Monday, January 03, 2011

Three Black Swans, by Caroline B. Cooney

Note: We failed to post a couple of contest entries, so the last three book reviews will go up between now and Wednesday. Better late than never, right?

Contest Book #19

First cousins Missy and Claire, the heroines of Caroline B. Cooney's latest novel Three Black Swans, are so close they can finish each other's sentences. They also look uncannily similar, so when Missy is assigned a school project on scientific hoaxes, she and Claire successfully trick her classmates into thinking they are long-lost identical twins. A video of the girls' dramatic "reunion" is posted online, but what began as a joke raises some very disturbing questions—particularly when a third teen contacts them, claiming to be their triplet.

If Three Black Swans had been written by any other author, my suspicions about where the plot was heading might have gone in a very different direction. (Human clones? Space aliens? A science experiment gone wrong?) But Cooney has made a career out of writing angst-filled suspense novels about long-buried family secrets, and it was immediately obvious that this was yet another entry in a long list of smart, teen-friendly dramas about dishonest parents and courageous children. I found certain plot elements—like the speed with which the video reaches the third girl, or Missy's parents' efforts to conceal the circumstances of her birth—far-fetched, but Cooney's many fans are sure to enjoy her latest effort.

[Review based on a publisher-provided copy.]

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