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Original Essays | September 4, 2014

Edward E. Baptist: IMG The Two Bodies of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

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4 Hawthorne Children's Young Adult- General



Identical Cover

ISBN13: 9781416950059
ISBN10: 1416950052
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Author's Note

When I was invited to write a poem especially for my readers, one that related in some way to Identical, a number of ideas came to mind. I thought I might write from the father’s point of view, or maybe the mother's, or Ian's. The funny thing about poetry is, you can't force it. Often the best poems just seem to float into your head.

Now, as I write this, the word "float" floats into my head. For some reason, flight is one of my brain's most popular themes. Birds. Wings. Aeries. For Kaeleigh, flight would have to be something she thinks about, too. Not just winged flight, but escape. There is a scene in Identical where Raeanne is looking out the window and sees a condor. That scene kept coming to mind as I thought about this poem. I thought about raptors. Nests — aeries. Thought about building an aerie, branch-by-branch, then feathering it to cushion the eggs from sharp twigs. Turned out, I couldn't use a condor in the poem, because condors don't build aeries. They find small caves, and lay their eggs directly on the stone surface.

Eagles, however, build aeries. I've seen amazing bald eagle nests, especially in Alaska, where they're huge. Where I live, here in Northern Nevada, we do have bald eagles. But goldens are much more common. I've seen one close up, as I walked my dogs. The bird lifted into the air, with about a six foot wing span. I've seen another dive into the brush, emerge with a snake, then drop the reptile to stun it before claiming it for dinner. They are amazing, beautiful animals, deserving of respect and admiration.

Please enjoy "Aeries," written especially for you.


Small against the mountain,
an afterthought of time,
she fastens her jacket, shrugs
into down. Climbs. This place,
of granite spires and tremor
strewn boulders, gives sanctuary.

The mist has lifted, revealing
sky, pale beneath February's
drowsing sun. A knife-edged
cry demands attention as an eagle
joins his mate in rebuilding the aerie.
The girl has seen this pair
before, talons clutching branches.

Binoculars disclose the nest,
sheltered by a feldspar canopy.
How big it has grown, this intricate
weave of harvested brushwood
and sharp-scented greens, quilted
with the raptors' own feathers.
A cushion for fragile shells
and April fledglings.

She watches the goldens' hushed
rise, harmony on wing, envies
their effortless drift beyond
the undulating valley below.
She is here because her home
is there — an aerie, woven
of secrets, feathered with lies.

—Ellen Hopkins

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

Alicia Wright, May 10, 2012 (view all comments by Alicia Wright)
This book was amazing! I couldn't put it down. Like most of Ellen Hopkin's books, you're left wanting more, and wondering what happened. Identical really hits home to those that have gone through abuse. You feel what the main characters feel. You get attached, and close to the ending, a twist is thrown upon you. I recommend this book to anyone who likes twisted novels.
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Miss_Misfit, February 29, 2012 (view all comments by Miss_Misfit)
This book leaves you gasping and wondering. Hopkins writing is amazing and can leave you guessing. The little secrets Kaliegh and Raenne kept from their family, their friends, and themselves. Kaliegh carries a secret burden that almost destroys her. Raenne tries her best to protect her twin from the world and from herself. The twisted past, and dark future make this book a nail biter and a mind boggler. How can a family be so disorientated, still survive? And how can two girls be so unlike. even if they are identical?
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SweetNSpice24, May 1, 2011 (view all comments by SweetNSpice24)
Identical by Ellen Hopkins was a novel that I could rave about all day; not only is it fantastic within its storyline and format, but it is not like anything else out there. Told in a unique format of freestyle poems that compare and contrast with each other, Identical takes a look into the lives two twins who clearly have experienced immense emotional damage, which leads them to drugs, cutting, bulimia, and poor decisions. The theme of the book is physical and emotional destruction, which is obvious throughout the story, along with sub-themes of romance and family.
The whole novel is incredibly far-fetched; I was in disbelief while reading, but that’s what made Identical so interesting. I was struck with emotion in many parts, I could almost feel the pain the twins were experiencing. The author definitely intended for you to feel this, especially by creating some poems in structures that made certain areas more intense. “No razor burn. No razor nicks. No more hair. Legs are smooth. But still fat. Open my skin. Right ankle. Left ankle. White flesh. Red polka dots. Ha! That’s funny. Ouch. Stings. Behind right knee. Left knee. Oops. A little deep. Blood pumps. Check it out. Thump. Thump. Oh my God. Can I stop it? Who really cares? The drain runs red.” This novel was consistently gripping and captivating, however, the strongest and most surprising part would no doubt be the climax and the ending. All factors in the book come together, and the truth leaves you shocked. It had me thinking back to the beginning of the book, I would definitely consider re-reading because your whole perspective would be changed. At the end, everything wrapped up nicely, and left me wondering, which is a thing that any spectacular book like Identical should do.
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Product Details

Hopkins, Ellen
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Family problems
Family - General
Social Issues - Sexual Abuse
Social Issues - Emotions & Feelings
Social Issues - Drugs, Alcohol, & Substance Abuse
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-Emotions and Feelings
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
sexual abuse; twins; family; incest; sex; rape; therapy; death; sibling; sister; abusive father; cutting; slit wrists; razor; bulimia; binge; purge; drugs; pills; prescription; OxyContin; alcohol;
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 9
f/c jkt + emboss
7 x 5 in
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

» Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse
» Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Emotions and Feelings
» Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Sexual Abuse
» Young Adult » General

Identical Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 576 pages Margaret K. McElderry Books - English 9781416950059 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Using free verse as her vehicle, Hopkins (Crank, Glass) takes readers on a harrowing ride into the psyches of 16-year-old identical twins Kaeleigh and Raeanne, both of whom are racing toward self-destruction. The girls' family appears picture-perfect. Their father is a prominent judge, their mother is running for Congress, and both girls do well in school. But ever since an accident, 'Mom doesn't love anyone./ She is marble. Beautiful./ Frigid. Easily stained/ by her family. What's left/ of us, anyway. We are corpses.' Raeanne seeks escape in sex and drugs; Kaileigh binges and cuts herself. Brief, gutsy confessions reveal a history of sexual abuse and emotional neglect, and it's not clear that both girls will survive it. Hopkins's verse is not only lean and sinuous, it also demonstrates a mastery of technique. Strategically placed concrete verse includes a poem about revenge shaped like a double-edged sword; in another, about jealousy, the lines form one heart reflecting another, until a rupture breaks the symmetry at the bottom. Often, the twins' entries mirror each other, on facing pages: although used differently in the two poems, the same key words are set off in corresponding stanzas ('think./ How/ different/ life./ could be' reads one set of key words). Those for whom Uncle Vampire means something will anticipate the still-breathless climax; all others, including most of the target audience, will be shocked. Ages 14 — up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Kaeleigh and Raeanne are the twin daughters of a district-court judge and a politician mother. They are identical in almost every way, but each girl has dark secrets. The bestselling author of "Crank" gives voice to victims of childhood sexual abuse, in a moving and disturbing novel.
"Synopsis" by ,

Do twins begin in the womb?

Or in a better place?

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court judge father and a politician mother, they are an all-American family — on the surface. Behind the facade each sister has her own dark secret, and that's where their differences begin.

For Kaeleigh, she's the misplaced focus of Daddy's love, intended for a mother whose presence on the campaign trail means absence at home. All that Raeanne sees is Daddy playing a game of favorites — and she is losing. If she has to lose, she will do it on her own terms, so she chooses drugs, alcohol, and sex.

Secrets like the ones the twins are harboring are not meant to be kept — from each other or anyone else. Pretty soon it's obvious that neither sister can handle it alone, and one sister must step up to save the other, but the question is — who?

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