Review: Identical by Ellen Hopkins

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2241059Identical by Ellen Hopkins
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genres: Young Adult, Poetry, Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Pages: 565
Rating: 4
Date Read: 11/02/2015

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are 16-year-old identical twins, the daughters of a district court judge father and politician mother running for US Congress. Everything on the surface seems fine, but underneath run very deep and damaging secrets. What really happened when the girls were 7 years old in that car accident that Daddy caused? And why is Mom never home, always running far away to pursue some new dream? Raeanne goes after painkillers, drugs, alcohol, and sex to dull her pain and anger. Kaeleigh always tries so hard to be the good girl — her father’s perfect little flower. But when the girls were 9, Daddy started to turn to his beloved Kaeleigh in ways a father never should and has been sexually abusing her for years. For Raeanne, she needs to numb the pain of not being Daddy’s favourite; for Kaeleigh, she wants to do everything she can to feel something normal, even if it means cutting herself and vomiting after every binge.

How Kaeleigh and Raeanne figure out just what it means to be whole again when their entire world has been torn to shreads is the guts and heart of this powerful, disturbing, and utterly remarkable book.

Identical twins Raeanne and Kaeleigh couldn’t be anymore different. When their dad gets in a bad car crash that kills a child, the family is never the same again. Their politician mother refuses to give her family any attention and their father soon starts to sexually abuse Kaeleigh although Raeanne wants his attention.

It’s a story dealing with sexual abuse, mental illness, drug abuse, alcoholism, eating disorders and promiscuity in teenagers.

Kaeleigh is unsure of herself, and unable to love because she is being Sexually Abused by her Father. Ian, her best friend and only good stable thing in her life is completely in love with her. She loves old people and gets attached to a woman who shares her own tragedies. Kaeleigh releases her hardships by cutting, and eating.

Raeanne is a promiscuous, drug seeking rebel who loves her father very much and resents her mother. She is seen as the stronger twin, because Kaeleigh isn’t strong enough to say no to people. She spends her time with Mick and Ty, who supply her with free weed, as long as she supplies them with herself.

The story is told in alternating perspectives by the twins and covers myriad teenage problems, including eating disorders, drug abuse, mental illness, promiscuity, and cutting.

Despite it all, as usually, I love Hopkins’ ability to keep me at the edge of my seat. I like Hopkins style of writing too. Her words flow with so much meaning. The reading is so fluid. So much so that it makes it hard to put the book down. I would recommend this book or actually all her books to anyone.

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