Title: Under My Skin (Wildlings #1)
Author: Charles de Lint
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Source: ARC from Publisher
For the past six months, something has been happening to young people in Santa Feliz. Week after week, there's news of another teen changing shape, transforming from human to wild animal and back again. The federal government has stepped in, running public service announcements calling for affected youth to turn themselves in for "orientation and training".
Josh Saunders has seen the new reports, but he's still unprepared when it happens to him. One minute he's arguing with his mother's boyfriend and the next he's looming over the man, blood dripping from his claws--transformed into a mountain lion. When he switches back to his human body, he knows his life has changed forever. He has become a Wildling.
Trusting only his best friends Des and Marina with his secret, Josh tries to return to normal life. But an encounter with Elzie, another Wildling, brings him unwanted attention from the authorities. And when an accidental betrayal reveals Josh's secret, his carefully constructed cover is ripped apart, forcing his friends to intervene. They must grudgingly put their trust in others, including other Wildlings--and, most challenging, in each other--if they ever hope to save him.
While I had heard of Charles de Lint, I hadn't read any of his books until I read Under My Skin. Let me just say that it was a great way to be introduced to this author. I really enjoyed reading Under My Skin, it was fast-paced and very much action-packed, something that made it into a great pageturner.
Josh knows all about the Santa Feliz teens who have beent urning into wild animals, but he never expected he would end up becoming one of them. And from the moment he changes, Josh's life becomes absolutely crazy. He doesn't know who to trust anymore but still confides in Marin and Des, his two best friends. But as soon as he does so, his life becomes even more chaotic. Josh has to watch his every step, what with Federal agents following him everywhere he goes. And as they often do, things quickly take a turn for the worse. Now Josh may just have to fight so save his won life and to protect the lives of all the other Wildlings in Santa Feliz. Staying alive and keeping the fact that he's a Wildling secret might be more difficult than Josh thought it would be.
Under My Skin is the first of Charles de Lint's books that I've read, and I absolutely loved it. The story in Under My Skin is filled with action and is very much fast-paced. I find that often with books wehre a character transforms into something paranormal or finds out about being a paranormal, it always takes a while for that transformation to happen or that knowledge to be acquired. Here it was definitely not the case. Josh's transformation into a Wildling happens barely past the first page, which then makes it so the story can take off right away. This is definitely something I appreciated about the story, there was definitely no dragging out of certain parts and something was always happening. Under My Skin is also told from two different points of view, Josh and Marina, and I feel like that also really help create the fast pace of the story. There was always something that one of the two narrators didn't know, but wanted to know, which in turn caused more action. Basically all this to say that Under My Skin by Charles de Lint is a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat and there is never a dull moment.
Under My Skin also offers quite a fair amount of characters. The story focuses on Josh, but every other chapter is also told from Marina's perspective. And then through both Josh and Marina, the readers get acquainted with a whole other cast of characters. But in this book, having a large number of fully fleshed-out characters is something that really works and is almost necessary to the story. The book just would not have been the same had it only been about Josh, Marina and their friend Des. The other characters, particularly Chaingang, Cory and Elzie, really added to the story and were often responsible for a lot of the action that was taking place. While those other characters were there, Josh and Marina are still the two that I got to know really well. While the two are best friends, they have quite different personalities, especially when it comes to dealing with the whole subject of Wildlings. But at the same time they complement each other and it was great to see them work together, and with the other characters, to achieve their common goal.
Under My Skin by Charles de Lint was a fantastic read. The writing was addicting, the story will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat the whole way through. I am more than happy that this is the first in a new series because I simply cannot wait to get more of these characters and this world.