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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


57/100: Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Identical - Ellen Hopkins

There were moments when I was convinced I'd give this book two stars. Near the end, I was tempted to give it four. My emotions and reactions to it fluctuated quite a bit, so I settled on three.

I've been curious about Hopkins for a while but haven't ever committed to reading her because I'm not all that into gritty, "drug" stories, which seems to be a staple of her repertoire. Even though this one is focused on sexual abuse/incest, drugs do make an appearance. And sex, including S&M stuff. And the sweet male best-friend-hoping-to-be-more. And family secrets, and alcoholism, and eating disorders, oh, and a suicide attempt. Basically, Hopkins attempted to squeeze so much teen "problem novel" fare into this book that I honestly wondered how she could have any subject matter left over for her other books.

It is gritty. And while I hate to say it, I can't help feeling it was ... trashy. I know thousands of teens must deal with the reality of incest and abuse, but something about this felt so over-the-top that it seemed sensationalized rather than true-to-life and sensitive to real survivors. Still, I didn't see the ending coming, and that was what almost tempted me to give it four stars. It's worth reading if you like grit or are curious about Ellen Hopkins. But I can't say I'd enthusiastically recommend it to anyone, teen or adult.