IN HER SKIN
by Kim Savage
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
A dark, suspenseful young adult novel about crime, identity, and two girls with everything to lose.
Fifteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain takes on her biggest heist yet—impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn’t been easy, and she hopes to cash in on a little safety, some security. She finds her opportunity with the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family tied to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine.
When Jo takes on Vivi’s identity and stages the girl’s miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household—and some secrets refuse to stay buried. When hidden crimes come to the surface and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold on to an illusion of safety or escape the danger around her before it’s too late. In Her Skin is Kim Savage at her most suspenseful yet.
IN HER SKIN sounds like an exciting, dark story. What was the first spark of inspiration?
I was inspired by the story of a con artist who impersonated a missing boy. He looked nothing like the boy, and told a far-fetched story of having been kidnapped and held for years. The boy’s parents accepted him as their missing son until the FBI proved he was a fraud. I wondered why the parents would go along with an obvious sham, and from there, I decided the Lovecrafts’ motivations, which were key to the whole plot.
I’m curious about the dangerous secrets lying in a place where Jo expected safety and security. What made you decide to corrupt such a space?
That’s the real heartbreak, right? I love setting up expectations to send them crashing down. When it’s done skillfully, it’s what I like to read.
I’m especially eager to read IN HER SKIN because it sounds like a dark story, but being told in the voice of a teenager. What do you think the young voice this adds to the story?
Jo’s voice drives In Her Skin. Through her voice, you learn that she’s savvy but vulnerable; smart, but there are gaps in her education; and she is a magical thinker: that is, she thinks words said in certain ways—here, three times—have magical power. Also, for the most part, the story is told in second person limited to Temple. Temple is Jo’s obsession. She fills Jo’s thoughts, so this made sense to me, for her character.
Alright. I gotta ask! Is there any particular reason the family’s last name is Lovecraft? Is this hinting at something we can expect in the story or just an exciting coincidence?
Thanks for noticing. I was definitely thinking about a theme you find in H.P. Lovecraft’s books: hidden knowledge and its destructive power. Mostly, though, I was thinking about that word, deconstructed. In other words, what “crafted love” might look like; love created to suit a purpose, you might say.
Thank you so much for joining us! But before we go, is there anything else you want to add about IN HER SKIN?
Just that forgetting who you are can end badly. Ask Jo.
KIM SAVAGE is the author of three critically acclaimed young adult novels, After the Woods, Beautiful Broken Girls (named by Kirkus as one of the 10 Best YA of 2017), and In Her Skin (releasing March 27, 2018), all with Farrar, Straus, Giroux/Macmillan. Her novels have been published in Spain, Brazil, and Turkey, and have been optioned for TV. Kim presents at conferences and book festivals nationwide; has been featured on NPR, Herald Radio, and on local cable stations; and she reads from her novels at bookstores across the country. A former reporter with a Master degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, Kim’s stories are based in and around Boston. She lives with her family near Boston, not far from the real Middlesex Fells Reservation of After the Woods. Kim and her husband have three children, each of whom beg to appear in her books. They shouldn’t.
Starts:4/10 – Ends: 4/24
1 finished copy of IN HER SKIN by Kim Savage (US Only)