Monday, July 19, 2010

Identical

Yuck.

I had seen Ellen Hopkins' books in stores before and was intrigued by their girth, provocative titles, and the fact that I heard that kids love them. When I saw Identical at the library, I picked it up. I suppose I am happy I've read one of her books (I hesitate to call it a novel) so that I never buy one for my school.

I know that teenagers can have brutal lives, but the existences of the twins in this book is so farfetched that somebody would have to notice. Without any spoilers (this is all in the book description), Identical describes incest, date rape, anorexia, bulimia, cutting, alcohol and drug abuse, absent parenthood, and a whole host of psychological problems. Raeanne and Kaeleigh (argh, the vowels!) spend the book in a spin cycle of crazy.

I understand the appeal of teenagers on the brink--that's what gets me reading Laurie Halse Anderson, but at a certain point it becomes exploitative. It saddens me that situations like this exist in the world, but even more that kids are paying $12 to read about it. The worst part is that it's not even good writing! LHA is able to express her characters' pain beautifully, but Hopkins uses gimmicky prose writing which make the text hard to read and explain why it weighs in at close to 600 pages. I strongly recommend you avoid this book.