Kaeleigh and Raeanne are 16-year-old identical twins, the daughters of a district court judge father and politician mother running for US Congress. Everything on the surface seems fine, but underneath run very deep and damaging secrets. What really happened when the girls were 7 years old in that car accident that Daddy caused? And why is Mom never home, always running far away to pursue some new dream? Raeanne goes after painkillers, drugs, alcohol, and sex to dull her pain and anger. Kaeleigh always tries so hard to be the good girl -- her father's perfect little flower. But when the girls were 9, Daddy started to turn to his beloved Kaeleigh in ways a father never should and has been sexually abusing her for years. For Raeanne, she needs to numb the pain of not being Daddy's favorite; for Kaeleigh, she wants to do everything she can to feel something normal, even if it means cutting herself and vomiting after every binge.
How Kaeleigh and Raeanne figure out just what it means to be whole again when their entire world has been torn to shreads is the guts and heart of this powerful, disturbing, and utterly remarkable book.
- Margaret K. McElderry Books |
- 592 pages |
- ISBN 9781416950066 |
- December 2010 |
- Grades 9 and up |
- Lexile HL590L
Meet Bestselling Author Ellen Hopkins
Reading Group Guide
ABOUT THE BOOK
Kaeleigh and Raeanne Gardella, identical twins, live in a posh California neighborhood. Their father is a well-known district court judge and their mother a politician. On the surface they are the perfect American family, but beneath the façade lies a damaged family. Raeanne is the aggressive twin, the one who is sexually promiscuous—giving sex in return for drugs; she craves sexual attention from anyone, including her father. Kaeleigh is the quiet one, the one most like her mother, and the victim of her father’s sexual advances. Haunted by this, Kaeleigh has difficulty letting any boy close and deals with her pain by cutting. Torn apart by a tragic event, the twins’ parents hardly speak. Their mother spends her time on the campaign trail; their father lives at home where he drinks, abuses Oxycontin, and controls his daughters’ every move—from the clothes they wear to the places they go. Both girls have an eating disorder, and as they spiral into more dangerous depths, the story takes a surprising twist. One twin will need to step up. But who?
What would it feel like to harbor a secret that could hurt another person should it be revealed?
How might you support a friend who had a family secret that would send one of his/her family members to jail?
What responsibility do we have to friends who may be ab see more
Behind the Book
From the Desk of Ellen Hopkins
From the Desk of Ellen Hopkins
With the publication of my latest novel, Identical, I once again face questions from those who consider my work too "direct" for teens, maybe even "over the top." I will admit the subject matter--incest--is uncomfortable to think about, let alone to write about. But let me say right up front that choosing this, perhaps the most obscene of society's ills, had nothing to do with sensationalism.
Incest is defined as sexual abuse by som