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Book Shortage

Chronicling my 2015 reads on this swanky new website.

Identical review

Identical - Ellen Hopkins
Warning: The content in this book may act as a trigger for sexual abuse victims.
Identical twins Kaeleigh and Raeanne once shared an idyllic life in sunny California, but tragedy strikes in the form of a horrific car accident and the sisters are now fighting to keep their family's secrets from being exposed. Their mother is a politician running for Congress and their father is a district court judge, an abusive alcoholic with an OxyContin addiction and a perversion of the highest order. The story switches between quiet Kaeleigh who is afflicted with trauma of her fathers' abuse, and the rebellious Raeanne who experiments with drugs and sadomasochism all the while resenting the fact that her father did not pick her to enact on his sick desires. The method of handling sexual abuse is both intimate and extremely graphic.
This book is appealing for readers of disturbing fiction for many reasons. It covers a whole slew of controversial issues, like child rape, pedophilia, incest, eating disorders, domestic abuse with a bit of alohol/drug addiction thrown into the mix.
The horrors that pervade human existence are repeated in fiction time and time again and it is becoming increasingly difficult to shock people. This book did shock me, but not in a good way. Shock can be a tool to bring controversial issues to the public eye but to me the novel was (slightly) exploitative of these issues. I put things together early on in the book so the ending did not surprise me, which is unusual as I am generally really bad at guessing plot twists. There are actually hints of the "twist" in the synopsis which is probably not good. As a forewarning to readers, this novel is written in verse, but even if you're not quite used to this distracting way of reading, the language is simple and you will quickly get used to it. Overall I am not really a fan of Hopkins' writing style, it's probably more suited to younger readers.
I think it was intended to be a fast-paced psychological thriller but I found it to be more of a sluggish teen drama.