Maddie and Ella are twin sisters, but they couldn't be more different. Maddie is one of the most popular girls at school; Ella has a friend or two. Maddie wears make up and is always styled just-so; Ella loves her jeans and t-shirts, and throwing her hair up into a pony tail. Maddie goes to raging parties; Ella stays home to sketch. One night, after a heated argument after Ella goes to pick Maddie up from a party, they have a car accident...and only one of them survives.
When Ella wakes up in the hospital, she doesn't know where she is or who she is. People keep calling her Maddie, and while it seems familiar, it doesn't seem quite right. It's only when she sees her sister's dead body that she realises the truth: she is Ella, not Maddie, like everyone thinks. In a split-decision, Ella decides that what is best for everyone around her, what's best for Maddie's memory, is to pretend that she is really Maddie. Ella would be no longer, but Maddie would live the life she deserved. But Maddie wasn't who Ella thought she was, and she is thrown into a world of boyfriends, of parties, of catty 'friends', of deep secrets. Caught in a web of lies and deceit, Ella has to decide whether to continue living as Maddie, sacrificing her own goals, dreams and friends to keep her sister alive, or to come clean and tell the truth.
I quite enjoyed this book. Even after hearing the entire story, and seeing into Ella's mind, I still don't understand why anyone would ever do what Ella did - I don't think it would ever cross my mind to do that - but I did like Ella as a character. She's torn between living her own life, knowing that she was to blame for her sister's death, or giving up her dreams of art school, and having a life with Josh, her best friend, for her sister to have a chance at life. She thinks that everyone would rather have Maddie than Ella, so that's what she gives them. It's a story of family, friends, secrets and lies, of discovering who she is without her sister, of realising that people love her for her.
While it was a great story, I found there were moments in about the second quarter where it dragged a little, and the ending was a little predictable, and the secrets that Maddie was hiding. However, it was a great YA fiction story, and definitely pick it up sometime. If you're interested in the audiobook version, I got mine from Audible, and it was just over 7hours long.
Tomorrow on Blogger's Bookshelf we'll be talking all things audiobooks, so make sure you head on back here if you want to know what we think about them!