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Identical by Ellen Hopkins


by Ellen Hopkins

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When a fatal accident sets off a string of dysfunctional scenarios in the Gardella household, identical twins Kaeleigh and Raeanne cope in their own destructive, abusive ways. Their father is a high-powered judge who has had an awful childhood that he blames on a absent mother and a father who works too much. The twins' mother is a congresswoman who has time for her constituents, but not her own flesh-and-blood.

Raeanne falls into sex, drugs, and promiscuity, while Kaeleigh cuts, binges and purges, and is victim of an incestuous sexual relationship. What has triggered these self-destructive acts are almost beyond comprehension, as we learn just how abusive, sick, and mentally ill the family is.

To say Identical is powerful reading is an understatement. As a reader, you are filled with rage, sorrow, confusion, and unadulterated bewilderment. A must-read? Yes. Will any member of this family be 'saved'?...or is the family too torn apart to be put back together? As with all of Hopkin's books, the story isn't pretty, but the writing is powerful and necessary. ( )
  jackiewark | Jul 9, 2014 |
3Q 4P
Brutal, shocking story about twins Raeanne and Kaigleigh, who are suffering from neglect by their mother and too much of the wrong kind of attention from their father. Some of the descriptions in this novel-in-verse made me very uncomfortable because of the intensity of hurt and emotions the characters experience. The arrangement of text on the page adds another layer of meaning with the shapes and alternate ways of reading each poem. Although I guessed the major plot twist early on, I was still motivated to keep reading and still encountered some surprises. ( )
  C.Davidson | May 11, 2014 |
The premise of this book is fairly common. Teenage problems are dealt with in detail and there are a number that are mentioned in this book. The book is written in verse which is common for this author.

I started by finding this way of writing very refreshing. As the book progressed however I hoped for more in-depth prose. Even though this book is shorter than some with written word you find that you still get to know the characters well. The story was engaging and the twist was excellent at the end of the book.

I enjoyed this book and will definitely look up more by this author although I am not immediately drawn to read everything by her in the next month. ( )
  samarnold1975 | Mar 12, 2014 |
This book was a mind blowing. The subject matter is difficult but the issues exist and it is important for fiction like this to be available to help readers who may be in a similar situation. ( )
  LaneLiterati | Feb 22, 2014 |
Kaeleigh and Raeanne are "identical" in looks but couldn't be more different in temperment or personality AND their fates. Kaeleigh is sexually abused by her father (the mother is a politician) and Raeanne acts out by engaging in equally high-risk behaviors: sex and drugs (marihuana). The family's deep dysfunction belies the sunny California setting and public face. The girls' tales are told in usual Hopkins free verse, with each twin alternating chapters. The voices are distinct and real. This honesty transcends the slightly hyperbolic cast of problems. For mature teens seeking bibliotherapy or, perhaps, escapism/ reassurance (my family is bad but not this bad...) Hopkins trumps again. ( )
  mjspear | Jan 16, 2014 |
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This book is dedicated to Dianne, Karen, and Tracy, dear friends and special women who rose to shine like stars above dark places in their lives.

With special thanks to Jude, who provided invaluable insight about the psychology of sexual abuse--its victims and victimizers.
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When I look into a mirror, it is her face I see.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Publisher Comments:
In the latest hard-hitting YA novel by the New York Timesbestselling author, 16-yearold identical twin girls must come to terms with their abusive father.

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are 16-year-old identical twins, the daughters of a district court judge father and politician mother running for Congress. Everything on the surface of their lives seems Norman Rockwell perfect, but underneath run deep and damaging secrets.

Kaeleigh is the good girl'"her father's perfect flower, something she has tried so hard to be since she was nine and he started sexually abusing her. She cuts herself and vomits after every binge, desperate to feel something normal. Raeanne uses painkillers, drugs, alcohol, and sex to numb the pain of not being Daddy's favorite. Both girls must figure out how to become whole, but how can they when their world has been torn to shreds?

Writing in her characteristic narrative poetry style, Ellen Hopkins shows once again how well she knows today's teens and the issues that matter to them.
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Sixteen-year-old identical twin daughters of a district court judge and a candidate for the United States House of Representatives, Kaeleigh and Raeanne Gardella desperately struggle with secrets that have already torn them and their family apart.

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