Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This fantasy book is the first in the "A Resurrection of Magic" series by Kathleen Duey and is published by Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division.

Skin Hunger is written for kids ages 13 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Two plots alternate in this novel. In the first, Sadima hides how she can silently talk to animals because magic is banned in her world. Because Franklin understands her, Sadima is drawn to him. But this attraction yields an unwanted acquaintance with Somiss, a nobleman who is focused on restoring all magic and who is Franklin's master. To remain by Franklin's side, Sadima serves Somiss, until she finds that he has caged and hidden boys in a cave. Franklin believes that he is the only thing that stands between Somiss and those boys' deaths. Sadima realizes that she will kill Somiss before she lets him hurt one of those children. She also realizes that she is in love with Franklin, a man who can never fully love her in return.

In the second plot, the unwanted second son of a merchant, Hahp, lives in a land where magic is permitted but only taught at one academy. His uncaring father and obedient mother dropped him off at this academy. Hahp is given a peasant boy, Gerrard, as a roommate, and the two, along with eight other rich young men, compete to be the one who will graduate and survive. In this academy, Somiss and Franklin are their teachers, which implies that this story takes place at a later time than the first plot line, when magic has been restored. The boys must use magic to eat and recite magic chants perfectly or die of starvation. They also must use it to save themselves from predicaments that test their abilities, such as poisonous snakes. Because of those who die, Hahp grows in his hatred of Somiss and the others who run the academy. Both storylines reach a resting point but not a stopping point. It is assumed they will continue in the next book.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

The Eridians, a race of people, believe that the mind and what people work for belong to everyone.

There is a stone circle in the area where Sadima grows up that supposedly had people living there who could fly and do other magical things at one time. Magic is outlawed, so Sadima hides the fact that she can hear the thoughts of animals. She is able to return strength to a doe that has been injured and believes that if people were to understand the hearts of animals, they would be kinder as a race because animals are honest. Franklin is able to tell people's fortunes. Sadima sings the song of a long life over Franklin.

Hahp's father has purchased magic for everything about his business and home — good weather for his ships, good plumbing for his house, etc. In Hahp's day, magic is allowed for the upper class, and society allows magic to be taught in an academy of wizards. Wizards teach the boys to use their magic to move inside their minds and to conjure food. Those who can't create their own food eventually die. The boys becoming wizards watch their classmates slowly die of starvation and are forbidden to help them. They do not question the rules but let each other die. The boys are asked to meditate so that they can move their thoughts around their body. Anger is thought to be a good emotion to use to do this. Hahp finds peace after realizing that he wants to go home and kill his father. Hahp searches for a snake's thoughts throughout its body. When Hahp is able to tell the snake that he means the creature no harm, the snake responds and leaves him alone.

Authority Roles

Franklin's family sold him as a youth to Somiss' father. From that sale, Franklin's family was able to eat well for five winters. Somiss' father hates his son (Somiss). Somiss' family consisted of businessmen, and Somiss was a scholar, which is the reason his father hated him.

Hahp's father has no need for him because Hahp's oldest brother excels at everything. Therefore, his father is willing to send him to an academy run by wizards. He knows that the class in which Hahp starts with 10 other boys will have only one graduate. The intimation is that everyone else will die. Hahp's mother cares for him, but she tries to keep the peace and does anything she can to keep from angering his father. Celia, his family's cook, always treated Hahp well and made him feel safe, but he suspects that there is more between her and his father's relationship than they acknowledge. Hahp hates his father. When his parents leave him at the academy, they do not turn to wish him goodbye. The wizards mistreat the boys. Their actions cause Hahp and Gerrard, and probably the other boys, to violently hate their teachers. Hahp reaches the point where he doesn't care if he runs away or dies.


Forms of crap, p--- and s--- are used often. Other words such as stupid, a--, manure, b--tard, and f---ing also appear, but not as often. Levin's roommate curses, but no words are mentioned. When Franklin asks the boys to move their thoughts throughout their bodies, Hahp finds it amusing that Franklin doesn't ask them to move thoughts to their private areas.

A paragraph describes the blood that is all around Sadima's mother's room after a magician is unable to save her mother's life at Sadima's birth. Sadima's brother kills a rat to save her, but she is angry with him because she was communicating with the animal. If Sadima says the wrong thing in her home, her father slaps her and then goes into a depressive state. Beggar children are hungry enough to kill Sadima if they notice she has food. Gypsies kidnap children to raise as slaves. A child's mouth is bleeding as he flees from Somiss. Sadima sees marks on Franklin's back as if he had been dragged across cobblestones. When Sadima strikes Franklin, he does not respond, and she realizes that he is used to this kind of treatment. Franklin realizes that he should have killed Somiss when they were kids, but he couldn't do it. If Somiss touches the boys in the cages, Sadima says she will kill Somiss. Somiss' apartment is set on fire. The carriage that Sadima and others are in tips as they try to escape an angry mob.

The shopkeepers' dogs, which were never fed enough, would be allowed to converge on the boardwalk and attack the beggars. Hahp's mother did not stick up for Hahp because she could tell that his father was about to go into one of his rages. After running on stones in bare feet, Hahp's feet are bloodied. Ants attack Hahp during one of his tests. Only Jux, a wizard, saves him. Food is withheld from the boys until they can perfectly recite magical songs.


Franklin and Sadima kiss quite a few times, but most are quick. While learning to quiet himself, Hahp learns that his mother's anger stems from his father's affairs with the cook and other pretty servants. Hahp says that sometimes he would touch himself, which implies masturbation. The boys who might become wizards must take a vow of celibacy.

Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • How does Sadima lie to cover her communication with the wolf?
  • Why doesn't she want to tell her family about her abilities?
  • Is there an area of your life that you don't feel you can tell your family about?
  • How does having to hide those thoughts and feelings make you feel?

  • What does Hahp consider doing before reaching the academy of wizards?

  • In what ways does he contemplate killing himself?
  • What does he think of himself for not being able to kill himself?
  • Is this also your definition of a coward?
  • Does it take more courage to live or die? Explain.

  • Why does Sadima wish people would be able to truly understand animals?

  • What does she say that animals are and people are not?
  • What does she mean when she says animals are honest?
  • Through their thoughts, how are animals seen as higher, lower or equal to humans?

  • Why did Micah have to steal milk money to buy Sadima paints?

  • Why couldn't he let his father know what he was doing?

  • How did Hahp feel about having to get undressed in front of the other boys?

  • How did the burning of his clothing end his connection to life outside the academy?
  • How did finding new clothes begin his life at the academy?

  • Why were the boys at the academy forbidden to help each other?

  • Who does Hahp hate?

  • Why does he hate his father?
  • Why does he hate Gerrard at one point?
  • Why does he hate the wizards?
  • Why does he hate himself?
  • What kind of life has Hahp led that has made him hate so many so quickly?
  • Do you hate anything?
  • How can God help you with this area?

  • Why does Sadima lie to Franklin about the extra copy she makes?

  • What does Somiss do with the songs that she copies?
  • How does Sadima feel about lying?
  • Why do you think she does it anyway?

Additional Comments/Notes

Sadima helps a doe birth four kids. The book tells about the placenta and how Sadima ties off an umbilical cord. Hahp mentions how his private parts rubs against the rough cloth he is wearing, and the author describes the boys urinating and squatting over a bedpan.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

13 and up




Kathleen Duey






Record Label



Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division


On Video

Year Published



National Book Finalist 2008


We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!