Posted March 8th, 2012 by in *Review / 10 comments

Title: Identical
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Publication Date: August 28th, 2008
Classification: YA
Challenge: Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge 12/70

Summary from Goodreads:

In the latest hard-hitting YA novel by the New York Times bestselling author, 16-year-old identical twin girls must come to terms with their abusive father.

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are 16-year-old identical twins, the daughters of a district court judge father and politician mother running for Congress. Everything on the surface of their lives seems Norman Rockwell perfect, but underneath run deep and damaging secrets.

Kaeleigh is the good girl-her father’s perfect flower, something she has tried so hard to be since she was nine and he started sexually abusing her. She cuts herself and vomits after every binge, desperate to feel something normal. Raeanne uses painkillers, drugs, alcohol, and sex to numb the pain of not being Daddy’s favorite. Both girls must figure out how to become whole, but how can they when their world has been torn to shreds?

Writing in her characteristic narrative poetry style, Ellen Hopkins shows once again how well she knows today’s teens and the issues that matter to them.

My Thoughts

It has been way too long since I have read a book by Ellen Hopkins. Truthfully I have no idea why I waited so long to read another book by her but I did a Secret Santa exchange on Goodreads in December and I got this book as my gift. I am so glad I did because I totally forgot how much I love Ellen Hopkins work. Her books are always so incredibly crazy/sad/amazing/etc!

No sunshine and rainbows here. Identical is full of deep and dark issues that could make anyone slightly (if not extremely) uncomfortable. Kaeleigh and Raeanne are twins. They look the same, they both are going through some major issues, but they couldn’t be more different. Both girls also have some very unhealthy ways of dealing with their issues.

Kaeleigh wished she got less attention from her father who started abusing her at a young age after an accident changed their family.  She longed for more attention from her mother who with her campaign was never home and didn’t seem to want to be. She did all she could to keep people from knowing what her father was doing to her and even blamed herself at times. Kaeleigh would binge on food as a way to cope and hoped to get fatter. She would cut herself to feel in control.

Kaeleigh also had Greta and Ian. Greta was an elderly lady from her work who she referred to as her faux grandma. Greta could see that Kaeleigh held onto a dark secret and understood her. Greta was nice, caring, and had her own complicated past. Ian…Oh Ian… He was great. He was sweet, loving, and always concerned for Kaeleigh even when all she did was push him farther away. He loved her so much and never gave up trying to get her to open up.

Raeanne wish her father paid more attention to her. She could have cared less about her mother being or not. She saw her sister as weak but was also very protective of her also. She wasn’t the one being sexually abused but the neglect gave Raeanne her own set of issues which she dealt with by self-medicating and having sex. Kaeleigh had some people that really cared about her but Raeanne surrounded herself with people who would take advantage of her. She wanted attention so badly and got it from all the wrong guys.

The story was told through both Raeanne and Kaeleigh. There was so much going on but it was easy to follow. I loved this book. Yes, it was dark and sad. No, there wasn’t a fairytale ending but it was written in a way that I could really see and understand what the girls were going through. Ellen Hopkins didn’t shy away from telling the story. She didn’t sugar coat anything. This book deals with serious issues. It isn’t meant to make you feel warm and fuzzy so the fact that she tells it like it is is the best part of her books.




10 Responses to “Identical”

  1. Nicci @ Paper Dreams

    I love Ellen Hopkins, but her books are always tough reads. This was sounds like no exception to that, but I do think that the subjects she writes about are so important. Great review!

    • Bianca

      You love her too! Yay! I agree. They are always tough to read. Glad you liked the review. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    • Bianca

      You totally should try reading one. They are all pretty good. Well, at least the ones I have read so far.

  2. MIchelle A

    So glad you enjoyed this. I haven’t heard of it. Sounds like I can hear the *thud* of it landing on my TBR pile.

    Great review!!


  3. Candace

    I’ve read one Ellen Hopkins book and it was one that hit very close to home for me. It was extremely difficult for me to read because of that. But she’s an amazing writer and I have other books of hers on my shelf I plan to read. It’s just hard to brace myself for her hard hitting books. Glad to here this one is amazing! I’m not sure if I have this one or not… I’ll have to look.

    • Bianca

      They are always so difficult to read already. I can only imagine how much harder it was for you. I try not to read two of her books back to back. I have to read something more happy after reading one of her books.

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