Thursday, June 27, 2013

Linked by Imogen Howson

Published June 11th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. 

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed. 

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world. 

Rating: 4/5


Elissa was born with an identical twin.  The government took this twin at birth and classified her as a "nonhuman human-sourced entity."  They kept her in a secret facility and, for reasons that aren't revealed until the end, did things that caused her to be in physical pain.

Meanwhile, Lissa got to live a normal life with her mom, dad, and older brother - until three years ago, when she began to experience halucinations, inexplicable pain, and bruises that appear out of nowhere.  Just after she schedules a surgery that is promised to cure her, she discoveres the truth: all of her symptoms are caused by a psychic link between her and the twin sister she didn't know existed.  The pains and bruises are echoes of the pain her twin has been experiencing, and the halucinations are actually visions of the twin's life.  The twin, who names herself Lin, has escaped and needs Lissa's help.

This book had more sci-fi aspects than I expected from reading the description.  For one, it doesn't even take place on Earth, but on a planet called Sekoia.  Another is that space travel played an important role.  Other things, such as terraforming, are mentioned in passing.

One of the most interesting parts of this book, for me, was seeing Lin develop empathy for others.  Lin has been repeatedly told that she isn't human, and those she's known who are considered human have done nothing but hurt her.  In the beginning, she holds negative feelings towards everyone who was classified as human, except for Lissa, and doesn't understand why she should care what happens to them.  I liked seeing her begin to do selfless things for other people.

Something else I liked was how Lissa and Lin connected as sisters.  Lin already knew that Lissa existed, but Lissa had no idea about Lin.  Although she applies the term "sister" to Lin almost right away, it takes longer for Lissa to really trust her.

Although the aspects I most enjoyed about this book were the character development aspects, it was also very fast-paced and had plenty of action.  There was near-constant suspense over the possibility of Lissa and Lin being caught, and a little bit of a mystery in what the government was using Lin and others like her for.

There were things about this  book I didn't understand.  I wasn't sure if there was something special about twins that made them ideal for the government's purposes, or if any human would do, but a twin was just easiest to take.  I like this could have been explained more thoroughly.

I also didn't think that the side characters were developed enough.  Near the end of the book, Lissa describes her relationship with some of the side characters as being "something like family", but I just didn't feel that connection at all.  Since this is a series, I'm hoping these characters will be expanded upon in the future.

This book wasn't perfect, but it was a fun, fast read.  I enjoyed it.

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