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Skinned Summary & Study Guide

Robin Wasserman
This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Skinned.
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Skinned Summary & Study Guide Description

Skinned Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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"Skinned" is a science fiction novel by acclaimed Young Adult writer Robin Wasserman. The novel is set in the future and follows 17-year-old Lia Kahn as she attempts to adjust to her new life after her brain is downloaded into an artificial body following a car crash. Published in 2008, Skinned is the first novel in the "Skinned" trilogy, continued in "Crashed" (2009), and concluded in "Wired" (2010).

When Lia Kahn is severely injured in a freak car accident, she is taken to BioTech - one of her father's companies - where her brain is downloaded into an artificial, mechanical body which looks and feels like a normal human body. Lia is told that she will no longer need to eat or breathe, she will not feel pain or become ill, and she will never die. During weeks of intense rehab and therapy Lia learns how to control her new body, but finds that she is unable to "feel" things the way that she used to. She is told that there will be a period of adjustment and that eventually some emotions and sensations should return.

After her rehab is complete, Lia's parents bring her home and she immediately tries to resume the life she had led prior to the accident. Lia had been the most popular girl in school and the leader of a tight-knit circle of friends, but she finds that things are now very different. Her sister Zo, who had never been part of her group before, has taken over her position as the leader of her friends, and her best friends treat her as though they don't know her. Even her boyfriend Walker avoids her whenever possible. She tries to explain that even though she has a new body she is the same Lia that she always was, but none of her friends are able to accept this. After an incident at a party in which her friends believe a lie about her, Lia finds herself shunned by almost everyone she knows, including her best friends and Walker.

One day a month later, Lia's artificial body freezes in mid-step while she is walking to class as a result of her not taking proper care of herself. Many of her classmates, including her former friends, gather around and make fun of her, but a boy named Auden Heller rescues her and carries her to the school infirmary. Auden is himself an outcast and is someone Lia would have had nothing to do with in her previous life. He is the only person at school who is willing to accept Lia for what she is, and he and Lia soon become friends. Auden and Lia experiment and try to find things that will make Lia feel something intensely; although their experiments are unsuccessful, Lia finds herself depending on Auden more and more as he is the only friend she has left.

Lia is introduced to a group of other people who have received the download procedure by someone that she met at BioTech. The members of the group call themselves "mechs" and are led by Jude, who had been one of the first download recipients several years before when the procedure was still experimental. Unlike what Lia has been trying to do, the mechs have no interest in fitting into "org" (organic) society. Jude tells Lia that until she stops pretending that she is still human and embraces the fact that she is a machine, she will never realize her full potential.

Lia and Auden go with the mechs on a pair of trips. The first trip is to a waterfall which several of the mechs jump off to feel the intense sensation; although the fall would kill a human, it will not harm a mech. The second trip is to a city, where one of the mechs allows himself to be shot by a city-dweller because he enjoys the pain and violence. Although Lia thinks that the mechs are crazy and reckless, she is also fascinated by what their experiences must feel like and finds herself secretly wanting to experience those intense feelings herself.

After a fight in which she learns that her sister Zo does not believe that Lia is really her sister and that even her father is sorry that he didn't let her die, Lia returns to the waterfall and sends Auden a message to join her. She jumps off the waterfall before Auden gets there and allows herself to sink to the bottom where she stays for a while, enjoying the peace. When she surfaces she sees that Auden has arrived and that, although it is unnecessary, he has jumped into the river to save her. Auden stays in the freezing water too long and the current carries him over another waterfall before Lia can reach him.

At the hospital, Auden tells Lia that he is crippled from the neck down as the result of a severed spine, and that an anomaly in his brain makes him ineligible for the download procedure. He blames Lia for his injuries, and tells her to leave and never come back. With her final link to the human world now gone, Lia decides to join the mechs and truly begin to explore what she has become.

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