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Double Helix

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  2,151 ratings  ·  233 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.

Kindle Edition, 258 pages
Published (first published March 30th 2004)
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Dec 09, 2009 booklady rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Lisa Vegan
Oct 14, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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,
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
Apr 19, 2009 Thomas rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Good book, great twists and turns. Very thought provoking!!
Jack Doherty
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is one of the first times I have ever read a novel by Nancy Werlin. I found the beginning to be kind of boring so it took me awhile to actually get into the part of the book where I didn't want to put it down. It's about this boy named Eli who wanted to work in a place known as Wyatt Transgencies. Eventually he did get hired by the owner of it named Dr. Wyatt he was a molecular biologist. Eli wanted this job because to him it seemed like it was very interesting, he didn't really care about ...more
Cheyenne Redcay
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Werlin's Double Helix begins as the story of Eli Samuels, a young man working (literally) to overcome the tragedy he and his father face after having to hospitalize his mother after her mental state deteriorated due to Huntington's disease. Though academically accomplished in high school, Eli decided to take the year after graduation off to work and is surprised when Dr. Quincy Wyatt, the legendary molecular biologist, offers him a job in the lab at Wyatt Transgenics. Eli's surprised at his fath ...more
Diana Lopez
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.
Once I finished Double Helix by Nancy Werlin, I did end up liking it. The book was about a young adult named Eli who started working at Wyatt Transgenics, a place involving people studying genetics in attempt to improve the nature of the human body. However, in this job, he discovers the horrifying truth of his DNA. Seems interesting, right? Well, the first 200 pages or so was just a bunch of nonsense plot with no purpose or destination, but when it finally gets exciting, the story ends just l ...more
Michelle Hendricks
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!
Caley Leggate
This book is written in first person perspective. It takes place in the past ten years, in a medium sized city.
Eli Samuels is a very talented young man. He's an amazing athlete (even though he won't play for a team), and he's smart enough to figure out how to let his girlfriend Vivian be valedictorian instead of himself (so he could be salutatorian). Eli is very interested in science, especially genetics. After he graduates he applies for a job at Wyatt Transgenic's, because it is such a well kn
I really really wanted to make this book work. But his initial devotion for his girlfriend or whatever he's got going on, totally ruined my hopes of getting anywhere past chapter 5. I don't understand why he even has to downgrade himself for her, I also love how he has been dating her for like what, a year?! And not once did she meet his parents. I'm sorry! But look here, you have a mother with a mental disability not a serial killer! how are you ashamed to explain that to supposedly "love of yo ...more
Melissa Rose
This book was cute, but super annoying in how it kept hinting at things, but took forever to reveal them.
Totally amazing. Makes science so much more interesting. Talks about cloning and transgenic.
Christine Kloss
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
Ben Chvatal
This book is science fiction, written by nancy werlin
Eli Samuels is a bright senior student, saluditorian in his class. But he isn't going to college next year. He wants to take a year off. He and his father have been fighting a lot lately. College is one more thing to argue about. Eli wants to earn the money for school. His dad and him have had money issues ever since their mother got sick, and was checked into a mental hospital. She is in a nursing home, dying of Huntington's Disease.

Eli gets
Michelle Lombardi
Double Helix is a mystery about the complexities of genetics. Eli has just graduated high school, and instead of starting college, he has taken a job as a lab assistant at Wyatt Transgenics. He knows his parents are somehow tied to the prestigious Dr. Wyatt, but he's not sure how. Every time Eli asks his father about the connection, his father angrily says that Eli should stay away from Dr. Wyatt and refuses to give him any information. Eli cannot ask his mother because she is suffering from Hun ...more
Kristina Lareau
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
3.5. I think I simultaneously liked this book while feeling some of my typical frustrations with the mystery genre. It bugs me when a book flaunts the fact that it has a big, big secret, but it won't let you know until the very end--made way worse when a character within the narrative is saying exactly that. (Eli's dad, for example, could have made things much clearer by at least revealing the part he knew early on instead of continuously saying, "Don't go work for Wyatt! Just trust me! I know s ...more
Winner of the Edgar Award for Young Adults.

Eli is about to graduate from high school, but he doesn’t want to go to college right away. Instead he applies for a summer job (one he hopes to continue through the school year) at Wyatt Transgenics to work in one of the labs there. Dr. Wyatt takes a personal interest in Eli, partly due to his former contact with Eli’s mother, and partly for reasons that Eli has yet to discover. Eli’s mother has Huntington’s Disease, and when she was younger, desperate
Double Helix by Nancy Werlin is an interesting page-turner that makes you think about the possibilities of many things. I would definitely recommend this book. At one point in the story the main character, Eli, explains to the reader what he sees. “This time the door was closed. I read the sign on it. It didn’t say ‘Elevator’ it said ‘Utility Room’.” (p.150) This line created the suspenseful mystery in the story. It got me thinking about where the plot would go from here. Where would the door l ...more
Eli, has just graduated high school and has not applied to college. He is nearly 7 feet tall, but does not like any team sports since he discovered that he could see the mistakes other team members make. He has a girlfriend, Viv, who he loves, but is not ready to truly share with. Eli's mother has Huntingdon's Disease and is deteriorating quickly. His father is a psychotherapist with a declining practice. When Eli takes a job with a genetics research laboratory, his first thoughts are that he wo ...more
Double Helix is an amazing suspenseful mystery that had me hooked right away. The main character Eli Samules loves biology and learning about genetics,especially with the medical condition that his mother has. But he doesn’t realize the roll that the work that can be done with genetics plays in his life. This quote helps to develop the suspense in this novel and at this point I couldn’t put the book down, for i had to know what was going to happen.
“It was all over for me then; I wouldn’t be abl
Daniel Osborn
So it's no surprise that I like science fiction. However I was surprised that I liked this book. Thought it was going to be a droopy Ya romance. Although it has some of that affect in there it's really a good story that held my interest. It's about a boy named Eli whose mother had HD Disease and is living with his father as she is in a mental institute. Eli writes a nasty letter to Dr. Wyatt who then he gets a call as he wants to meet Eli. He than offers him a job working for him. While there he ...more
Snapshot: One drunken night Eli sends an email to Dr. Wyatt asking for the opportunity to work in his company. To his amazement, Dr. Wyatt calls him in and offers him a position in Wyatt Transgenetics. Eli has never felt completely normal and knows that there is a link between Dr. Wyatt and his family. To top it off, his father refuses to explain his animosity against Dr. Wyatt. This and the unforeseen introduction of a beautiful college student who resembles Eli’s deceased mother, motivates Eli ...more
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Join in the discussions! 1 9 Apr 29, 2009 09:51AM  
Young Adult Book ...: * Liked it, Hated it? (spoilers) 21 41 Nov 16, 2008 09:30AM  
Young Adult Book ...: Morals and Ethics (spoilers) 7 30 Oct 25, 2008 08:35PM  
Young Adult Book ...: Book Status (no spoilers) 18 36 Oct 25, 2008 03:49PM  
Young Adult Book ...: Secrets (spoilers) 6 29 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.
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