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Double Helix

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  2,584 Ratings  ·  284 Reviews
Eighteen-year-old Eli discovers a shocking secret about his life and his family while working for a Nobel Prize-winning scientist whose specialty is genetic engineering.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 5th 2005 by Puffin Books (first published March 30th 2004)
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Dec 09, 2009 booklady rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in bioethics
10 December 2008 update added at the end.

Double Helix by Nancy Werlin is young adult mystery which my daughter handed me recently. The main character, Eli Samuels, a recent high school graduate, is at a crossroads in his life in more ways than one. His mother is completely debilitated and dying of Huntington's disease. He can't afford college but his father vehemently opposes a lucrative job offer with prestigious Wyatt Transgenics by its founder, a legendary molecular biologist. And yet Eli's f
Jan 29, 2011 Angie rated it did not like it
Shelves: teen, science-fiction
I can't remember why this got added to my "to read" list, but it did and I can't say it was really worth adding. The main character of Eli is not that likable or sympathetic. His attitude towards his girlfriend is frankly appalling and I can't believe that she ends up taking him back after the way he treats her. His relationship with his parents is also very troubling. His mother has a horrible disease and he just wants her to get on with dying so he can get on with his life and his father can m ...more
Aug 22, 2016 sabisteb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eli Samuels hat gerade seine High-School beendet. Uni steht jedoch erst einmal außer Frage. Seine Mutter hat Chorea Huntington im finalen Stadium, die Rechnungen stapeln sich und die Ungewissheit, ob Eli selber die tödliche Mutation trägt, belastet das Verhältnis zu seinem Vater.
Um ein wenig (finazielle) Freiheit zu erlangen und seinen Vater zu entlasten, bewirbt sich Eli in einem Biotechunternehmen auf eine Laborassistentenstelle. Sein Vater ist sauer, denn er kennt Dr. Wyatt aus der Vergangenh
Lisa Vegan
Oct 14, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young adults & adults who enjoy books by Robin Cook, Michael Palmer, Michael Crichton
This is very similar to books by Robin Cook, Michael Palmer, and Michael Crichton.

Here, three of the main characters: Eli, Viv, Kayla are all young adults.

When I started reading, it seemed like a light version of those author’s books coupled with the fruition of many teenage boy’s fantasies of having a girlfriend who has sex with him regularly.

But I grew to really like the characters, and the science fiction story is a thought provoking one about issues such as medical and scientific ethics,
Apr 19, 2009 Thomas rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sci-fi Fans
"Double Helix" is about Eli Samuels who has just graduated as saludictorian as his class. He has a number of problems to deal with - his new job at Wyatt Transgenics that for some reason has his dad angry, his mom who is suffering from Huntington's disease, and his girlfriend Viv who is having trust issues with him. He starts to spend time with a famous scientist named Quincy Wyatt, and through him he finds out dangerous secrets about not only his mom and dad, but he, Eli, himself.

I enjoyed this
Pam Miller
Mar 20, 2008 Pam Miller rated it really liked it
Good book, great twists and turns. Very thought provoking!!
Oct 12, 2016 Nivair rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-school
Great read—engaging, intelligent—and I loved the perspective on Cambridge from someone familiar with it, written the year I moved here, in fact. Unfortunately, I'm only reading it now, post-Orphan Black, so I kept thinking of that and wishing for more Tatiana Maslanys in this. Sorry. Super great book though.
Jack Doherty
May 13, 2010 Jack Doherty rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jordan Heidrich
My experience reading Double Helix by Nancy Werlin was very good. The book had a lot of mystery in it which I really enjoy reading. I love the suspense and the plot twists in the book. In the story Eli Samuel's is working at a lab for a famous biologist Dr. Wyatt. There is a strange connection between Eli's parents and Dr. Wyatt that Eli wants to find out. He believes it has to do with his mother who has Huntington's disease. "I was consumed by curiosity… and anxiety. I’d wait all afternoon if I ...more
Apr 02, 2011 Cherylann rated it really liked it
I'm not a fan of science-fiction, which is why I've had this books sitting on my TBR pile for the last 3 1/2 years. But I am a fan of Nancy Werlin, and she didn't let me down with this book. From the little I know of genetics and DNA research, this seems to be heavily based in science and perhaps the future of genetics research. I enjoyed the change in the protagonist as the book progressed. To be honest, I had trouble getting into the book because I really didn't like Eli at first. However, as ...more
Diana Lopez
Nov 01, 2011 Diana Lopez rated it liked it
It was a good book but complex on some parts but it was balanced out because the plot was pretty concise. I loved the awkward twist and it was really creepy with the Kayla thing. It was a good science fiction novel and it can be Interpreted as a message to scientists to not get to caught up with scientific discoveries.
Michelle Hendricks
Sep 11, 2013 Michelle Hendricks rated it really liked it
I was sick today and spent the day with this good book as my distraction. I liked the topic, having just watched all 10 episodes of BBC's Orphan Black back to back. Genes are a complicated topic and I'm sure I read an entertaining whitewashed version, but I enjoyed it anyway!
Melissa Rose
Mar 23, 2013 Melissa Rose rated it it was ok
This book was cute, but super annoying in how it kept hinting at things, but took forever to reveal them.
Oct 10, 2010 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Totally amazing. Makes science so much more interesting. Talks about cloning and transgenic.
Hannah Russell
Nov 04, 2016 Hannah Russell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, scifi
When I was about thirteen/fourteen years old, I read this book. I was low-key obsessed with it, and Huntington Disease, for a little bit, and then forgot that this book even existed. Fast forward to today (literally, today). A twenty-five-year-old PhD student is sitting at her desk, reading an article about using RNA interference as a treatment for Huntington Disease. No, she doesn't study Huntington Disease (she uses RNA interference), but it's not like Huntington Disease hasn't come up in her ...more
Dec 10, 2016 Lisa rated it it was ok
2,5 stars

I could not and would not like our main protagonist Eli Samuels. He is, quite frankly, an ass. And a coward.
I did not like his attitude towards his girlfriend Viv (how could she take him back???) nor his way of "dealing" with his mother's disease.

Do you see how it reads " a mystery" on the cover? Well, it was a meek one but nice try.
The plot moved soooo sloooooowww for such a short book but Werlin still managed to somehow create suspense, sooo I guess she gets a plus for that? But the e
Debbie Rhines
Jan 16, 2017 Debbie Rhines rated it it was ok
Reid (7th grade) is reading this for school so I thought I would read it too. I know I am a prude when it comes to what I let me kids read and watch but I don't understand why authors have to include condom/sex in a book when it adds nothing to the story. I also feel like this book is going to be over his head .. it's about genetic engineering. I'll be curious to see what he thinks of it.
Nov 27, 2016 Gillian rated it liked it
Double Helix had an interesting storyline, but the characters were two dimensional. The main character was unlikable and is rude to almost everyone who cares about him. Nonetheless, Double Helix had a good ending and the plot kept moving, making it a fairly good read.
Victor Wright
Apr 17, 2015 Victor Wright rated it liked it

Victor Wright

Due date: April 17, 2015

Honors Composition

Book Review

Double helix Nancy Werlin a mystery filled book with a little bit of sci fi. The book starts of with a boy named Eli who is tall smart and athletic. He decides to get a job at Wyatt’s transgressions but his does not like Dr. Wyatt and Eli does not know this. When he works there he gains a little relationship with him and went over his house one day. While there he meets a girl named Kayla and he stays there a long time. He
Nov 18, 2012 Kieran rated it did not like it
I would not recommend the book Double Helix by Nancy Werlin to a friend because it wasn't suspenseful, and it was not entertaining, I could put the book down whenever I wanted. This book never once left me wanting to read more. Someone might recommend this book because of the plot twists that kept them invested in the book. I would completely disagree because of the strong amount of foreshadowing that took a lot of the surprise away from the plot twists. Eli is the main character who gets a job ...more
Eli's dilemma -- and the way he chooses to attack it -- are a wonderful portrait of the deeply flawed way we all attack problems that terrify us, particularly because they call into question our deepest beliefs about ourselves. The opening -- for my taste -- is too repetitive and on-the-nose, but after the story finds its emotional core, it leaps forward beautifully.
Dylan Williams
Dec 11, 2015 Dylan Williams rated it liked it
Double Helix Book Review
By Dylan Williams

I felt that this book was decent in the interesting category and i gave it 3 points. The reason why i only gave it three is because it was kinda confusing with all the genetics and science involved. The characters were alright but i never really got attached to them. An example of a point where the plot was a little confusing is a letter from the lead scientist, Dr. Wyatt , to the main character Eli. In the letter he explains how Eli’s test for Hunting
Kristina Jean Lareau
Jul 13, 2014 Kristina Jean Lareau rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, sci-fi, middle-grade
It has been a long time since I have read any book labelled a “mystery”. Nancy Werlin’s Double Helix is a mystery as Eli–brilliant, athletic Eli–on the verge of high school graduation loses his mother to Huntington’s Disease. Questioning his own chances of inheriting the degenerative disease, he asks for a job at Wyatt Transgenics in hopes of understanding his mother’s relationship with the genius Dr. Wyatt. Not only does Eli discover the nature of their relationship, but he discovers his own na ...more
Jamie Reynolds Spellerberg
Ugh. The main character I wanted to murder and the other characters were pretty flat and unbelievable. The science in the science fiction was meh and everyone just seemed to flail about pointlessly at the end. It was all very melodramatic without much of an actual problem occurring. Don't waste your time.
Sep 09, 2014 Crumb rated it liked it
Alright, well, there was nothing inherently wrong with Double Helix, but it didn't quite grip me at any point. Part of that is my fault, part of that is Werlin's fault.

The thing is, I was recommended this based on my interest in mystery. It was shelved as mystery in my library, and it even has mystery as a main tag here on Goodreads. It also has 'suspense' and 'thriller' tags. To me, there was very little mystery, and virtually no suspense or thrills.

Was it well written? Yeah, I guess. It wasn't
Feb 07, 2009 Jaenell rated it really liked it
Totally loved the twist at the end and ....






Here is quote I love, which really makes the book and puts everything in perspective:

'"Many years ago, I was at a national conference on biogenetics. It wasn't purely a scientific conference; it was open to the public. The idea was that people from all walks of life--intelligent, thoughtful people--would discuss our dreams about what this technology might do for us. There
Elijah Reese
Feb 27, 2015 Elijah Reese rated it really liked it
Double Helix by Nancy Werlin,is a science fiction novel about a 18 year old kid named Eli Samuels . Through out the story Eli has a lot of unanswered questions, that he is determined to find answers to. Eli's mother is on her death bed and soon will be dead, due to huntington's disease. Eli and his ill mother are now very distant to her illness. Eli and his father don't seem to have a good relationship due to trust issues. Vivian Eli's girlfriend has been nothing but supportive and inquisitive a ...more
Ahmad Curtis
Nov 19, 2015 Ahmad Curtis rated it it was amazing
Basically when I first started this book I liked the way the characters took their personality out in person. Also I think that the tone of the character's plot isn't fast enough. I think this because of how long it took to get to the climax. Although the effort for suspense is good I guess that explains why the character's plot took long. It was like in the 27th chapter that things started to heat up. Also I think that certain characters weren't as much as I expected them to be because of who t ...more
Aug 26, 2012 Lia rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
The story is interesting ... though it foreshadows with too heavy a hand, so the "big revelations" don't come across as big. This also means that the plot is basically character angst, and his angst is bigger and moodier than the answers turn out to warrant, at least for me. I felt let down by how much lesser the real happenings of the book turned out to be, especially in relation to the main character's mother. His big issues with her are never parsed out in a meaningful way.

The writing style
Christine Kloss
May 14, 2009 Christine Kloss rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jessica-s-class
Best Books for Young Adults: Fantasy / Sci Fi

I enjoyed this book and found it to be quite the page turner (thank you for the recommendation Jessica!)

This is a story about a young man named Eli who comes from an unstable home life. He doesn't get along with his father, his mother is suffering from HD and is in a nursing home and on top of it money is a constant battle. Eli is embarrassed of his situation and is very reluctant to share his battles even with his girlfriend. An opportunity comes alo
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Join in the discussions! 1 9 Apr 29, 2009 09:51AM  
Young Adult Book ...: * Liked it, Hated it? (spoilers) 21 43 Nov 16, 2008 09:30AM  
Young Adult Book ...: Morals and Ethics (spoilers) 7 32 Oct 25, 2008 08:35PM  
Young Adult Book ...: Book Status (no spoilers) 18 37 Oct 25, 2008 03:49PM  
Young Adult Book ...: Secrets (spoilers) 6 30 Oct 25, 2008 03:48PM  
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Nancy Werlin writes young adult fiction: New York Times–bestselling fantasy, Edgar-award winning suspense, and National Book Award-honored realistic novels.

Nancy's newest book is UNTHINKABLE, the sequel to IMPOSSIBLE and EXTRAORDINARY.
More about Nancy Werlin...

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