Identical

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Identical
Author(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
August 26, 2008
ISBN
1416950052
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Do twins begin in the womb?
Or in a better place?

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court judge father and a politician mother, they are an all-American family -- on the surface. Behind the facade each sister has her own dark secret, and that's where their differences begin.

For Kaeleigh, she's the misplaced focus of Daddy's love, intended for a mother whose presence on the campaign trail means absence at home. All that Raeanne sees is Daddy playing a game of favorites -- and she is losing. If she has to lose, she will do it on her own terms, so she chooses drugs, alcohol, and sex.

Secrets like the ones the twins are harboring are not meant to be kept -- from each other or anyone else. Pretty soon it's obvious that neither sister can handle it alone, and one sister must step up to save the other, but the question is -- who?

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Powerful Young Adult Novel
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Ellen Hopkinss powerful storytelling riveted my attention from the start. Although I did not intend to read a novel all morning, I could not put this one down. The characters are unsparing and unflinching in their plainspoken truths about the lie of their seemingly perfect lives and the evil behind the doors of their clean suburban home with the perfectly manicured lawn. At the heart of the story, there is a mystery in the lives of the identical twin protagonists, Kaeleigh and Raeanne.

The twins harbor terrible secretssecrets that they keep from each other and everyone else. Kaeleigh is a lot like her absentee mother and becomes the unwilling object of her daddys misplaced love. Raeanne, disgusted with her twin sisters passive acceptance of an intolerable situation, actively pursues life on her own termsbut what she chooses is a life of drugs, alcohol, and sex. Both girls are haunted by eating disorders, deep loneliness, a yearning for love, and unanswerable questions. Throughout their traumatic adventures, the girls never communicate with each other and are unable to understand the dark fears that grip their alcoholic fatheruntil a confrontation at the end in which it all becomes clear.

The way the novel is written cannot help but capture your attention also. Each page is a poem with the title forming part of the first line. Often, a secondary poem streams off to the right of the page, dropping small bombs of intense meaning which underscore the larger poem. Always, these secondary poems are done in mirror image on the next page, like an identical twin facing her mirror image every time she sees her sister. I found this technique to be emotionally moving and not at all a distraction to the story. In fact, it made it all the more meaningful.

Ellen Hopkins is the bestselling author of Crank, Impulse, and Glass.
WJ
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Overall rating 
 
4.9
Plot 
 
4.7  (13)
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5.0  (1)
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Dark and gripping
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Identical does not pull any punches. This novel in verse is decently long, and in its pages, just about every “issue” that can possibly be covered in an “issue book” is dealt with. Rape, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, student/teacher relationships, schoolyard bullying, self-harm, BDSM (of dubious consent), sexual abuse of a child by a parent, child pornography, violence, mental health, sex sex sex—the list goes on and on. Normally, I would have called this overkill, said Hopkins was packing too many problems into one book, setting herself up for failure.

In this case, though, I don’t think it was overkill. Maybe, just maybe, this book isn’t entirely uh…realistic. Maybe, just maybe, the picture painted will be too dark for some readers. It’s not that the content isn’t real, but that there’s so much of it, and it might be, for some readers, like sinking in a sea of bad things and drowning before the Coast Guard comes. Personally, I didn’t drown, and the end result was a very satisfying, intense read.

Twins Kaeleigh and Raeanne are mirror images of the other, but they couldn’t be more different. Kaeleigh is like their mother, much to her father’s perverted delight. Kaeleigh is a victim of sexual abuse, she binge eats, she cuts herself, and (inexplicably, considering everything she’s gone through) she’s in love with her best friend Ian. Raeanne is like their father, and because of that, he doesn’t give her the time of day. Raeanne spends her days having sex, smoking pot, and nursing all the hate and bitterness her twin sister seems to be lacking.

Separately, the two girls are broken, incomplete. Together, they have the power to change their lives for the better. But that can only happen if they break down the walls that rose up after their father chose to molest Kaeleigh and not Raeanne (because Raeanne is jealous, something even she admits is sick and disgusting).

So, not going to lie, Identical was not surprising at all. Maybe, perhaps, because earlier this year I read two books that, while completely different, each have exactly half of the shocking conclusion to this novel. Obviously I can’t say which two books, but it was easy for me to see the patterns and know where Hopkins was headed. That predictability, however, didn’t really affect how I felt about the book as a whole. Identical was kind of like a grotesque car accident on the side of the road: you know you shouldn’t look, but as you drive past, you can’t tear your eyes away. Ellen Hopkins had me hooked on this book.

As I expected after my great experience with Burned, Hopkins’ poetry was strong, evocative, and worked well. The story switched between Kaeleigh and Raeanne’s perspectives, and the dual-narrative worked well to highlight the disparities between the two girls, all while showing how alike they truly were. I may have had a few complaints, but the nature of the conclusion was such that any problems I spoke about were invalidated and, I suppose, proved to look purposeful on the author’s part, which I’m sure they were.

All in all, Identical is a strongly written and engrossing book. It’s very dark (maybe too dark), and there’s a lot going on in this book. But the situation was presented in a way that made this impossible to set aside, because the desire to see some good come into the sisters’ lives was so, so pressing. As this is my second book by Ellen Hopkins, I’m confident in saying that I’m a fan of her work.
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Really good book
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Lia

This book was really good, it is about twins that have been abused by their father in some way, this is written in poem form and it is very sad, this was and incredible book and i beleive it was definitley ellen hopkins best book i have read from her, i really recommend it.

synopsis-
Do twins begin in the womb? Or in a better place? Kaeleigh and Raeanne
are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court
judge father and a politician mother, they are an all-American family --
on the surface. Behind the facade each sister has her own dark secret,
and that's where their differences begin. For Kaeleigh, she's the
misplaced focus of Daddy's love, intended for a mother whose presence on
the campaign trail means absence at home. All that Raeanne sees is
Daddy playing a game of favorites -- and she is losing. If she has to
lose, she will do it on her own terms, so she chooses drugs, alcohol,
and sex. Secrets like the ones the twins are harboring are not meant to
be kept -- from each other or anyone else. Pretty soon it's obvious
that neither sister can handle it alone, and one sister must step up to
save the other, but the question is -- who?
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Amazing!! Raeanne reminds me of me!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Ashely Edmondson

Identical!!Has to be the best book ever made.
Imean i read this book and when it gets to
raeanna's part to talk and tell her story
she reminds me exactally of me and i love
books like that Ellen Hopkins is an
amazing author i hope she makes more books
like:Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, & Identical.
i have read all these books but i think
Glass was more about my life
crank and glass were my favorates all together
because i am goin through all that stuff right now
the whole being with my dad and drugs thing right now
but this book identical is so good the whole smokeing pot thing
is exactally about me and i love that about raeanne..

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Identical was one of the best books i have read.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Nicole

Identical was a really great book. Ellen Hopkins is a very talented writer. I liked this book a lot becuase it took you in depth with the characters and it was like you actully knew them. In the end of the book there is a surprise twist that i was not expecting at all! it made me cry and it is also funny at parts. I think everyone should read this book becuase it is not only a great book it teaches you a leason and it very awesome! I highly recomend it.
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Amazing, but disturbing
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Taylor J

This book was completely amazing! It had a good plot line, a surprising ending, and it was well written. I was intrigued right from the beginning. However, some scenes were disturbing to read, like some of the scenes with Kaeleigh and her father, Ray. The topics touched on were very harsh and intense topics that really widened your eyes to reality. This book was sad, and at times confusing, but I still wanted to read more.
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Just Took me
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Laura

The book Identical by Ellen hopkins was completely confusing for me at the begining, i couldn't figure out who was who and what was going on but towards the end it all was starting to make sense to me. The end was a complete shock to me because i couldn't believe what happened then. In the end the whole entire book made sense to me. My friends loved it i loved it, it was just a good book over all, if i do say so myself.
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A Twist That Will Throw You Off Your Seats
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Froggytown

This was my third Ellen Hopkin book, so I was no stranger to her tendency to talk about disturbing subjects when I started, but this one far surpasses it's successors.

The story follows identical twins struggling to live in a family that has been destroyed since a car accident that happened when the Father was driving drunk.

Just to warn you, this book is no trip around the park, it goes about 2 or 3 steps farther than Crank and Impulse and the ending will definitely have you re-reading the pages, trying to make sense out of it. (I did anyway.)

The ending does get explained, but there will definitely be more than one  "WTF!?" when you read it.

Other than that, Enjoy! :)
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Different
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Beth

This book was interesting... in good and bad ways. I thought that the style of the book (written as a collection of connected poems) was different and a nice change of pace. Parents need to be warned, however, because this book deals with very mature subjects, including sexual abuse, eating disorders, and drug abuse. The mature content was dealt with in a very raw manner, and I enjoyed the fact the the emotions came through so realistically. However, this book is not one of my favorites. I would recommend this only for older teens who are mature enough to handle the content.
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Twisted, but pretty mauch amazing
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Cassandra Hall

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are twins. This story revolves around the two of them. They both have a secret that neither can tell, but they both want to and for different reasons.

Even though Kaeleigh and Raeanne are "identical" on the outside, on the inside no one would ever guess they were twins. The secret they have is dark and the book is told by both of them in verse.

It refers to a horrible accident that happened a long time ago and the result that left their whole family broken. The secret that only one twin acknowledges and the other wants to block out completely.

Identical is dark, twisted, and at times heart-wrenching, but its told through two different points of view that make the story amazingly great.
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disturbing yet incredible
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by the book muncher

On the outside, Kaeleigh and Raeanne look exactly the same but their appearances are as far as their similarities go. Although their family may seem perfect, it is in reality the definition of dysfunction. The twins politician mother is constantly away from home to campaign, and in the absence of his wife, their district-court judge father transfers his love to Kaeleigh. In turn, Raeanne is jealous in a sick way, because she feels Daddy is favoring Kaeleigh over her, and so she turns to drugs, alcohol, and sex. Each twin harbors her own demons, but neither can handle the pressure on her own. Will the secrets force their way out or will they destroy the twins from the inside out?

Identical is a truly disturbing, impossibly real, and extremely difficult to put down no matter how sick and creepy the story may be. It deals with all facets of dysfunction: abuse, cutting, addiction, disorders, and their effects in teens lives. Though the story told isnt by any means a good story, Hopkins is a fantastic storyteller and I have to say I love her writing style. The twins are surprisingly easy to relate to even in their extreme situations, and I think my shock over how horribly wrong Kaeleighs and Raeannes lives were and a slim hope that they would improve is what kept me reading. Hopkinscharacters are just so compelling, and this makes their stories so unforgettable no matter how hard I try to forget the major creep factor.

The authenticity of this story will appeal to all teens, even the ones who dont normally read. Identical will also gain a similar audience to that of Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. I look forward to reading Hopkins other novels, Crank, Burned, Impulse, and Glass.

reposted from http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.com
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