Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Skinned by Robin Wasserman

What makes a person a person? If your brain is scanned and uploaded to a computer and placed in a man-made body are you real? Popular Lia Kahn has a fatal accident--but in the future those with money can essentially have their brains transplanted into bodies that will never feel pain or die. Lia feels like herself--she has all of her memories and feelings and she has learned to control her new body. But she is unable to return to her old life. Even her best friends and family see her as a "skinner" or a "mech" and as much as they pretend things are the same Lia realizes that her previous life is over. Her only choice seems to be to join up with other "mech heads" who are taking full advantage of their new invincible status. It's an intriguing concept (and ultimately a pretty depressing concept). I enjoyed the book but I did not feel as connected to Lia as I would have liked to. She was a selfish, mean character before the accident and after the accident I don't think she had the emotional depth that a teenager who had lost everything would have had. It joins a growing list of books dealing with how far science can go to save a human life, including Eva by Peter Dickinson, Airhead by Meg Cabot, and The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (a much better book with more ethical questions raised). By the way, this book has some mature content and I recommend it for 9th-12th grade readers.

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