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on 19 July 2013
Dean is being bullied at school and his bully has set him the challenge of having a date with the school freak. Stephanie has a badly scared face and other pupils poke fun at her. Dean asks her out in the hope that the bullying will stop if Stephanie agrees to a date. Stephanie gives Dean a keen and wanting look as she is normally ignored by all the other boys.

Underneath is a short story of just 205 KB and was written in 2010. It is a quirky read all the way to the end and it is rather refreshing. Dean is apprehensive about going on his first date but is spurred on by the look in Stephanie's eyes. I developed a lot of empathy for both characters and wondered where this novella was going.

There is a lot of intrigue in this story which addresses a lot of social issues. Underneath is not just about the menace of bullying but also about how people judge others only by what is on the surface rather than what is underneath. People's surface can hide both sadness and joy.

Underneath is a good read and I vote it 4 stars. There is a twist at the end and this novella has a strong social message to take away with you.
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on 11 January 2013
I downloaded this some time ago when it was free. When I came across it on my Kindle the other day I read a snippet and was intrigued, so I read the whole thing.

A teenage boy is being badly bullied. His tormentor offers him a way out, ask out Stephanie, a classmate who was badly burned in a fire and is cruelly seen as a 'freak', and he'll be free. So he does only to find that as he begins to see 'underneath' the scars he sees someone he could like. Unfortunately things don't go smoothly and soon he has to deal with the fall-out.

The thing I liked about this story was the hook, the idea that someone might find out that beauty is more than outward appearances. A bit predictable but still with potential. What I liked less was the way the author used some powerful elements (sex, violence, death, mental illness) in a casual way that felt like it was more for effect than story. It felt like a teenager waving around a gun in order to impress his friends. However where I felt it really went wrong was the ending. Obviously I won't give it away but it felt like it undermined the logic of the earlier part of the story and made me lose sympathy with the characters.
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on 27 February 2012
A short story about the importance of not reading a book by it's cover with an interesting look at the darkness of the human character.

First off I'll do my usual warning - this is a short story and it took me just one sitting to read (I really think Amazon need to say roughly how long the book is in page numbers with a standard kindle font on product descriptions as file size could mean anything!) The story itself is an interesting one but I feel that it could have easily have been stretched out a little more especially towards the end where everything just ends up feeling rushed. The book is also quite a disturbing and dark read - which isn't a bad thing of course but just requires a certain reading mood to get into.

The characters were interesting and the plot was nice with a good twist and dark themes - I would recommend this book but only while it is still free because of it's length, typos and sense of being a bit too rushed.

*Got for free on Amazon Kindle*
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on 20 November 2011
This an open eyed look at high school life and the repercussions of the social interactions within its walls. A so called popular dares the main character to ask the ugliest girl in school on a date, if he doesn't he will be beaten, again. The events that take place on that date are a mirror into the soul of our future generations. The majority of them too scared to lift a hand to help others and ruled by the minority of bullies, because the upper echelon, who are safe in their ivory towers, choose to let the minority of miscreants rule the streets. The main character is overtaken by guilt about his own inability to act or react and that sets the stage for the ending, which is again a reflection of the cruelty of the times we live in. I like the way this off the wall writer thinks.
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on 6 June 2015
Quick read - but don't bother! Partly my fault for downloading a short story (I don't usually, because I don't like them). Not sure that there was anything about this story to make it worth reading. It started off OK - boy pressurised into asking a girl out - but went downhill rapidly from there. None of the characters appealed to me, so my recommendation is to avoid this book.
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on 4 August 2012
I was enjoying this short story for a good chunk of it, but the ending really annoyed me. The more I thought about it, the more I disliked the ending, and that is why this has only got a 2 star rating and not higher.

Yes the main character is a bit weak, but ultimately he tries to the right thing, and loses out. The aftermath of the "event" is harsh, and the characters didn't work for me.

It's probably worth a read, as it doesn't take much time, but morally the book is a bit messed up.

2.5/5 stars
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on 5 September 2017
I read lots of different books so dont want recommended plus don't like this poppin up all the time. Please stop
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on 24 September 2011
This is a very short story; based around teenage angst. Boy meets girl, falls for her, but then something goes wrong. It's easy to read, the plot is fairly straight forward; although there is a twist at the end.

I enjoyed it and it's the sort of thing that could fill a few minutes when waiting for a train or plane. However, I note that it's no longer a freebie; I'm not sure that I think it is worth the price shown.
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on 21 November 2013
As short stories go, this is one of the better ones. A little graphic and uncomfortable in places but if you can get past that it's a decent read. I'm not totally convinced that the twist at the end was necessary ... don't get me wrong it worked in relation to the story ... but the ending could possibly have been better without it.
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on 19 May 2012
I've read a lot of Keanlan Patrick's books on Kindle, and always thoroughly enjoy them. This one is very good, about an unfortunate disfigured girl, who no one in the school would want to go out with, except for a dare, or in this case, Dean, is bullied into asking her out with dire consequences. It's a believable situation, with a good twist at the end.
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