See Through Me by Kevin Brooks
When fifteen-year-old Kenzie wakes up in hospital in a darkened room, she's in the dark about what happened to her too. The doctors break the news to her that she has been struck down by a rare genetic condition that makes her skin transparent. Her devastation is complete when she peeks a glimpse of herself - everything inside of her is revealed.
The young girl feels repellent to look at, but when a medical photo of hers is mysteriously leaked and goes viral, the press attention is immense.
The story follows Kenzie as she contemplates how she can live like this, when she doesn't want to be seen at all.
Sadly, this is about as exciting as the book got. The premise held so much promise and there was real potential for a wonderful story to unfold.
Brooks created a really interesting genetic disorder - see through skin - but that was about as interesting as it got.
It took until at least three-quarters of the way through the book for any real action to kick off.
Even then, the characters were so thin and unlikable, and the drama failed to stick or capture the reader's attention.
Kenzie is boring, and Brooks spends a lot of time re-hashing and focusing on her (unrealistic) emotions. She has no depth to her character and was hard to relate to. It felt like a lot of the time the book rambled on with her feelings, which in a well-written book, can be illuminating and fascinating. But that wasn't the case. Instead, I wanted to pull out my red pen and leave slashes through the pages of boring, irritating soliloquies.
Her father was incredibly unlikable and unrealistic. While he was also caring for a child with a disability at home, his complete disregard of Kenzie's condition made him extremely unloving. That and his exploitation of her, adds to the unrealistic feel of it. While the disregard of her might be part of the exploitation, Brooks doesn't convey that with enough force or passion.
The ending felt like a bit of a cop out too - Kenzie ends up with her crush, and her carer, and they manage to hide away after recovering some of the money her father squirreled away. But by that point, I really didn't care what happened.
All the 'moving parts' of the story are there; it's just that the feeling and passion behind them all are lacking.
Sadly, See Through Me is a disappointing read of what could have been a thrilling read.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Egmont UK, $25