite different. (Although I do think the red sweets are the best ones too.) In fact, I think everyone can relate to Sally one way or another, that's what great about her character. Sally Feather is raw and honest, constantly working hard to keep her parents happy but at the same time she's unhappy with herself, wishing she had more confidence. I could relate, because confidence is something we all crave, especially me. When Sally ends up getting a tattoo - hello Molly Sue - things go a little haywire, namely her secret beloved tattoo of confidence starts to speak to her in her head and at times, take control of her body.
Let's talk about Molly Sue. I suppose you could label her as the 'villain' of the story, but I have to say, she was my favourite character(?). Why? Simply because she's bold and sassy but more importantly I loved how she defended against female oppression and came off as quite the strong feminist. James scores extra brownie points for that. There are a lot of excerpts that surround this topic, reminding us that women are not objects, nor your human punch bag. It covered this topic in a way that was comfortable and enjoyable to read. Molly Sue is definitely a force to be reckoned with, truly terrifying, and I enjoyed seeing her bring out Sally's inner confidence - although her methods could use a little work! Watch out for her boys!
Under My Skin is no Say Her Name but it has equal standing on the thrilling and chilling atmosphere and being just as amazing. There were moments where I was dreading to read on because it would really put Sally in a tight spot but that's what kept me sucked in! It really was its own kind of scary. But alongside that, James also fits in a little romance which I found rather cute.
Really great character developments and personalities in this one! I loved the premise and idea of possessive tattoos and the horror-like feel that it brings when you read it. I would love to see this one on the screen! (I love horrors, if you hadn't guessed already.) For those who are too terrified to read Say Her Name, give Under My Skin a go! It's a little more intense than horrifying but really fun and captivating.