I rarely get books in the mail, preferring (so as to be unbiased) to get them from the library. Still, when Timothy Travaglini of Penguin Young Readers Group sent me a copy of Janette Rallison's My Double Life, I was tickled, because Rallison is one of my favorite authors and it was a thrill to see the book before it comes out on May 13th.
Alexia Garcia, a bright student whose single mother is struggling to raise her, has often been told she looks like singing sensation Kari Kingsley, but when a photo of her goes viral on the internet, Kari's manager approached Alexia with a job offer. If Alexia will impersonate Kari at minor appearances so that Kari can work on her new album, she'll be paid handsomely. Alexia agrees to do this despite her ethical reservations, because she has come to the realization that the reason she looks so much like the star is that they are half sisters; Alexia's mother was a fan of Alex Kingsley's band. Alex doesn't know about his second daughter, ans is estranged from his first, which makes matters more difficult. So does that fact that Alexia falls for hot singer Grant Delray and dates him on the sly, even though Kari has another celebrity boyfriend.
I always think that I will dislike books about celebrity life, but this was so charming. I loved Alexia, and her quest for identity was interesting. This will be very popular with fans of Rallison, as well as fans of Jen Calonita, Lola Douglas, and Meg Cabot. Very fun.
Another book about the quest for personal identity was Carolyn Marsden's Take Me With You. Set in Italy after World War II, it concerns Pina, a blonde orphan whom no one is allowed to adopt, and Susanna, who is the daughter of an Italian woman and an African American soldier. Susanna holds no hope of being adopted, but Pina hopes she will be until she finds out that her mother may be alive. When Susanna's father shows up, the two girls must struggle with their desire for families, because being taken away from the orphanage would mean separating.
This was an interesting book about a little known facet of war: the children born to women who have affairs with soldiers. The book does not delve deeply into how very difficult it was to have such a child or be such a child, which makes it easier for children today (who may not have married parents) to read, but misses some of the historical authenticity. Still, a very interesting book with a cover that captures both of the main characters as they are described in the text!