Publisher's Note:  

There are no secrets in Saintstone.

From the second you're born, every achievement, every failing, every significant moment are all immortalized on your skin. There are honorable marks that let people know you're trustworthy. And shameful tattoos that announce you as a traitor. 

After her father dies, Leora finds solace in the fact that his skin tells a wonderful story. That is, until she glimpses a mark on the back of his neck . . . the symbol of the worst crime a person can commit in Saintstone. Leora knows it has to be a mistake, but before she can do anything about it, the horrifying secret gets out, jeopardizing her father's legacy . . . and Leora's life.

In her startlingly prescient debut, Alice Broadway shines a light on the dangerous lengths we go to make our world feel orderly--even when the truth refuses to stay within the lines. This rich, lyrical fantasy with echoes of Orwell is unlike anything you've ever read, a tale guaranteed to get under your skin . . . 

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic

Ink (The Skin Books #1)

by Alice Broadway

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Overall Review:  

If the words you spoke appeared on your skin, would you still be beautiful?” Author Alice Broadway  takes this quote by Auliq Ice to a varying degree in her stellar debut novel, Ink (The Skin Books #1).

What if every achievement, failure, or life event, good or bad was available for others to view with just a glance? This is Leora’s reality and the social norm, making every person you meet an open book--or does it? Told in first-person narrative, teen protagonist Leora discovers life isn’t always black or white and a permanent mark made on your skin does not need to make a lasting mark in your life.

With a graceful and poignant writing style, newly published author Alice Broadway engages readers with thoughtful questions and conflicted characters. As with Lois Lowry’s The Giver, this book captures readers attention with a supposedly Utopian society in which the main character begins to realize there is more to it than meets the eye.

For the first time in my life, I'm doubting my faith, and it terrifies me.
For the first time, I want to change the rules.
For the first time I wonder: does it matter what it says on your skin, when what's at stake is your soul?”

Feel free to judge this book by its cover! Beautiful blazing foiled copper against a black backdrop sets the stage for what awaits you inside. This is a must-have hardback cover for all bookish fashionistas.


Reasonably neutral for readers of any gender or YA age range, this new author rates high on my list of up-and-comers. Though the pacing may be a bit slow for readers who just want all action all the time, the story and its ending lay a beautiful blueprint for a sequel that will hopefully soar. 

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  2 Religious exclamations; 2 mild obscenities.

Violence/Gore:  Threat of people rioting, plotting an attack; report of violence; memory of a work accident that caused an injury--wound and blood mentioned; character witnesses a chained prisoner being publicly ridiculed; playful smack; a few reports (extended and brief) of society's history of violence; 2 extended scenes of fairy-tale stories involving violence; character grabs another character roughly, causing an accidental injury; a few reports of possible threats of violence; third-party reports a character was tasked with killing a baby.


Sex/Nudity:  Married couple expresses their love for one another, kiss each other's hand; story of a male and female being married; mention of nudity (non-sexual); character thinks about romance; female character examines their naked body (non-sexual); mention of a nude exhibit at a museum; drunk teen male tries to kiss a female; few incidents of characters holding hands; character finds another character of the opposite sex attractive; few mentions of infidelity within marriage; about 2 brief kisses; humorous episode of nudity (non-sexual); parents kiss; mention of romance and love.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Corrupt government officials, prejudice.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

A few mentions wine; teenagers drink alcohol at an unchaperoned party, characters become drunk.

Reviewed By MaryLou
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