Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical twins whose life might seem ideal to outsiders.  They live in sunny California where their father is a district court judge and their mom is running for congress.  You don’t have to go too far below the surface, though, to find complete dysfunction.  Their mom is constantly traveling for work (her campaign), so she doesn’t realize that her husband is an alcoholic/prescription drug addict… or that he is molesting Kaeleigh.  To avoid dealing with her emotional pain, Kaeleigh turns to the physical pain of cutting and binging/purging.  Raeanne knows what is going on and actually feels a sick sense of jealousy, to which she reacts by sleeping around and getting high.  The story alternates between the perspectives of the twins, gradually revealing details of family secrets that have fed into this cycle of abuse and dysfunction.

Hopkins’ books are never easy to read, but they all have one thing in common — they are based on issues that affect many teens today.  Hopefully this book will inspire teens to who need to seek help, or at least foster empathy and understanding for those who are fortunate enough to never experience these issues.

Happy Banned Books Week!

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