Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Book Recommendation

April is National Poetry Month so I thought I'd rec a verse novel this week.


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?

This book is stunning not just in it's story, which is gut-wrenching, but also in it's construction. Ellen Hopkins has a way with words. She writes verse in a way that you never feel like you're reading poems and yet the prose is so poetic.

In this book she does something that blows my mind. The sisters alternate pages so that their poems appear side by side. And in each of those sets of pages, there is a poem within a poem (called gutter poems) that each sister shares. And that gutter poem is the core of what both sisters are really trying to say. I was probably a quarter of the way into the book when I realized this and then I had to go back and check every set of poems just to make sure. I was amazed. This is poetry as a new kind of art.

If you've never read a verse novel I strongly suggest you give IDENTICAL a try. Word of warning, the book deals with some pretty dark and mature themes. It's not for everyone's taste.


  1. Sounds great, Kristi! I have TRICKS but I haven't had the chance to read it. Another verse novel I enjoyed was Lisa Schroeder's I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME.

  2. Lacey--this was actually Valerie's recommendation. I've never read a novel in verse but think it takes enormous talent to write one. This book sounds intense but powerful--thanks for the rec. :)

  3. OH, duh! Sorry. Lol!
    Great pick, Valerie!

  4. Sounds like a very interesting and enlightening book,thanks for the superb review with excellent examples. I have just ordered this book and looking forward to read it!

    Recommendation Letters

  5. I haven't read this yet, but you make it sound great. Definitely on the To Read list!


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