Thursday, August 20, 2009

Identical by Ellen Hopkins

From Barnes and Noble: 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?

Ellen Hopkins is such a beautiful writer that it makes me green with envy. I was immediately drawn into this book and it was extremely hard for me to put it down until I had finished. Kaeleigh and Raeanne were wonderful characters and they were easy to relate to. Even though I have never experienced any of the trials that these girls did, in many ways it felt like I was right there with them. It is an amazing gift for an author to be able to draw you into the story in a way that makes you feel like you are a vital part of the plot. There were many twists and turns throughout the story, and some pretty huge shocking turn of events. At one point there is such a huge REALLY BIG THING that was so unexpected I re-read the page three times, blinked my eyes, and immediately went to my twitter account to say "Ellen Hopkins just BLEW MY MIND!!!" This was a wonderful book that was exciting and heart-breaking all at once. There were times that I wanted to cry for Kaeleigh and Raeanne and other times that my heart smiled along with their triumphs. I have said before that I think everyone should read at least one of Ellen Hopkins' books because of her unique writing style, I will say now that I believe if you only ever pick up one of her books, it should be Identical.


Andrea said...

I just can't deal with the emotions of Ellen Hopkins' books that I haven't read any yet *is ashamed* I will do that one day.


Ellen Hopkins is absolutely amazing. She spoke at the SCBWI conference in LA earlier this month, and I was front and center, salivating over everything she had to say. (Crazy fangirl alert!)

Her writing style is so beautiful, and Identical epitomizes this. The mirror image poetry is so original and so very Ellen. Impulse was always my favorite of hers, but Identical runs a close second. I reread the same page you're talking about at least 3 times as well!

Is it haunting and disturbing and absolutely heartbreaking? Yes. But it's also one of the most real, genuine, heart-on-a-platter books (comparable only to her other books) I've ever read.

I want to do a giveaway of Identical so someone else can experience it as well, but I'm just not sure I can make myself part with it ... :)

Wythe County Public Library Youth Services said...

Andrea- you *need* to read her for real. It is worth the emotional turmoil. She is wonderful.

jessjordan- I agree that Ellen Hopkins is amazing. One of my favorite things about her is that she interacts with people. I follow her on Twitter and both time I mentioned this book she replied, which amazes me. I am lucky that I am a librarian and therefore can thrust the library's copy of Identical on readers without having to part with it forever! I haven't read Impulse but it is definitely on my TBR list (along with the rest of her titles) now that I have finished Identical.