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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Double Helix Hardcover – March 30, 2004

3.8 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up--Eighteen-year-old Eli Samuels, whose once-vibrant mother is losing her long battle with the ravages of Huntington's disease, is hired at the Wyatt Transgenics Lab. Eli's father is dead set against the job because of a secret he harbors concerning the lab's owner, Dr. Quincy Wyatt, and Eli's mother. Shortly after starting work, the teen meets Kayla Matheson, a beautiful girl who eerily reminds him of a photo of his mother when she was young. Slowly, Eli uncovers one layer after another of the shocking truth about Dr. Wyatt's genetic-engineering experiments and their connection to his parents, Kayla, and himself. With the support of his longtime girlfriend and soul mate, he confronts Dr. Wyatt in a taut climax to the story. Werlin clearly and dramatically raises fundamental bioethical issues for teens to ponder. She also creates a riveting story with sharply etched characters and complex relationships that will stick with readers long after the book is closed. An essential purchase for YA collections.--Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 9-12. With Killer's Cousin (1998), Black Mirror (2001), and now this exciting book to her credit, Werlin has proved herself to be one of the best youth thriller writers working today. Her plotting here is a little creaky, as it has been in past books, but she is a master at building suspense and creating the sort of clever manipulations that keep readers eagerly turning the pages. This time, Werlin delivers more than just a solid thriller-cum-growing-up story. She offers a thoughtful consideration of genetic engineering and takes a stand, but not at the expense of an intriguing mystery. Eli Samuels, 18, can't get close--not to his caring but preoccupied dad; not to his smart, generous girlfriend, Viv; and certainly not to his mother, who has been institutionalized for years with a devastating midlife degenerative disease, the gene for which Eli may carry. Confused, heartsick, unable to get the answers he seeks from Dad, and needing time to think about his life, Eli decides to forgo college and, despite his father's unexpectedly vehement disapproval, takes a job at Wyatt Transgenetics, where he receives a surprisingly warm welcome from world-renowned geneticist Dr. Quincy Wyatt. What's all that about? Readers will be as intrigued as Eli, who discovers more than he ever bargained for. A solidly crafted, thoughtful novel featuring a clever, obsessed kid who finds truths, small and large, about life, family, and, of course, himself. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Lexile Measure: HL690L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; First Edition edition (March 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803726066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803726062
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,099,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nancy Werlin has written 9 young adult novels, including New York Times-bestselling fantasy (Impossible), Edgar-award winning suspense (The Killer's Cousin), and National Book Award-honored realistic fiction (The Rules of Survival). Her newest book is Unthinkable, a companion novel to the fantasies Impossible and Extraordinary. Nancy grew up in Peabody, Massachusetts, received her bachelor's degree in English from Yale, and now lives with her husband near Boston.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The setting is in present time. It is a science fiction book that deals with cloning and DNA manipulation. The suspense keeps the story moving throughout the book. Eli is an 18 year old who doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. By chance a famed scientist Dr. Wyatt took interest in Eli and gave him a good job. A job that his father is abosolutly agianst Eli in taking. What ever the reason Eli's father doesn't want him taking the job, it is to painful for him to speak about. Eli thinks that there is some connection between Dr. Wyatt and his family and wants some answers. This is an excellent book to read and I would suggest everybody who would like a good read to read this book. This would definatly one of the best books I've ever read.
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Format: Hardcover
This novel has a remarkably unlikable and immature main character who is simultaneously self-deprecating and self-centered, with pacing to rival the consistency of old chewing gum (if the passages, did I say passages? I mean chapters, of nothing more than Eli's angsty, redundant brooding about how his girlfriend should trust him blindly and just do as he says and that she's too much of a pain because she doesn't do that or how he wants to punch his father in the face because he is negative for Huntington's Disease, if these were to be cut, the book would only be 100 pages of shallow plot whereas now it's 250 pages of shallow plot and shallow boy.)

I kept reading because I wanted to find out about the genetic engineering hinted at just to find a sloppy, unresolved, unsatisfying cop out of an ending that makes not a smidgen of sense and to demonstrate how little sense it makes, here's a *spoiler alert*(The climax of the book is more or less that suddenly a child wants to kill its father for giving it a wonderful, happy life, but also accidentally giving it a degenerative genetic disease that sets on in middle age.)*spoiler ends* Unfortunately it took getting through 98% of the painfully bad writing in order to realize that the whole novel is not so much a novel as a badly constructed sermon against genetic engineering. All intelligent questions that were raised went unexamined and were swept under the table in favor of emotional reactions that were gruesomely hypocritical. I wouldn't even have had a problem with the book's message had it been well-written and well-argued, ... but alas it wasn't. It was an adverb-riddled, overly repetitive, dull waste of time without so much as imagery or maybe humor to redeem it.
1 Comment 6 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Um. I really liked the idea of this book, and when I started it I had very high hopes for it. The idea of a boy with an interest in genetics that's somehow connected to his past sounded so original compared to the slews of books that conform perfectly to the stereotypical demands of their respective genres (for example, the sword-and-magic-wielding fantasy hero who grew up on some country farm, or the teenager trying to get over the death of a parent and find who he/she truly is in the process) that I thought it had to be good. I was devastated when I turned out to be wrong.

I still have to give the author credit for the idea. I think it's really cool, and it's a good way (or so it seemed) to get kids interested in science. So I've decided to dedicate my first section to the various flaws in the presentation of that idea. None of them are very big, but their collective strength started to get on my nerves by the middle of the book.

First, the writing. It just had no detail. I couldn't visualize any of the characters; I knew that Eli was very tall, and Viv was very short, but nothing else. The lack of description made the story feel like a ghost world, without any reality or definition.

Second, the characters themselves. Like the descriptions, they had no depth. Maybe Eli was smart, a little cocky, too, but what else was he? None of his actions showed any personality. They were all just the expected reactions of an eighteen-year-old boy to a given situation.

Third, the plot. It moved more quickly than it should have, and it didn't fit together very well. The event at the end with Kayla and Dr. Wyatt didn't make sense no matter how I looked at it.

And fourth, the sexual references.
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1 Comment 13 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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A Kid's Review on May 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is about an eighteen-year-old boy named Eli and the mystery of his secret past and his job at Wyatt Transgenics where he discovers things about himself.

When I started reading this book, I immediately got sucked into the story. The word choice is phenomenal, and I felt like I was actually there. When I saw the book it just screamed, "Read me!" maybe because I'm into this technology stuff. But, I think anyone from age 13+ will enjoy this book. It has so many different styles in it. Science fiction, romance, suspense, and mystery are all crammed into this one book!

I also like how the title of the book is subtlety slipped into the story. So when you notice it you say, "So that is why it's named Double Helix." Another thing I like is the cover; I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but I do. If the cover doesn't look good I usually won't pick it up off of the shelf.

The whole time I was reading this book it was like nothing else in the world mattered. I just could not put the book down. Out of the many books I have read this is one of the best.
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