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Cover image for Double identity
Double identity






1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, ©2005.
Physical Description:
218 pages ; 22 cm
Thirteen-year-old Bethany's parents have always been overprotective, but when they suddenly drop out of sight with no explanation, leaving her with an aunt she never knew existed, Bethany uncovers shocking secrets that make her question everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.
Reading Level:
Ages 10-14.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader/Renaissance Learning MG 5.0 8.

Accelerated Reader MG 5.0 8.0.

Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.0 8.0.

Reading Counts 6-8 6.1 13.0 Quiz:

Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.0 8.0 101056.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.1 13 Quiz: 37222 Guided reading level: X.


Call Number
J Haddix, M.
J Haddix

On Order



So my only protection is a kindergarten teacher and a ninety-eight-pound female minister....And they don't even believe I'm in danger.
As Bethany approaches her thirteenth birthday, her parents begin acting more oddly than usual: Her mother cries constantly, and her father barely lets Bethany out of his sight. Then one morning he hustles the entire family into the car, drives across several state lines -- and leaves Bethany with an aunt she never knew existed. Bethany has no idea what's going on. She's worried that her mom and dad are running from some kind of trouble, but she can't find out because they won't tell her where they are going.
Bethany's only clue is a few words she overheard her father tell her aunt Myrlie: "She doesn't know anything about Elizabeth." But Aunt Myrlie won't tell Bethany who Elizabeth is, and she won't explain why people in her small town react to Bethany as if they've seen a ghost. The mystery intensifies when Bethany gets a package from her father containing four different birth certificates from four states, with four different last names -- and thousands of dollars in cash. And when a strange man shows up asking questions, Bethany realizes she's not the only one who's desperate to unravel the secrets of her past.
In this exhilarating thriller, Margaret Peterson Haddix crafts a taut story so full of twists and turns, readers will be gripped until the startling conclusion.

Author Notes

Margaret Peterson Haddix was born in Washington Court House, Ohio on April 9, 1964. She received bachelor's degrees in English/journalism, English/creative writing, and history from Miami University in 1986. Before becoming an author, she was a copy editor for The Journal-Gazette, a newspaper reporter for The Indianapolis News, an instructor at Danville Area Community College, and a freelance writer. Her first book, Running Out of Time, was published in 1995. She has written more than 30 books including Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey, Just Ella, Turnabout, The Girl with 500 Middle Names, Because of Anya, and Into the Gauntlet. She also writes the Shadow Children series and the Missing series. She has won the International Reading Association Children's Book Award and several state Readers' Choice Awards.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

PW called this a "timely novel that raises provocative issues about what makes an individual unique, with both compassion and clarity. A suspenseful pageturner." Ages 10-14. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Left with an aunt she's just met in a town full of people who inexplicably recognize her, only-child Bethany discovers that her parents had another life--and another child--before her. Haddix uses the issue of cloning to amplify normal issues of sibling rivalry and parental love, but occasionally loses focus when pursuing intrigue rather than emotion. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Bethany's life has always been safe and protected; her parents comfort her, spoil her and spend frequent quality time with her. But one day, when she's almost 13, her parents bundle her into the car and drive her to Sanderfield, Ill., where they leave her with an aunt she never knew she had. Aunt Myrlie is kind, but nobody will tell Bethany where her parents have gone. Why do Myrlie, her adult daughter and the Sanderfield townspeople stare at Bethany as if she's a ghost? Who is this mysterious "Elizabeth" she keeps hearing about? As Bethany finds answers to some of her questions, a mysterious man follows her around town. Tough philosophical puzzles are raised here, though explored too lightly, as Bethany confronts identity, free will, ethics vs. law and whether parents should live vicariously through their children. A surprisingly comforting resolution concludes this safe but compelling thriller. Bethany's discovery of her own identity makes for a mystery well worth solving. (Science fiction. 10-12) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-8. The author of Escape from Memory (2003) and the Shadow Children series has penned another suspenseful sf novel guaranteed to keep readers riveted. After her mother suffers a nervous breakdown, 12-year-old Bethany Cole is deposited with Myrlie Wilker, an aunt of whom she has never heard. Myrlie and several other residents of Sanderfield, Illinois, do a double take when they see Bethany--for she reminds them of Elizabeth, Bethany's heretofore-unknown older sister, who died some 20 years earlier. In carefully crafted, gripping prose, Haddix slowly reveals the family secrets that have been kept from Bethany all these years: her sister's death, her parent's desperate grief, and the deal they made with a wealthy businessman. The ending is a little too neat, but Haddix's fans aren't likely to notice; secondary themes concerning cloning ethics and personal identity are also nicely handled, which makes this a good companion to Nancy Werlin's Double Helix (2004). --Kay Weisman Copyright 2005 Booklist