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?
Identical by Ellen Hopkins was the perfect book to get me out of my long reading slump (see here). Although the book itself is quite long, the fact that it’s written in verse makes it to be a fast paced read. The Crank trilogy by the same author will always be my favorite as it has a special place in my heart, but I have to say that Identical is a close second!
This novel is Hopkins at her finest- creating characters that are tangible in a world that is so clearly real. Hopkins explores themes of abandonment and family, and the many ways the loneliness it entails can affect people- in this case, the twins Raeanne and Kaeleigh. Each twin have their own point of view in the novel, their voices so distinct and personalities so vivid it forces the readers to rush to the next chapter.
Although I said that Identical is a swift read due to the free verse format, it’s an emotionally tolling one. It tackles subjects such as drugs, sexual rebellion, and abuse- all with minors. At times it was physically hard for me to keep going on with the book as some scenes were much too graphic, but I believe that the discomfort I felt during the read only intensified its impact.
All in all, I enjoyed the read and would highly recommend it to readers looking for a fast paced and dark contemporary.
Last review: He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander
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Until next time!