Age Range: 12 - 14
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A tale of twins—one dead, one alive—becomes an ineffective hybrid: part ghost story, part multiple-personality yarn, part romance. When goody-goody Janine, 16, cuts school to go for a ride with budding boyfriend Scott, both of them are critically injured when another driver smashes into their car. Janine has a near-death experience in which her mischievous twin, Lenore, who drowned at age four, moves into Janine’s body to sample the life she’s missed. It’s a promising start—is Lenore a real spirit presence, or just a manifestation of Janine’s darker side? Revelations—that it was Janine who died when they were four, and that Lenore took Janine’s name and became a compulsively “good” girl in the wake of the accident—won’t surprise mystery fans (or viewers of spidery Bette Davis films). The real disappointment is the agelessness of the dead twin, whose sexual appetites and use of contemporary slang place her as a teenager, but who can also be jarringly childlike. An astute therapist grounds the story; so does the twins’ mother, who knows the truth but believes the surviving twin must come to it on her own. The ending—Janine/Lenore accepts that she is a blend of two people, good and bad—is a valiant attempt to bring many ideas together, but the plotting overwhelms Littke (Blue Skye, 1991, etc.); wavering between full-blown grotesque and moments of deep feeling, her story gets lost in the middle. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8050-5729-3
Page count: 220pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1998


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