Stranger With My Face
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that some inconsistent plot elements and a narrator whose voice sounds a little too wise for her years can't distract from a fascinating study of psychic phenomenon.
What's the story?
Sixteen-year-old Laurie finally has it made: She has a handsome boyfriend and a popular group of friends. Things start to fall apart, though, when Laurie's boyfriend swears he saw Laurie meeting another boy, even though Laurie was home sick.
Other unexplained sightings convince Laurie that she has a double, and when the mysterious figure claims to be her twin sister, Laurie investigates. Laurie discovers that she was adopted at birth, although her sister Lia was not. Instead, Lia bounced from foster home to foster home, growing more bitter--and more dangerous.
Now, although her body is confined, Lia visits Laurie through astral projection. When Laurie's friends start to get hurt, Laurie suspects Lia's trying to take over her life. Will Laurie embrace her newfound sister, or will she protect her adoptive family?
Is it any good?
This book isn't a mystery in the classic sense; as soon as Laurie's friend, Helen, is discovered battered and abandoned, the reader knows Laurie's double is responsible. The real mystery of the story, though, is which path Laurie will choose: Will she explore her psychic powers and her past, or will she embrace the present and defend her family?
As intriguing as this question becomes, and as menacing a figure as Lia is, these elements of the novel are almost secondary to the exploration of astral projection that's at the heart of the story. Duncan makes out-of-body travel seem so commonplace that even the most literal-minded readers might lose some of their skepticism. In fact, most readers will be so absorbed by these supernatural elements that they'll overlook many of the book's inconsistencies. Laurie tells us this story at age 17, only a year after the events described, but her voice often sounds more middle-age than teenage -- she repeatedly refers to her younger siblings as "the children," for example.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the supernatural elements of the story.
Do you think people really can have psychic powers?
What do you think of the notion of out-of-body travel?