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Identical Paperback – December 21, 2010
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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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
For a teenager, the content is mature enough where she feels that she is reading a book geared for older teens but not so much where is be getting her an adult book thanks beyond her maturity level.
This book was excellent. I felt connected to the characters and felt a wide range of emotions while reading. The content of this book was very dark at times. I don't think I would recommend it for many people under the age of sixteen or so. And the twist at the end was a bit shocking, but I do believe it is foreshadowed once you get towards the middle of the book.I love Ellen Hopkins' books because they feature issues that teens really do deal with. They are not cutesy love stories and I commend the author for daring to deal with topics such as alcohol and drug use, sex, self-harm and mental health issues.
Overall, a great read for older teens/adults. I hope my sister will enjoy the book as much as I did! :)
I discovered that the book is written in an unusual manner. It is sort of a free flowing poetry that is almost like a diary or an assignment from an English class in high school. That wasn't working, so I took out the CD's and started listening to them.
I was impressed by the reader, who captured the nuances of the characters quite well. The story flowed more easily than when I tried to read it and I was able to dig in and really get into the story...so much so that I almost missed picking up my wife at the airport terminal.
The story is dark about a family that is quite dysfunctional. There is graphic language, and the content can be rather raw, but there is nothing here that you won't hear or hear about on any high school campus in the country. It is well written, captivating and shines an interesting light on the subjects (incest, cutting, drugs) that it deals with.
I recommend it in audio form, but would have trouble recommending the written form. I'm not sure how many teens would wade through the free flowing verse