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Counterfeit Son Paperback – Bargain Price, January 18, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Graphia; Reprint edition (January 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547258534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547258539
  • ASIN: B009F72XVI
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,605,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After suffering at his father s hands, as well as being locked in the cellar while his father beat to death more than 20 boys over the years, Cameron sees a chance at normal life by passing himself off as one of his fathers murder victims. PW wrote, Readers will be enthralled by the suspenseful plot. Ages 12-up. (July)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8-10-A gripping but not altogether convincing psychological thriller. Cameron Miller's father was a serial killer who preyed on young boys; when he dies in a police shoot-out, Cameron takes on the identity of Neil Lacey, one of his father's victims who was abducted and supposedly murdered six years earlier. The Lacey family accepts "Neil" into their home with few questions, but he lives in fear that old dental records and a suspicious police officer will expose his lies. Finally, when someone from Cameron's past threatens his new family, the 14-year-old must decide whether to tell his "parents" the truth. The engaging premise will keep readers on the edge of their seats, though some of the plot points strain credibility. For example, the story depends on the fact that the parents refuse a DNA test to prove the boy's identity. The novel deals with the years of sexual and physical abuse that Cameron endured at the hands of his father, but only on a surface level and never in graphic detail. Many of the interactions between Cameron and his new family are quite moving, especially in the scenes where he expects punishment and finds kindness and love instead. Counterfeit Son ends with a clever twist that should surprise readers and leave them well satisfied with this solidly written, fast-paced read.
Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Elaine Marie Alphin knew she was going to be a writer before she could even read or write. On early morning walks with her father in San Francisco, she listened to the stories he told, and made up stories to tell him, and she realized then that she wanted to spend her life making up stories. Winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Young Adult Mystery (Counterfeit Son), the ForeWard Book of the Year Award for Young Adult Fiction (The Perfect Shot), the Society of Midland Authors Children's Fiction Award and Young Hoosier Book Award (Ghost Soldier, also an Edgar Award nominee), the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award (Dinosaur Hunter), two Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators Magazine Merit Awards, and the Virginia State Reading Association Award (The Ghost Cadet), Mrs. Alphin has made writing for children and young adults, and speaking to them at schools and conferences, her dream career. Although she started out as a journalist in Houston, a tip from her husband, Art, drew her to writing for children. Her fiction and nonfiction books for youngsters from beginning readers through teenagers have been selected for Bank Street College lists, TAYSHAS lists, VOYA Top Shelf lists, and 20 Children's Choice state award lists. Although adults occasionally ask when she's going to grow up enough to write for them, Elaine Marie Alphin explains why she loves writing for young readers instead: "I always wanted my writing to challenge readers to question their assumptions, and I discovered that a lot of grown-ups don't really want to question their assumptions. They've made choices and compromises in their lives, and they want to feel comfortable about them. But young readers are still finding out who they are, like I am, I guess. They're the perfect audience for me because they want to consider new ideas in order to decide for themselves which ideas they agree with and which they don't, and work out how they want to live their lives." Elaine Marie Alphin has written one book for adults: Creating Characters Kids Will Love. It's about writing for young readers. Get to know Elaine Marie Alphin better at her website: The Alphins live in Bozeman, Montana, and spend time in South Dakota and Wyoming.

Customer Reviews

He tries to change who he is to be more like Neil Lacey.
Christina Sanchez
This is an amazing book - the story, the detail, and the events are written so well that this book is impossible to stop reading once the reader starts it.
This book has many, many unsuspected twists and turns, and an ending that will blow your mind.
Team LitPick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Meaghan on October 27, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Cameron Miller's father is a sadistic serial killer. He deeply enjoys beating and sexually abusing his son, and when he tires of this he kidnaps a boy and locks Cameron in the cellar, and Cameron has to listen to the victim until the screaming stops. This is his life; he knows no other. He can't remember much of his childhood, but seems to think that it's perfectly normal to be abused in such a fashion. Cameron survives by being totally obedient. He does whatever his father says. The reason the boys die is because they won't obey. Cameron notes that one boy who came did obey, and lived for three weeks, but went berserk and started screaming and throwing things, and Cameron's dad had to kill him.
Cameron gets a lucky break when his father is killed in a police shootout. He goes through his father's newspaper files on all the victims and decides to try to pass himself off as one of them, a boy named Neil Lacey. He picked Neil because he bore a strong resemblance to the boy, and because he knew Neil's family was wealthy (though another victim had been even wealthier) and had sailboats. Neil's parents immediately embraced him, but Neil's younger sister and the police detective in charge of the case were suspicious. Nevertheless, Cameron thought he could pull it off -- until one of his father's criminal associates showed up and started blackmailing him, and threatening to kidnap Neil's younger brother.
If it wasn't for the ending, I would have really liked this book. The ending is not quite so bad as in Terry Trueman's "Stuck in Neutral" but it certainly makes the book lose credibility. I'm not going to say what the ending is, except that Cameron Miller knows way more about how to sail a yacht than he should. Nonetheless, I would recommend this book, perhaps as a companion to Catherine Atkins's "When Jeff Comes Home".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alesha N. Gates on April 26, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a middle school teacher, I selected this book for my more *reluctant* male readers. The characters and their struggles seem real, and teenage boys could identify with Cameron. The author also treats Cameron's abuse in a manner that can be digested by young readers - it is apparent that bad things have happened to Cameron, but nothing is explicitly depicted.

In a market floodly by teen fiction primarily geared toward young girls, most of the offerings for young men are sports related or special interest. *Counterfeit Son* is that rare exception that appeals to young male readers without the heavy sports emphasis. 95% of the guys like it, from the football team to the marching band.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By amhamgraham on March 16, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am an 18 year old senior in high school. I never really enjoyed reading until I found some pretty interesting books. I didn't know they existed! Counterfeit Son was a great book. It kept my attention the whole time and had a crazy ending. I love suspense. This story is about a little boy who believes he is the son of a serial killer. His "father" has killed over 20 boys, and buries them in his cellar.

When the boy is bad, he throws him in the cellar to be with the bodies. The man gets killed in a police shoot out and that is the boy's opportunity at freedom. He has read up on one of the boys, Neil Lacey, and found a way into the Lacey's family pretending to be their long lost son. A suspicious detective does not believe that the boy is really Neil Lacey, nor does his sister Diana.

Cameron feels totally comfortable with his new family until the day his father's accomplice is released from prison. He comes back and finds Cameron and threatens to kill him or take his little brother if he is not paid off. The ending is full of twists and turns, and it's definitely a page turner. If you like books that keep you guessing, than this is the book for you! It goes from being scared and feeling all alone to being loved and loving.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By fshepinc on August 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Elaine Marie Alphin takes her readers on a realistic journey inside the mind of a child who has suffered horrible abuse at the hands of a pedophillic serial killer. Not the stuff for young adult readers? In other hands, perhaps not. But Mrs. Alphin skillfully keeps the reader's focus on her characters, rather than the horrors of their past. This is a story of survival and courage that is both disturbing and triumphant. A can't-put-it-down read that will be controversial and very, very popular with young adult readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wes McGinnis on April 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In this book, Counterfeit Son by Elaine Marie Alphin, the reader is given a very detailed introduction into the life of the main character that we first know as Cameron Miller. As the novel progresses we see that Cameron is in an abusive house and other than just being abused himself, his father kidnaps children from the area where they live and takes them home to beat them as well. The author gets us right inside the mind of Cameron and shows us the obvious mental strain that he has on his mind because of not being able to attend school normally (he's asked about his bruises, etc.), having to come home to be tortured by what is supposed to be his support system, and then on top of it all, to have to bear hearing other kids his age be harmed and/or killed. All of those things are shown ripping Cameron up and right when you think that is going to go on forever, his dad is killed in a stakeout. Now, Cameron, confused and wanting to get away from the abnormal existence he has supposedly had for forever, decides to take up the identity of Neill Lacey and even under the identity of Neill we are still given an extraordinary depth to his character. Overall, though Counterfeit Son has very well developed characterization in the form of Cameron Miller/Neill Lacey, we are not given that strong of a plot, and the characterization seems to slow the story down quite a bit at times.
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