Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including the Children of Exile series, The Missing series, the Under Their Skin series, and the Shadow Children series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her at HaddixBooks.com.
Gr 5-8-One October evening, Bethany's parents drive her to another state to stay with an aunt she never knew existed. Left confused and without a way to contact her parents, the 12-year-old tries to figure out the reason behind their strange behavior and learns some family secrets in the process. It turns out that she is the clone of her sister, who was killed years earlier in a tragic automobile accident, and she is being hunted by a man who wants to expose her secret existence for his own benefit. Although there is not much action, the twists and turns of the suspense-filled plot are more than enough to keep readers interested. When one question is answered, another one is raised. Readers will relate to Bethany's feelings of abandonment, as well as her struggle to set herself apart from the sister she never knew but with whom she shares so much. This quick, engaging read is a good choice for reluctant readers.-Michele Capozzella, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Haddix (the Shadow Children series) releases another suspenseful pageturner here narrated by Bethany Cole. As the novel opens, Bethany is anxious; her father has barely let her out of his sight and her mother has been weeping for months. Now, a few days before her 13th birthday, her father has put the two of them in the car, headed West. He leaves Bethany with her Aunt Myrlie and drives off with no explanation. The only clue Bethany has is what she heard her father say to her aunt, "She doesn't know anything about Elizabeth." Bethany is determined to learn why she has been left with an aunt she never knew existed, and what the mysterious Elizabeth has to do with it all. Later, Bethany appears to be in danger from a stalker-perhaps she is not the only one searching for answers. Haddix conveys Bethany's dismay and fear through believable dialogue and thoughts-the girl's growing awareness of uncanny similarities between herself and Elizabeth (their love of Froot Loops and tough vocabulary words)-and believably charts the heroine's slow warming to her aunt and cousin. Bethany's gradual feelings of anger and resentment towards her parents are particularly poignant. Haddix's timely novel raises provocative issues about what makes an individual unique, with both compassion and clarity. Ages 10-14. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
[A] twisting plot and spine-tingling creepiness.
-- Kirkus Reviews