Stranger With My Face

Book review by
Norah Caroline Piehl, Common Sense Media
Stranger With My Face Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
OK read. Teens may love the supernatural elements.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 14 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

An intelligent study of psychic phenomenon that packs an emotional punch.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The novel suggests that Laurie and Lia are able to do astral projection easily because of their Navajo blood.


Helen is knocked into a coma. One character is trampled to death by a horse. One character uses a crutch as a weapon. Laurie and Jeff are trapped in a cavern overnight. Laurie fears that Lia will take over her life. Laurie discovers she's adopted and bec

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some underage characters drink at a party.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byhm200524 November 25, 2015

Stranger with my Face book review

Title: Stranger with My Face Author: Lois Duncan Genre: Mystery

Stranger with My Face, this book is set in a beach home away from the city a... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old May 16, 2018

Suspenseful supernatural horror great for mature teens

Stranger With My Face is about a teenage girl named Laurie. Laurie is a normal girl, with a nice family and lots of friends, but her life soon changes. A girl w... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBudderlover145 September 29, 2015

The greatest book I have read in a while

Stranger With My Face
Stranger with my face is about twins by the name of Laurie and lia. Laurie was adopted by a family known as the Stratton family which was... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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?

Book details

  • Author: Lois Duncan
  • Genre: Mystery
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publication date: January 1, 1981
  • Number of pages: 235
  • Last updated: November 15, 2019

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