12/12 Bumping this up a star- it's stayed with me, whole, all the time since I read it. I think about Skint a lot. No, really. A lot. 8/12 Disclaimer first: I am friends with the author of this remarkable book, though I flatter myself that I'm reasonably objective nonetheless.Wow, this book packs an emotional wallop that left me reeling. Despite it being written in present tense (which I loathe, almost always) it drew me in and made me care so much about Skint & Dinah and their lives that I was reluctant to get to the end. The story is almost breathlessly told (perhaps the present tense adds to that feeling) and one is swept along panting. There is one mini-chapter told from the perspective of Dinah's baby brother that is one of the most delightful vignettes I've ever read, but the bulk of the story is fraught with peril, with emotional weight, with subtexts and undercurrents. More than a solid first effort, this is a damn fine book.