Under My Skin by Lisa Unger is a novel that is unsettling right from the start!
From the very first page of the prologue, I was nervous for the female character… and it only got worse and worse as the prologue progressed. Then we dive right into the story, which is just a rollercoaster of the present, the past, resurfacing memories, dreams, and lots of confusion.
Full disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book as part of the TLC Book Tour. This did not affect my rating in any way.
What if the nightmares are actually memories?
It’s been a year since Poppy’s husband, Jack, was brutally murdered during his morning run through Manhattan’s Riverside Park. In the immediate aftermath, Poppy spiraled into an oblivion of grief, disappearing for several days only to turn up ragged and confused wearing a tight red dress she didn’t recognize. What happened to Poppy during those lost days? And more importantly, what happened to Jack?
The case was never solved, and Poppy has finally begun to move on. But those lost days have never stopped haunting her. Poppy starts having nightmares and blackouts—there are periods of time she can’t remember, and she’s unable to tell the difference between what is real and what she’s imagining. When she begins to sense that someone is following her, Poppy is plunged into a game of cat and mouse, determined to unravel the mystery around her husband’s death. But can she handle the truth about what really happened?
My Thoughts on Under My Skin by Lisa Unger
My goodness, the author does an amazing job describing people and places; each to the point where you feel like you are looking right at the individual, or standing in the same space as the character, breathing in the same smells and all! This author has such wonderfully vivid writing. While reading, I couldn’t help but imagine everything really playing out in my head like a film.
The pacing was just perfect. I really enjoyed how lost I felt at times; as the story jumped back and forth from the present and the past, from being half awake and dreaming, there were times that I felt just as confused as the main character, but in a good way. With this organization, there was also quite a bit of repetitiveness, but again… it was a good thing. The repetition worked. It really gave the reader more insight into the main characters shattered mind.
The characters were so perfect! I really felt for Poppy, the main character, right from the start. I cannot imagine the grief that she was dealing with. But I was very happy to see that she had truly great support. Her assistant Ben was warm, organized, and very thoughtful. Her friend Layla was generous, protective, and always there when Poppy needed her. Even the investigator, Grayson, was wonderfully protective, but in a professional cop-like way. Then there was Noah, a character that I liked immediately, but then later, wasn’t sure what to think about him… There were also a handful of characters that played smaller roles, some of which were powerful but rather fleeting, while others were more involved in the crazy web of this tale than I would have predicted.
As for the plot, I loved it. I loved how difficult it was to watch the main character try to piece things together. However, I’d say that this is another book that you want to go into pretty blind, so I will leave it at that!
My Favorite Passages from Under My Skin
I wonder if anyone notices that I am a ghost in my life.
But– honestly– I’m scared; fear tickles at the back of my throat. There’s a white noise of anxiety in the back of my head. It’s not just the man in the shadows, on the train. He is scary, sure. If there really is someone following me, then yes, it’s weird and frightening. What’s scarier though, given my history, is if there isn’t.
Living in opulence or squalor, under the skin people are just the same. Everyone suffers. Everyone struggles. It just looks different form the outside.
This happens. I’m okay where I am and then suddenly I just need to be alone, like I can’t hold the pieces of myself together anymore.
Yellow mustard and white silk are not friends. Actually, white silk is no one’s friend. Wearing it is like a dare to the universe: go ahead, bring it on– coffee, ketchup, ink – I can take you.
The eye, the memory – they’re the trickiest liars. Only the camera lenses captures the truth, and just for a moment.
It reminds me of how everyone looked at me after my breakdown, as if I were a china cup tumbling, eternally in mid-flight from hand to floor. Something about to shatter.
Maybe you can tell how someone feels about you by the image they capture, the moment they choose to snap the shutter.
But that’s the trick of the abuser, soft one moment, a monster the next. Unpredictability is his best trick.
My Final Thoughts on Under My Skin
This is definitely one you’ll want to add to your October reading list! It was so wonderfully unsettling. It will throw you for a loop time and time again as you try to figure out what is going on. When it all starts coming together, you’ll wonder how you didn’t see it earlier. Bravo, Lisa Unger!!
This novel is just screaming for a film adaptation! I already cannot wait to read it again to see what I pick up on during the second read through.
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