From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Identical teen twins Kaeleigh and Raeanne share a picture-perfect California life that is rank with dark, dangerous secrets under its surface. Their mother, who is running for Congress, leaves them at home with their father, a district court judge who is addicted to liquor and OxyContin. Daddy regularly molests Kaeleigh, using her as a stand-in for his absentee wife, and controls every aspect of her life. Raeanne sees every detail and reacts to her father's favoritism by acting out sexually and getting high on pot whenever possible. Written in free verse from alternating viewpoints, Identical
tells the twins' story in intimate and often-graphic detail. Hopkins packs in multiple issues including eating disorders, drug abuse, date rape, alcoholism, sexual abuse, and self-mutilation as she examines a family that "puts the dys in dysfunction." The tension builds slowly and subtly, erupting in a shattering climax of psychological disintegration and breakthrough that reveals the truth about the twins and their father's own childhood secrets. Gritty and compelling, this is not a comfortable read, but its keen insights make it hard to put down.—Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
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Identical twins Kaeleigh and Raeanne alternate their stories in this tale of family secrets and self-destructive behavior. Their campaigning-politician mother is largely absent from their lives, and their father, a renowned judge, sexually abuses Kaeleigh and ignores Raeanne. The twins fight their demons in various destructive ways, including drug and alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, and eating disorders. Flanagan reads the parts of both girls—a great choice for identical twins who appear as mirror images of one another. Raeanne’s jaded, harsh tones are in stark contrast to Kaeleigh’s dreamy little-girl voice. The free-verse construction of the novel is especially suited to audio, with Flanagan bringing forth the drama and timing of the poems. Though the content of the book—especially scenes of incest—makes for uncomfortable listening, this is a powerful interpretation of an emotional story. Grades 9-12. --Heather Booth
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