Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In the Skin of a Monster” as Want to Read:
In the Skin of a Monster
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In the Skin of a Monster

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  660 ratings  ·  129 reviews
Three years ago, Alice's identical twin sister took a gun to school and killed seven innocent kids; now Alice wears the same face as a monster. She's struggling with her identity, and with life in the small Australian town where everyone was touched by the tragedy. Just as Alice thinks things can't get much worse, she encounters her sister on a deserted highway. But all is ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published August 2015 by Allen & Unwin
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakTomorrow, When the War Began by John MarsdenLooking for Alibrandi by Melina MarchettaOn the Jellicoe Road by Melina MarchettaLife in Outer Space by Melissa Keil
396 books — 203 voters
Hate List by Jennifer BrownNineteen Minutes by Jodi PicoultWe Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel ShriverGive a Boy a Gun by Todd StrasserThis Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
School Shooting Fiction
82 books — 338 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  660 ratings  ·  129 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of In the Skin of a Monster
Links updated

Kathryn offers some insight into her writing process, her début novel, and why she chose not to share Alice's sister's name with readers.
You can read the full interview here.

This book is part trying to understand the awful things that people do, even those who were closer to you than anyone else.
Is that what it felt like for you when you put the gun into your mouth? When you turned it on yourself after killing the others? When you brought the death toll up to eight, not that your de
April (Aprilius Maximus)
I just wasn't a fan, it was confusing as hell and I was v bored :(
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to TL by: Figgy
Shelves: favorites
"When I saw you freaking out it all fell apart a bit. People are never more human than when they're downright terrified. I discovered that for a fact, when you did what you did."

And just like that he’d raised the forbidden subject. Back home, nobody ever talked about what had happened. That day three years ago – it was like this big, deadly elephant in the room. They’d say it with their eyes and their spit and their hate, but never with actual words. Hearing it out loud, I don’t know whether it
In the Skin of a Monster is stunning, deliciously off-beat and totally absorbing. Completely unlike anything I was expecting or have read before and, even once I found my footing and got into the groove of the world, Barker still managed to twist things around until I was left with an unexpected lump in my throat and tears down my cheeks.

I didn’t read the blurb of this properly (common habit with me, I skim and dive in). I thought this was a contemporary novel -- but it’s a more genre-defying,
A copy of this novel was provided by Allen and Unwin for review.

I obviously misread the synopsis before I started reading this book, because I thought it was a contemporary. I thought I was going into a book about a girl who is the twin sister to a girl who shot a number of children at a school, and all the trials and tribulations of looking like the sister did. I was wrong. So wrong.

Yes, the main character is a twin sister to a girl who murdered children, but that’s not really what the book is
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loveozya
3.5 Stars. Utterly bonkers in the most wonderful way possible, it just took a while to reveal it's brilliance.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-books
This was an excellent debut novel! Very interesting concept - much more fantastical than the contemporary I was actually expecting.
Mistress Bast
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this book when my library purchased a copy and no one knew where we should shelve it. All I can say is: wow, this is not what I thought it would be, and I didn't really know what to think it would be! I have no idea how I will "sell" it to the students, but I want to because I think they will enjoy it.

3 years ago Alice's identical twin sister took a gun to school and proceeded to kill 7 students in a shooting spree. Since then Alice has had to deal with the fact that every time someone lo
Eugenia (Genie In A Book)
*This review also appears on my blog Genie In A Book*

4.5 stars

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

In The Skin of a Monster is one of the most provoking and poignant reads I've come across this year. It artfully converges both the real and surreal in a creative way which makes the content that much more powerful. Though the main character's name is Alice - she doesn't discover a 'wonderland' - in fact the lucid dreamscape she enters is q
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aussie-ya, 2015
After skimming the blurb and deciding it sounded like the perfect book to help with my slump, I went in expecting a contemporary, and soon discovered it wasn’t one. Nonetheless, it was thrilling and kept me turning the pages. So much so that I binged it in a day and if you have the time, I do think it’s a good way to read it. It's confusing at times and I feel it wouldn’t have flowed as easily had I kept stopping and starting it over the span of a few days. Plus, having been in a book slump of l ...more
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When I picked this book up, I thought I knew what it would be about. Boy, was I wrong.

This novel has to be one of the most unique story lines I've ever come across. I finished this book in a day as I couldn't put it down.

Do yourself a favour, check your expectations at the door and immerse yourself in the surreal world this book becomes.
Naomi Louise
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Just finished! Review to come
Arie ☂

What was your last feeling before you pulled the trigger? Were you pleased or horrified? Did you feel like a monster? Was pain the last thing you felt in life? And if so, how long had it been going for?
2.5 stars. This book was such a mindtrip. The nightmare dreamscape world was truly unique and the writing style was beautiful. Unfortunately, it started losing steam about halfway through and the ending wasn't resolved enough for my taste. But my main disappointment was that I was looking for
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
IN THE SKIN OF A MONSTER is a refreshing entry in the Young Adult genre by offering a ‘coming of age’ story that is conceptually universal, whilst also grounded in rural Australia. The use of duality is pervasive throughout the story. Depicting perspectives of both main characters is an unexpected, but interesting, narrative device to explore both a personal mystery and a simmering love story. Barker’s focus on duality continues with her depictions of a sleepy country town that’s juxtaposed with ...more
Mara Shantia
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ohk so I lovely librarian sat it on the top shelf , I picked it up , while borrowing it she commented that it sounded good . And then I was sucked into a fantastical world ... Although the first few pages confused me soon I couldn't put it down . Sometimes you find a book that's so strange that you just love it .. This is the case with this book , and behind the strangeness is some seriously deep meaning . Well written and a great read , not recommended for people that want don't like monsters a ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
I saw this randomly at Big W and decided to pick it up because the premise really interested me. Kathryn Barker is an Australian author and the book is set in Australia, which was so refreshing because I could relate to most things. I loved all the characters and how the answers to my questions were revealed. Definitely recommend!

Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
A really intriguing novel. I loved the other-worldness and the images I created in my mind. For a debut novel, I am so very impressed and looking forward to your next piece of art. Because not only is this book amazing; it is art. A beautiful blend of societal problems and the internal struggle we all face at one time or another.
Aly (In Wonderland)
Jul 08, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is not what I had expected it to be. It was wonderfully written and a great story but I have no idea how I feel about it right now.
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Although at times a little confusing, this book offered something unique for me, a story I hadn't really read before until right at the end. It was honestly spoiled by a random dart of instalove, right then and there, they I couldn't justify or explain. It just came out of no where! But after waiting overnight to confirm my thoughts, I decided the rest of the book was worth it anyway. It's dark and scary, and I actually had nightmares after it, although I can't fully remember what those dreams w ...more
"Life is more than that. It's blissful and rubbish and crappy and kind and infinite worlds of emotion. And you know what? So are people. We've all got good in us and bad in us, and miles of murky greyness. I suppose the difference is what you choose to focus on. Whether it's on the gutter, or on the stars, or just on your miserable self."

Man, this was one hell of a book. So strange, but very well done.
Amy Hiron
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I really enjoyed reading this book, and it is not at all what I expected when I picked it up. The whole thing is so original, I've never read anything like it. It was fun and it was sad and it made me think. I'd recommend this book to people who like thrillers... It was fun without being silly, and serious without being boring. It's about murder and heartache, jealousy and letting go. I loved it.
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Kathryn Barker has set the bar high with this debut...! I found it easier to get through by occasionally putting the book down & actually thinking about it. I found myself getting kind of reflective & philosophical about life and humanity. This novel is gripping, emotional, thoughtful, a bit creepy, and refreshing in a weird way! Looking forward to the next instalment from Kathryn. ...more
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Original, complicated and incredibly compelling. A story I know I'll have to think about and mull over for a long time to come - the last time I felt like this about a book was when I first read On the Jellicoe Road
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015, loveozya
Powerful and moving. A fascinating way to explore the psychological impact of a school shooting on a small Australian community. Definitely an author to watch!
Clare Snow
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Clare by: CBCA
Update 7/3/19: I will never stop loving Monster. Please read my fav book ever, and shudder with me.

reading with cat

Don't know why it took me a year to read this!? The monsters stole my composure and refuse to shake their dreamscape from my bones. In the Skin of a Monster spirals so far past surreal, it bypasses the sublime completely and exits somewhere out west where the baked earth meets the Milky Way.
"Here's the thing about moments. The world can change in them and people can die in them and just one is all
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this book, probably because it turned out to be nothing like I was expecting.

Although the writing is quite good, and the story concept was original, it just felt a little confusing and grey. As I kept on reading, a few things fell into place, but much of it did not.

The opening chapter was quite intriguing and hooked me in, but then the second chapter written from a different character’s point of view was just confusing. Each chapter alternated between Alice, a twin si
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book! Just won the Aurealis award for best young adult novel for 2015, and I can see why. It makes you think, but it is really worth the effort.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a captivating and surprising book - a great read.
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is good - six stars. Read it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Theophilus Grey and the Demon Thief
  • Between Us
  • The Assasin Game
  • There Will Be Lies
  • Vanishing Girls
  • Whisper (Whisper, #1)
  • The Faceless Ones (Skulduggery Pleasant, #3)
  • A Single Stone
  • Once
  • Foreign Soil
  • Rated
  • Stolen: A Letter to My Captor
  • Would Like to Meet
  • Shift
  • Moth Girls
  • Apple and Rain
  • The Resilience Project: Finding Happiness through Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness
  • From the Fatherland, with Love
See similar books…

Related Articles

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
15 likes · 3 comments