Book Review: Summer Skin by Kirsty Eager

Summer Skin
Author: Kirsty Eager
Release Date: February 1, 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Get it Here: Book Depository

Synopsis:

Jess Gordon is out for revenge. Last year the jocks from Knights College tried to shame her best friend. This year she and a hand-picked college girl gang are going to get even.

The lesson: don’t mess with Unity girls.

The target: Blondie, a typical Knights stud, arrogant, cold . . . and smart enough to keep up with Jess.

A neo-riot grrl with a penchant for fanning the flames meets a rugby-playing sexist pig – sworn enemies or two people who happen to find each other when they’re at their most vulnerable?

It’s all Girl meets Boy, Girl steals from Boy, seduces Boy, ties Boy to a chair and burns Boy’s stuff. Just your typical love story.

A searingly honest and achingly funny story about love and sex amid the hotbed of university colleges by the award-winning author of Raw Blue.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Biggest of thanks to Jeann from Happy Indulgence for the signed copy! Sending all my love! ❤

I think all females, no matter what their age group (but especially the ones transitioning from teen to adult) have to pick this book up! It’s not only a romance between two people caught on opposing forces of a competition, but considers the patriarchal and misogynistic tendencies that are unfortunately common in society – addressing them in feminist ways through the strong-willed main character, Jess. On the cover of the book Summer Skin is likened to “a feminist love story,” and that description could not be more apt. Eagar tackles issues that are seen commonly today, with a message underlying the relationship that is progressing in the story.

“‘People save their strong opinions for women. Why don’t they look at men? If I have to read another book or see another movie about a women being courageous, I’ll throw up. Where are the books and movies about this men who do this stuff? But no, it’s always about the women.’”

Jess is such an assertive, intelligent, and witty young woman. She goes to college and lives in the Unity dorm, which is co-ed and full of those crazy fun people you see at parties and the like. I loved the characterization of her friend group. Each one of them were unique, diverse, and Eagar isn’t afraid to address their problems as well. Social media, self-esteem, confidence, doubt, and sex is addressed in this book in a raw, open way that the author isn’t afraid of writing. There’s New Adult where we’re reading about unrealistic humans experience unrealistic events, and then there’s New Adult that describes the gritty aspects of life: the parts where we usually don’t want to read about in fiction, the awkward moments, and the ones of self-doubt and oscillating between things. But these things are real, and the author does tackle these experiences, providing a depth to the characters and relationship that may be missing from the usual fluffy romance NA’s.

summer-skin

Like I said before, the friendships and romances in this book definitely have depth. From the support of Jess’s friends (girls and boys!) to the Blondie that she meets in the beginning, Eagar does a great job in writing their characterizations. I absolutely adored the banter between Blondie (whose name you’ll learn later on) and Jess as well. Blondie is from the Knights dorm, which I picture as one of those snobbish and arrogant fraternities with boys who think that they’re gifts to the women in the world. Pretentious, rude, and obnoxious would be the apt description. The book all starts when one of the girls from Unity becomes part of an initiation with the boys at Knight and is secretly watched while having sex with one of them. That behaviour is what galvanizes Jess, her best friend, to basically declare war on the Knights. She meets Blondie when she sneaks into the Knights’ dorm, and everything develops from there.

“She glared at him. ‘Being human isn’t two separate experiences. Get that into your thick head.’ Then she buried her face against his chest again.”

It was really wonderful to see Jess and Blondie break down each other’s misconceptions about the other and break back their barriers to let out their vulnerable side. Blondie makes some rude comments, that is true, but a lot of it also has to do with his past and upbringing. I think my favorite part about him is that Eager takes the type of boy someone would immediately write off as “f-boy” and makes him into something more than a label. He’s compassionate, awkward, adorable, and sweet. He can also be selfish, careless, rude, and scornful. We get to see the good and the bad without any veils. Jess is so open and honest and unpredictable. She’s not afraid to say things like she enjoys foreplay and admonishes people for the close-minded way they think. I think I would have liked to have seen more parts with her family and how they influenced her because it was shortly mentioned, but her character overall was just a ball of fire. You know how many times I was thinking, “YAAAS girl, yaaas!”? Many. She was nonstop full of awesome remarks.

“Then he gave her an open, easy smile, one that she’d never seen before. As though, despite the fact that she was naked and he was lying between her legs, and she was from Unity and he was from Knights, and she was a modern-day riot grrl, and he was a modern-day sexist pig, they were friends.”

It’s also a college setting, so expect to see some drinking, lots of mentions of sex, and partying. I think the only disappointment I had was seeing Jess smoke for the majority of the book (I’m sorry that stuff just gets to me) but she eventually tries to stop. Like I said, it takes place in college so I also wasn’t that surprised to see that kind of stuff. There are steamy scenes in the book, true, but there are also informative and positive messages on sex that are expressed in the book. YES, you can use a vibrator to pleasure yourself. YES, you can like sex and not be called a slut. YES, you can say no to sex and not be called a bitch. And the people that do care about that? They don’t matter at all in the grand spectrum of things.

Summer Skin breaks down so many barriers between genders through its message of feminism. It’s a story that not only has main characters that are slowly opening up to each other, but also ceases the stereotypes that dominate society today, whether it’s about an Insta-famous sorority girl or wealthy boys that grew up with a golden spoon. Raw, open, and tantalizing, it’s a book that explores so many important topics with a spitfire main character that is not afraid to take what she wants. It was also a perfect book for me to read while I transition from my last year of high school to college. (And solidifies the fact that I absolutely can’t wait to graduate.)

One-Way-Or-An-Author-4star

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12 thoughts on “Book Review: Summer Skin by Kirsty Eager

  1. Lucille says:

    Wow I didn’t know anything about this book but now I guess I NEED it because it is exactly what I thought was missing from romance stories! thank youuuuu! *add to GR right this instant*

  2. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    Oh Aila I am so glad you could enjoy the book for the empowering and sex positive statement that it was! It was so raw and wonderfully honest and I do think every woman should read it. I just loved how fearless Jess was as well. Lovely review Aila! Xx

  3. Zoe says:

    I’ve heard nothing but great things about this book so I am so glad you enjoyed this so much too Aila. ❤ I don't usually read NA, but I think I might make an exception for this one because it sounds too good to pass. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

  4. Tasya says:

    Wow this book sounds amazing! NA can be a hit or miss for me, but this one sounds like my cup of tea. It has amazing characters, fleshed out side characters, and important message! Also how the authors address the important issues in this book? Yes please! Thank you Aila for sharing, I would definitely add this book to my tbr! ❤

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