Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review of Double by Jenny Valentine

Double by Jenny Valentine.    Disney Hyperion, 2012. 
Since he was taken away from Grandad’s house, all Chap has wanted to do is flee from foster care and be on his own again.  Suddenly, he has a chance to do just that—to escape into a new identity where no one will be able to find him.  It is pure luck when the social worker at the homeless teen center shows Chap the missing persons flier about Cassiel Roadnight.  Cassiel has been missing for two years, and Chap is stunned at his resemblance to the boy.  He jumps at the chance to assume Cassiel’s identity and leave his old life behind.

 With Chap’s new life as Cass come a mother, a sister, a brother, and a home.  However, Chap’s new mother has mental problems and his older sister, Edie, feels they are controlled by Frank, their older brother.  Frank at first seems warm and welcoming, but then begins to give the impression that he is hiding something.  Chap is always on edge, worried about being discovered, feeling guilty for leading Cass’s life, and learning secrets about his new family, which lead him to believe that something is amiss.  When Chap befriends Floyd, a misfit teenager, he is shocked to learn that he is actually in terrible danger and must decide if his new identity is worth his life!

This psychological thriller by Jenny Valentine deals with family secrets, identity theft, fraud, and murder.  The novel is told through the eyes of Chap, who is a very appealing narrator, and is extremely smart.  Chap is nobody.  He does not know where his parents are, nor does he even know his last name.  He has never attended school; he was raised by his grandfather, who taught him everything—how to read, write, and cook.  The author does a remarkable job of giving Chap a vague life history.  As the book’s plot is presented, the reader learns more about Chap’s past and his relationship with Grandad.  Chap does not trust any of the adults he has dealt with since leaving his grandfather, and he is a good judge of character.  His new family is sympathetic to Chap’s situation and doesn’t push for him to reveal where he has been for two years.  However, I find it a little odd that they didn’t try harder for more information about Chap’s whereabouts.

The evolving of the plot brings tension to the story and will keep the reader engaged.  There were many surprises in this novel.  The background story between Grandad and Chap actually figures prominently into the latter part of the book. However, I cannot give anymore of the storyline away because I don’t want to spoil the surprise ending, which I did not see coming!

This is a great book for boys, but girls will enjoy it, as well.  I highly recommend it for high school and public libraries!

**Note:  The copy reviewed was an ARC received from Library Media Connection in exchange for an honest review.