My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Initial reaction: I’m really glad I had the opportunity to read “Identity Theft”, considering it’s among the kind of stories I usually enjoy. It took a while to find its stride and I think I was put off a little by the info-dumpish, pop culture dropping beginning, but once the story started rolling, it became rather entertaining, even if, admittedly, I’ve read quite a few stories like this before.
Confession time: I’ve never read any of Anna Davies’s books before now, but “Identity Theft” certainly encourages me to take a step forward. Reading this was a bit of a throwback to teen horror books I read in my youth from Scholastic Point, and I couldn’t be more happy taking the trip back to memory lane. The difference is that this has a modern stamp written all over it, social media incriminations included. And dare I say that this was actually a fun horror story? Even if the heroine was likely the type who would choose the banana over the knife? It’s a pretty cut and dry horror read, complete with a few twists that up the ante in a R.L. Stine Goosebumps kind of way.
The story revolves around a young woman named Hayley who is at the top of her school’s food chain socially and academically. She’s worked hard to vy for the chief editing position of her newspaper, and she’s vying for a tough scholarship that will get her into the school of her choice, among other things. Yet that all comes crashing down when Hayley realizes that someone sets up a dummy Facebook profile of her (it’s definitely not her considering her former friends chased her off back in the 9th grade). The profile features a girl who looks like her and has incriminating photos. Yet that’s only the beginning as Hayley not only realizes the FB profile isn’t simply a cruel photoshopping joke, but the start of something far more sinister.
Leave it to a long lost twin sister trying to steal your identity to muck things up. The twin sister really doesn’t come into the picture until a good while into the book, so for those readers expecting “epic twin face-off” moment from the get-go, it’ll take a bit (but believe me, it happens!). There were a few issues in the book in the beginning with info-dumping and pop culture references that might make the book a little dated as time passes, but once the story started with the manipulations, it was a smooth read to the end for me. I had fun with it, and I think it depends on how you approach it as to what your experience reading this will be like. I wouldn’t say it’s a story that’s terrifying as much as it aims to keep you guessing what will happen next and expose many of the challenging moments Hayley has when discovering the existence of her twin, as well as the plot to invade her life.
And oh my word, that twist ending was probably right on point with what I come to expect from this genre. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but I think if you don’t mind a rather traditional teen horror romp, and can find interest in watching the ride despite its familiar troupes, this is a good story to go into. I enjoyed it very much and would be willing to pick up more of what’s to come with Point Horror as well as Anna Davies’ works with respect to this.
Overall score: 3.5/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Scholastic.