Under My Skin
Publication: April 12, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Bookish Brit Adam Gibson is one wonky heartbeat away from a fatal arrhythmia. But staying alive requires Adam to become keenly focused on both his pulse and the many different daily medications he must take in exactly the right dosages. Adam’s torn between wanting to live and knowing that someone else must die in order for him to do so. He needs a new heart.
The pressure is getting to him. Adam stops talking to his friends back home, refuses to meet kids at his new school, and shuts his parents out entirely. His days are spent wondering if can cope with having a dead man’s heart beating inside his chest, or if he should surrender to the thoughts of suicide swirling around in his head.
And then a donor is found…
Outspoken artist Darby Fox rarely lets anything stand in her way of achieving her goals . Whether it’s painting, ignoring her homework (dyslexia makes a mess out of words anyway), kissing a hot boy she doesn’t even know, or taking the head cheerleader down a peg , no one has ever accused Darby of being a shy. She also happens to be the twin sister to a perfect brother with good looks, good grades, manners, and the approval of their parents – something Darby has never had.
Darby’s always had bad timing . She picks the worst time to argue with her brother Daniel. In a car with bald tires, on an icy road in the freezing cold, the unthinkable happens. In a split-second, everything changes forever.
ADAM:Best to get it over with now. I type: I had the thought today.
I click send.
For a few seconds, I watch the screen, waiting for her to reply. I can’t expect Dr. Shaw to be right there to answer me. She’s probably in session with someone.
A group of students pass by, chattering and laughing, light at bubbles. They halt at the curb to wait for the light to change. They’re all wearing NYU sweatshirts and carrying messenger bags or laptops with silkscreen logos about “being green” and “tolerant of diversity.” Adventurers embarking on the quest known as Life. What it must be like to have a whole lifetime to look forward to, no dead end staring back at you.
My mobile buzzes.
It’s Dr. Shaw. Tell me the exact thought and context.
I had a flutter. After, I saw Mum and Dad. Their backs were turned to me and I thought: They’d be happier without me. They’ll be fine after I’m dead. I click send and try to ignore the gnawing pit in my stomach. My message seems dramatic now that I’ve sent it off for her to scrutinize. It was better left unsaid.
A bubble with three dots surfaces at the bottom of my screen. She’s typing right now. I suck in a dry, exhaust laden breath.
She replies: What evidence do you have that they’ll be happy?
That was simple. They were laughing.
Your death will be devastating to them.
My heart twinges a bit. Will be? Does she somehow know I won’t make it until I find a donor? Maybe the surgeon told her I’m not a candidate. I blink and re-read her statement. No, I’m over-reacting. She’s just countering my argument with logic. It’s her style to challenge me with the opposite idea so I’ll find the reality somewhere between. Still, I’m not ready to admit she’s right. Mum and Dad don’t need me dragging them down. I text, Yes, but they’ll be alright.
Of course they will. Life goes on.
Dr. Shaw is unrelenting in her approach. So different from Mum who tries to comfort me with delusional happy thoughts.
Right. And I’m such a burden on them now.
Whatever you think they’re sacrificing is nothing compared to how much you mean to them.
I’m tired of waiting for my heart to stop.
Do you want it to stop? You won’t suffer anymore.