Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Hopkins, Ellen. 2008. Identical.

If you're familiar with Ellen Hopkins' other novels (verse novels)--Crank, Burned, Impulse, and Glass--then you know what to expect from her newest novel, Identical. For those that aren't familiar, you may find yourself in a state of shock at the issues Hopkins' touches on in her novel: alcohol, drugs, cutting, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts (and attempts), and sex. And of course some may squirm at the language.

No doubt about it, her novels won't suit everyone's tastes. Yet her novels do have fans. And there's a reason--her novels are powerful, very very potent. Raw. Emotional. Very gritty. Very in-your-face. There's always a depth and complexity to the characters that make them compelling. (Even if you don't happen to *like* the characters. You can't deny that they're humanly drawn.)

Identical is a shocking book in many ways. It deals with secrets, lies, brokenness, betrayal. It has more than angst, it has burning and haunting pain on almost every single page. It focuses on a dysfunctional, abusive family with much to hide--the Gardellas. A father who's a district court judge. A mother who's running for Congress. Our narrators are two teen girls Kaeleigh and Raeanne. These two angry-and-bitter narrators share a common enemy: their father and mother.

I hesitate to say much more because really in this instance, the less you know going in...the better the book will read.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Serena 11:47 AM  

sometimes you need a realistic, gritty novel. I think I will add this to the TBR list. Thanks for another great review.

Debi 10:15 AM  

I haven't yet read any of her books, but have meant to read Crank for quite some time. But I think you just bumped this one up ahead of it! Thanks for the fabulous review, Becky!

Becky 12:40 AM  

I hadn't heard of this book until reading your blog. I will have to check it out. Thanks for the great tip!

I just finished previewing a really exciting new book scheduled to come out October 6th, "Letters Between Us,” written by Linda Overman. It is by far one of the best novels that I have read in a long time. It is about two friends who grow up and go exactly opposite directions in life. One friend grows up following all the rules and becoming a very normal person, the other friend goes exactly opposite. One friend ends up dying and as the other friend reads her friends' journal and goes through old letters that the two friends have exchanged for 26 years, finds out a lot about her best friend that she never knew- shocking stuff. It really is a great book. I am so excited for it to come out. I am planning on buying a copy for all of my friends this Christmas.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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