I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself

I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself by Marisa Crane (they/she) is an incisive portrayal of one family trying to survive the clutches of a government that resembles Big Brother.


Set in the near future, the government has found a new way to deal with crime. Instead of incarcerating people, the government dispenses extra shadows for each infraction of the law. It’s a very right-wing leaning government that offers scant civil rights to offenders, or as they’re known in this world: shadesters.

Kris and her newborn daughter, whom she calls the kid, both have a second shadow. Kris’s wife Beau died in childbirth, leaving Kris to grapple with the grief of losing her while finding joy in raising their daughter.

Review of I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself

There’s not much of a plot in this novel; it’s more character-driven. It follows this family and their close friends as the kid grows up and starts questioning the injustices of this world. The narrative voice is slightly unusual, in the second person, with Kris talking directly to Beau.

There are no distinct chapters, but there are frequent breaks in the text.

Even though this novel deals with darker themes, like loss, grief, and shame, it also balances the story with humour and joy. The writing style is both accessible and insightful. It’s deceptively simple yet packs a big punch.

Initially, I struggled with this book’s lack of a plot, but once I decided to read a few sections at a time, I appreciated it a lot more.

So, if you enjoy speculative fiction, I highly recommend giving this debut author a try.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Expected Publication: 17 January 2023

Thank you to Catapult for providing an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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