Review: Double by Jenny Valentine

Quick review for a quick read. So I read this book a long time ago, and just forgot to write a review for it. I actually liked “Double” as it was my first read from Jenny Valentine, but thinking back upon it, I don’t know if – despite its intriguing premise – it was all that memorable, particularly with how the resolution came across, but at least it was plausible.

The story revolves around a boy who ends up assuming the identity of another boy who’s gone missing. Chap is someone on the run and so when he’s mistaken for the identity of another boy named Cassiel Roadnight, he jumps at the chance to assume the other kid’s identity. But as he tries to figure out what happened to the other boy…well, things get complicated.

This book sounds somewhat similar to the premise of Counterfeit Son, a book I haven’t read in years. It’s a very quick read, I think I read this book in a matter of hours, but while the prose is quick, the actual pacing of the novel is relatively sluggish. You definitely feel the sense of fear and awkwardness that Chap has when he enters the identity of another boy’s while evading the life he left behind.

“Here was his mother holding me tight; here was his sister asking me in. But even the dust in Cassiel’s room knew I wasn’t him.”

There was a part of me that liked the slow burn of the novel though, and some turns of the prose such as the line above. But it still feels somewhat staggered and it takes a bit for the actual mystery aspects to kick in. Mostly this book is an exploration of Chap’s past, his struggles, and why he feels the need to escape into someone else’s identity for a time.

Turns out that as the novel moves forward that his identity isn’t too far removed from the boy he’s replacing, but I can’t mention what that is for measure of spoiling the experience. I will say that while there’s an intrigue in the mystery of who Chap’s replaced and watching the pieces fall into place as to what happened, this novel’s strength lies more in the character’s unveiling in terms of who he is, where he’s come from, and eventually finding a place to come into his acceptance of himself as well as from the people who surround him.

Overall score: 3/5 stars.

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