The Skin I'm In

December 4, 2008
By Leah Westendorf, Chapel Hill, NC

In present day at McClayton Middle School, Maleeka, a young girl goes through the pressure of fitting in. She also goes through being teased about the shade of her skin. Maleeka’s strive to do her best, to fit in, to ignore bullies, and to deal with Caleb, a boy who is in love with Maleeka.
Maleeka is a bright girl. However she does not always know who her true friends are. Through the book The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake Maleeka goes through the good times and bad in a journey to find who her real friends are, and how to stand up for herself. Her attitude in the beginning made me think of other people out in the world who struggle with self esteem, and trusting their friends. Maleeka faces life changing obstacles during the book and has to make the right decisions. Maleeka was able to change during the book and learn who her real friends were. A big part of Maleeka’s change was apart of the encouragement from a new teacher to the school, Miss Saunders. Miss Saunders has a rare skin condition on her face that people used to, and still annoy her about. On the first day of class she explains to her students how she does not care what people think of her face. Miss Saunders says, “My face says I’m smart. Sassy. Sexy. Self confident. It says I’m caring and, yes, even a little cold sometimes.” She shows Maleeka that she can too be confident with the skin she’s in.
Maleeka's story is truly inspiring to me. Her decisions are not always the best, but I think that’s what life is all about: learning from your mistakes. Anyone girl who struggles with same issues Maleeka does would enjoy this book. I hope her story is as inspiring to you as it was for me.

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