The Skin I’m In Book Review


By Madissyn Moore, Reporter

The next book I’ve decided to read is called “The Skin I’m In” by Sharon G. Flake. It is written in the first person and there are 32 relatively short chapters. Here is the synopsis given:

Maleeka suffers every day from the taunts of the other kids in her class. If they’re not getting at her about her homemade clothes or her good grades, it’s about her dark skin. When a new teacher, whose face is blotched with a startling white patch, starts at their school, Maleeka can see there is bound to be trouble for her too. But the new teacher’s attitude surprises Maleeka. Miss Saunders loves the skin she’s in. Can Maleeka learn to do the same?

Flake did an amazing job with using highlighting diction throughout the book. Diction is a literary term meaning the style of speaking or writing, determined by the choice of words by a speaker or a writer, according to

The use of diction really added to the setting of the story and made it seem more realistic. The book was a little short for me and I feel that she definitely could have extended the story plot and thickened it up. But I really loved how in-depth she went with the thoughts of the main character.

The cover of this book is really unique. It shows a black woman’s face with full, thick lips, a wide nose, and beautiful eyes. The cover is in black and white and it does not have any distracting features. It’s just the beautiful, naked face of a black woman, so I think it really shows that black is beautiful.

I absolutely love this book. I think it really speaks to me not only because I’m black, but also because it is really hard to be okay with the skin I’m in when the majority of the kids I go to school with don’t look like me. Although the school that Maleeka goes to is predominantly black, her darker skin complexion stands out and is constantly used by other students to bully her.

It’s difficult to love how you look when there are people constantly putting you down because of it. In middle school, a student would constantly call me Harambe. And now in high school, I get asked questions like, “Why is your hair so nappy?” or students say, “I couldn’t date someone with nappy hair.”

And I hear ” Dang, your lips are huge! They cover like half of your face.” They would stare at them and poke their lips out trying to mimic how mine looked. I’d try not to do anything that brought extra attention to my lips. I would straighten my hair to look like other girls. And I learned to laugh at the ignorant comments people made and hide how uncomfortable I felt.

Throughout the first half of the story, Maleeka would wear someone else’s clothes to try to fit in with her classmates, but that never took away how phony and terrible she felt.

With difficulty, Maleeka finally realized her worth and felt confident with who she was. In a confrontation with her school bully, she said, “Call me by my name! I am not ugly. I am not stupid. I am Maleeka Madison, and, yeah I’m black, real black, and if you don’t like me, too bad ’cause black is the skin I’m in!”

Maleeka finally learned to listen to what people were telling her all along, that she was beautiful. She fully accepted herself. Flake wonderfully showed that you are beautiful regardless of what others have to say about you. There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like how you look but their opinion doesn’t matter.

What matters is how you feel about yourself. And getting to that point of self-confidence is easier said than done but it’s doable. If you are looking for a book highlighting self-growth, I recommend reading The Skin I’m In. All the books I read are books from Palmer Ridge’s library so stop by and check it out.