Regina's Reviews > Double

Double by Jenny Valentine
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's review
Dec 19, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: ya, arc-publisher-netgalley-edelweiss
Read from February 08 to 10, 2012

3.5. Stars.

Double is both a who-dunnit and a tale of a sad lonely boy on his own in England. At first, Double appears to be a case of mistaken identity, but really that storyline is just to pull the reader in. The premise is crazy, unbelievable. – a teenage runaway (Boy #1) who is living in a home for runaway children is thought to be the lost son and brother (Boy #2) of a family that lost a son of theirs two years ago. And this runaway boy (Boy #1) is able to convince the family of Boy #2 – that he is their son. The runaway boy (Boy #1) is “Chap” , however he is believed to be “Cassiel” (Boy #2). When Chap first looks at a picture of the lost and missing Cassiel, Chap thinks it is a picture of himself. The resemblance between the two boys is exact. So what does a lonely boy who has nobody to care for him do? He steps into the life of Cassiel. The act of being Cassiel was almost not a conscious act. The social workers thought he was Cassiel and Chap is so alone, he is desperate to have a family and he is desperate to be someone. If you have read The Likeness by Tana French, then you know the basic (but crazy) set-up.

Double is told from the point of view of Chap (Boy #1). His pain, his insecurity and his loneliness are described in a way that I was able to believe it Chap is desperate for a life, for a family but the life he steps in to is not as perfect as he imagined. He is immediately sucked in to an intrigue of why Cassiel is gone. Every step Chap takes, every word he says, he wonders – would Cassiel have said it this way? Will they know I am not Cassiel? Does she know I am not Cassiel? Chap has such sweet love and appreciate for his new “mom” and his “sister”. The love he feels and appreciation he has for having a “home” was truly heartbreaking. It made my heartbreak for children who do not have a home or parents. This ache for love, for relationships was so well-described. Ms. Valentine captures very well the level of insecurity a young unloved and alone in the world boy would feel. My only complaint is there is too much of this fear and inner monologue going on in the story. But hey, it is told from the perspective of a teenaged boy, so it is believable.

In the background of the story is Chap’s tale and this is where the beauty of this book lies. Through flashbacks, Chap remembers where he came from, “who” he is and why he is alone and on the run. So woven through the tension of who killed Cassiel and the whole will-they-know-I-am-not-Cassiel-thing is Chap’s own background story.

Double has quite a few twists and turns which are done really well. I had a few theories about what happened to Cassiel, who caused his disappearance and why Chap was on the run. But I was only half right. This is a gripping and emotional tale that will likely keep you guessing.

There are young adult books that are clearly written for an older audience level, this is not one of those stories. This is a book that can be enjoyed by the older young adult crowd but is also appropriate for younger adult readers. I am grading it 3.5 stars because in the end, it was a simple story that while moving, was not fantastic. But, I am excited to have my daughter read this book and I am glad to have read it. I think it would make a fantastic movie.

There is no sex or romance in this story but there is a reference to being a virgin. There is some violence, but not graphic. This would be suitable for most 6th grade students and above.

Oh and for those who have read it or for those who are not going to read it, (view spoiler)
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Reading Progress

30.0% "I am really liking this book and it is suprising me. It is sort of a YA version of The Likeness by Tana French." 4 comments
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Stacia (the 2010 club) How is it?

Regina I am starting this morning. I hope I like it -- I requested to Disney published books from netgalley, this is one -- I dnfed the other one (but a different author).

message 3: by Tatiana (new) - added it

Tatiana Regina, do you get approved ok by Disney? They ALWAYS deny my requests with a message they only give ARCs to industry professionals and librarians. Guess it's a BS excuse?

Regina Tatiana, what books did you request and when? I am thinking it may be timing and book dependant. Or maybe they have since changed their policy? I requested this book and The Way We Fall. I requested these months ago, so perhaps that was it? I am guessing Disney won't approve me again though, because I DNFed The Way We Fall.

message 5: by Tatiana (new) - added it

Tatiana I requested The Way We Fall as well, maybe a month ago. And maybe a couple of other books prior to that, and always with the same result.

Regina I promise you that you are not missing anything with that one. I requested it longer than that, I added them to my shelves on GR on 12/19 so I am sure I requested them prior to that.

message 7: by Tatiana (new) - added it

Tatiana Ok:) Thanks for answering. NG is a mysterious place...

message 8: by Tatiana (new) - added it

Tatiana I just read your spoiler. Isn't it awful we even would think this way? YA seems to have normalized/popularized this sort of plot.

Regina It is pretty a sad comment on the popularization of that theme in YA books. I was gripping and preparing myself for the moment where it happened. Thankfully it never did.

message 10: by Damali (new)

Damali aw, man. Only 3 stars? I need a YA contemporary. :(

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