IDENTICAL by ELLEN HOPKINS
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.