Through my childhood and teen years I harbored a fantasy of
meeting up with a long lost identical twin. OK I still would love for
that virtual impossibility to happen. So when I saw that Ellen
Hopkins had written a book in the voices of twins, identical, I was
over the moon.
Needless to say, this narrative is a lot darker than my
daydreams. Kaeleigh and Raeanne are the only children in a family
that puts the dys in dysfunctional. Their congress candidate mother
has turned cold on their judge father since his driving under the
influence (feel the irony) caused a tragic accident years earlier.
Their father misses her and has found someone to take her place
...unfortunately that person is Kaeleigh. She's repulsed by his
advances, knowing how wrong they are, but unable to resist or tell
someone. She's the good girl honor student who works part time at a
home for vintage citizens. She deeply misses the mother who is
usually on the campaign trail and emotionally distant even when
Raeanne is Kaeleigh's polar opposite.
"Mom says, 'That boy is trouble.
You steer clear, understand?'
Like I give a rat's shiny pink
butt about what Mom thinks."
She feels rejected by the father she yearns to be close to. She
self medicates through alcohol and drugs, often ditching school lunch
to get high and fool around with a guy she has no delusions of loving.
"You can't trust a man,
any more than you can
faith in a rabid dog..."
As their mother lives in her political world and their father
bullies them with expectations of perfection and behavior no father
should ever indulge in, Kaeleigh and Raeanne cope the best they can.
Just as you think you have the picture there is a revelation worthy of
Alfred Hitchcock, one that will blindside you until you realize that
it's been flawlessly been built up to since the initial chapters.
Anyone who enjoys a good suspense story will enjoy Hopkins'
lyrical elaboration of the concept that sometimes the seemingly best
families harbor the nastiest secrets.
On a personal note, my chum Mazie gave me one of the most awesome
gifts of my entire life: a tan stone, the perfect size to fit in the
tea tin of treasures I carry in my backpack, she found on a mountain
in Iran near an ancient temple, a fragment of a world light years away
from semi rural Maine that I like to imagine. The guys running the
geology club table at the UMaine organizational fair were fascinated.
A great big shout out goes out to Mazie with wishes for a great
teaching school year with receptive students and a minimum of
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod