From Rhea, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Flake, Sharon G.
The Skin I’m In
As the title and cover suggest the book is about an African American girl struggling with her racial identity, and more. Maleeka Madison attends an inner city school and is relentlessly teased by her classmates for her homemade clothes, her very dark skin and even her good grades. She is especially bullied by a girl named Charlese who makes her do all her homework and copies from her during tests. Despite all the work Maleeka does for Charlese she is often insulted and abused by her. Although, she knows she should not put up with any of the teasing and bullying, Maleeka does not have the courage to stand up for herself.
All of this changes when a new English teacher Miss Saunders arrives at McClenton Middle School. Miss Saunders takes an interest in Maleeka realizing her talent in writing. She tries to distance Maleeka and Charlese as she is very bad company for Maleeka. It is, however, hard for Maleeka to completely break free of Charlese. In the end, Charlese forces Maleeka to vandalize school property and deserts her when Maleeka is caught in the act. Finally, Maleeka gets the courage to stand up for herself and clear her name. She acquires a feeling of self worth and understands that it is important to like yourself for who you are and not what others may tell you.
In my opinion, the novel is very realistic and describes well how life is for kids in inner city schools. In the beginning, it was weird to read the kind of language and the way the characters spoke but as you go along the story it seems real and you don’t mind. Even though, we don’t live in those circumstances, one can empathize and you do feel good that Maleeka and Ms. Saunders win in the end. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends