Under My Skin by Charles De Lint

Something strange is happening in Santa Feliz. People -- particularly the teens -- have been changing into wild animals and back again. They've been coined "Wildlings" and the Federal Government is offering to help anyone with their new found "abilities". But none of those who have gone to the government facility for "orientation and training" have ever returned.

Josh is incredulous when he turns into a mountain lion and almost kills his mom's boyfriend. He wants to keep everything a secret and  live a normal life, but when he starts to meet other Wildlings and finds out what is happening to them, he realizes this might not be possible. Other kids at school are getting suspicious and it seems that he's being followed by not only government agents, but other mysterious strangers as well...

The story is told with alternating perspectives of the two main characters: Josh and Marina. This creates suspense as some details only get revealed through one perspective, but it also seemed slow down the movement of the plot sometimes. I felt like there could have been less talking and mulling over their situations and more action. Things started to move pretty good closer to the end of the books and I wish there was a bit more of that excitement throughout the book.

While the idea of being able to turn into animals is a pretty cool one, it personally kept reminding me of the children's series, Animorphs. However, I do think De Lint's writing and development of plot and characters will appeal to many readers who will most likely want to continue with the series after reading this first book.

Be sure to check out Razorbill's What Wildling Are You website where you answer a short questionnaire to determine which animal you'd turn into if you were a Wildling. (I was disappoint to discover that I am a boring rabbit...)

Charles De Lint is a World Fantasy Award winning author who has written plenty of other books (most of them adult titles). For a list of his work visit his website.
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