Identical by Ellen Hopkins


Identical by Ellen Hopkins

If you’ve read any titles by Ellen Hopkins before, you know that she writes her stories in free verse poetry.  At first this bothered me.  But then one of our students told me that she noticed how the shapes the groupings of words and lines made added to the meaning of the words.  Here’s an example:

It isn’t an option,

If you tell

a secret

about someone

you don’t really know,

other people might


but decide you’re

making it up.  Even if you

happen to know for a fact

it’s true.

Although Raeanne and Kaeleigh are identical twins down to their dimples, they couldn’t be more different.  Raeanne spends her free time with her drug dealing boyfriend, “partying” and having sex in his truck.  In contrast, Kaeleigh is involved with the usual high school extracurricular activities.  Their parents, although successfully involved in Ray’s career as a judge and his re-election campaign, have little time for the girls.  Except for one thing—their father has been sexually abusing Kaeleigh since a terrible car accident years before.  The girls’ story is told in alternating points of view, their voices helping distinguish them from one another.  Life gets harder and harder for the girls, until a frightening event occurs followed by a shocking discovery.

Due to the subject matter, this is a book for mature readers.  Although not perfect, I loved this book and think Hopkins is simply an amazing writer who seems to be able to transport herself into the minds and hearts of young adults.


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