There are few books that have disturbed me as much as my latest read, Identical by Ellen Hopkins. In fact, I can only think of two books that creeped me out as much as this one did: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. If you’ve read these two books or know anything about them, you know why they are so disturbing. Hopkins’ Identical is similar to these books, but some of the subject matter is so sickening that I had to put the book down on several occasions.
Kayleigh and Raeanne are identical twins. Their mother is running for Congress and has no time for them. Their father escapes into whiskey bottles and uses Kayleigh as a replacement for his absent wife. Kayleigh feels like she’s dying inside, and Raeanne uses drugs and sex to escape her miserable life at home.
As the problems at home begin to escalate, Kayleigh and Raeanne each face the turmoil in their own ways. Kayleigh cuts herself and binges. Raeanne is always looking for a bigger high and a newer guy. What will become of these twins when one of them cannot harbor her secrets any longer?
As I stated previously, this is a very disturbing read. At the same time, I cannot keep Ellen Hopkins’ books on my shelves at school. Identical is no different. I would caution some students that this is a very mature read, and they should proceed with caution. Some readers simply will not be able to handle it (adults included). It is definitely a book that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.