skinhungerBibliographic Information
Title: Skin Hunger

Author: Kathleen Duey

ISBN: 978-0-689-84093-7

Publisher: Atheneum

Copyright: 2007

Book Details
Book Design: Mike Rosamilia

Cover Design: Russell Gordon

Cover Artwork: David Ho

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audio CD, Audible

Page Count: 357

Awards: National Book Award

Plot Summary

Two lives are intertwined in a megical world, even though they live centuries apart in time.

In Sadima’s world, magic has been banned, leaving poor villagers prey to fakes and charlatans. One such fake stole her family’s few valuables and left Sadima’s mother to die.

In Hahp’s world, magic is permitted only to an exclusive few wizards, and Hahp is sent to a boarding school to become wizard.

Sadima knows there is some magic, hidden in old rhymes and hearth tales, and in herself. She conceals her silent communication with animals for fear of rejection. When rumors of her gift reach Somiss, a nobleman obsessed with restoring magic, he sends Franklin, his servant, to find her. Sadima’s joy at sharing her secret becomes love for the man she shares it with. But Franklin’s irrevocable bond Somiss traps her, too, and she faces a heartbreaking decision.

At the boarding school, Hahp finds himself paired with Gerrard, a peasant boy inexplicably admitted with nine sons of privilege and wealth. Only one of the ten students will graduate — and the first academic requirement is survival.

Critical Evaluation

The book has been broadly popular with teens, and many adults, but some reviewers did not like the alternating-chapter structure of the book. The pacing in this  accelerates as the stories progress and links between them emerge.

Many reviewers feel that the author has created characters that are truly resonate with teenagers. Even though the situation Sadima and Hahp are in may not be familliar in time or place, there are so many aspects of who they are that reflect today’s teens.

Other reviewers felt cheated; as part of a trilogy, it felt to them somewhat unfinished or unresolved, rather than stopping at a more ‘natural’ point in the plot.

Holly Black, author of “Tithe”, described it as beautifully written, fierce, and unforgettable.

Reader’s Annotation

What if you were the only person who knew that magic existed? What if you had to master it, just to get food?

Information about the Author

Kathleen Duey’s works include the middle grade American Diaries and Survival series, as well as the well-reviewed chapter book series The Unicorn’s Secret and its companion series, The Faeries’ Promise.

Duey’s interest is in how people–their agonies, their joys, their distortions, their courage or cowardice, their moods–shape their work, whatever it may be.

She lives in Fallbrook, California



Booktalking ideas

Why are people so cruel to one another? Why are people selfish, and try to restrict knowledge?

Reading Level/Interest Age
Interest Level: Grade 7 and up

Challenge Issues




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