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Children's Fiction General

The Secret Under My Skin

by (author) Janet McNaughton

Initial publish date
Jul 2001
General, Fantasy & Magic
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2001
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 14
  • Grade: 5 to 8


Published to impressive reviews and much media and reader interest, Janet McNaughton’s newest novel is an intriguing and intelligent tale set in 2368. This is the story of Blay Raytee, a young girl enslaved in a government workcamp. Blay is suddenly plucked from her bleak life to serve as tutor to the arrogant Marrella, who is supposed to use her environmental sensitivities to monitor the destroyed ecosystem. Thrust into a completely different world, Blay learns shocking secrets about her environment—and herself.

In this brilliant story of transformation, a young girl learns to believe in her mind and in her heart. The Secret Under My Skin is one of the most remarkable YA novels to appear in recent memory.

“McNaughton blends the warmth of Blay’s emotional growth and new love with the excitement of her learning and brings about, in a rare achievement, a young adult novel where natural history and poetry come hand in hand…. This is an exciting and unusual novel, in both its conceits and execution.”—The Toronto Star

“This is Janet McNaughton’s third brilliant book…The range of themes and ideas in this novel is impressive. Not only is the story a cliffhanger, but Janet McNaughton makes no concession about her readers’ abilities. The complexity of power struggles, as well as some excellent revelatory writing about the formation of the Tablelands, demonstrate that the time for tiresome formulas for YA reading has passed.”—Atlantic Books Today

About the author

Janet McNaughton was fifteen when she began to write her first book - a historical novel for young readers. She did not finish it, but did learn she loved finding out how people lived and thought in the past. This led her to study folklore in university and eventually brought her to Newfoundland. After completing a Ph.D in Folklore, she returned to her first love, writing for young readers.
Ms. McGrath is the winner of the Violet Downey National Chapter of the IODE Book Award (best Canadian English Language Children's Book), Ann Conner Brimer Award for Children's Literature in Atlantic Canada, and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People. She has also been short-listed for the Mr. Christie Book Award, the Blue Heron Book Award and the CLA Young Adult Book Award. Most recently she has been nominated for the 1998 Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature, 1998 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction and the 1998 Red Maple Reading Award.
Janet also reviews books for Quill & Quire and Atlantic Books Today. She has also contributed to Canadian Bookseller, Books in Canada, and Canadian Author. Janet writes essays for adult literacy education and sometimes does radio commentary. She currently resides in St. John's with her husband and daughter.

Janet McNaughton's profile page

Other titles by Janet McNaughton