Under My Skin – Zoe Markham

Inside we are all monsters…

Chloe was once a normal girl. Until the night of the car crash that nearly claimed her life. Now Chloe’s mother is dead, her father is a shell of the man he used to be and the secrets that had so carefully kept their family together are falling apart.

A new start is all Chloe and her father can hope for, but when you think you’re no longer human how can you ever start pretending?

A contemporary reworking of a British horror classic, Under My Skin follows seventeen-year-old Chloe into an isolated world of darkness and pain, as she struggles to understand what it really means to be alive.

Set against the familiar backdrop of everyday, normal teenage worries, Chloe’s world has become anything but…

This book is such an amazing read, not only is it an original twist on a well known and loved genre but it explores the harrowing emotions of loss, heartbreak, pain, suffocation, restriction, control, trust and love.

Zoe Markham has brought an historic classic to life injecting it with everyday surroundings, real relationships, trust issues, isolation and pushed it bang smack in our line of sight with a bright yellow book cover and a cracking font that jumps away from the page. I do love a good book cover.

The intrigue and suspense after the prologue and around the first few chapters kept me riveted, the more I read the more I needed to know. I sat on the fence and watched as both the main character Chloe and her father battled it out for Chloe’s freedom, how he sacrificed everything for his only daughter wanting the best life for her as she, Chloe felt further isolated and unhappy hidden away from the world.

It took me a while to envisage what Chloe would look like because even at the outset we knew her story it just took me a while to comprehend, even though she was ‘different’ and had her ‘quirks’ she was still a raging hormonal adolescent teenager underneath.

The way the relationship between father and daughter is depicted is beautifully done, with detail and intricacy of minuet feelings and realistic arguments. We see Chloe struggle and not understand, we watch as she pushes and rebels and eventually how her father relents allowing more trust whilst knowing he was always right. He was the most rational of the two, torn between doing the right thing by his daughter and the right thing for his family. The relationship played out to the reader is a genuine one with feeling and depth. The book consists a lot of just the two of them and how they interact together, which I must say I found refreshing and enjoyed.

Some of the characters are nasty, mean spirited, selfish and harsh. Teenagers at the best of times are cruel and gruesome but involve a heap of money and a close guarded secret and the world is their oyster, I found reading about some characters hard going because of my instant dislike and wariness towards them.

I always want a happy ending, I am a true romantic and a sucker for a warm fuzzy feeling post book. This never came with such feeling and the latter part of the book filled me with anticipation and what can only be described as dread. I dreamt of Chloe and her struggles, she was on my mind throughout the day, I became consumed with her story for freedom and wanted her to be given that opportunity to be that normal teenager, albeit, as the reader I knew it was not possible but a girl can dream and that was exactly what both Chloe and myself did. It took me a while to read, the content was heavy, engaging but emotional, draining almost and I found at times affected my mood. Markham being a talented author to be able to evoke such feeling and emotion on many levels.

I didnt see the ending coming, I hadn’t a clue, it left me questioning ‘but what now?’ also pulling my heart strings yet gave me the satisfaction she was loved, her family were proud.

I recommend this book to Young Adults and Adults alike, read it at face value yet feel its depth, be open minded and allow the words to be absorbed under your skin and most importantly feel the strength in the love between father and daughter.



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