G.P. Taylor,
The DoppleGanger Chronicles: The First Escape
(Saltriver, 2008)

The Isambard Dunstan School for Wayward Children is an orphanage strictly for girls. It is where twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple live -- and conduct their reign of terror over staff and other students alike, until the day writer Muzz Elliott arrives and carries off Saskia.

The twins have never been separated before. Saskia is to be raised as Elliott's daughter while Sadie remains behind at Isambard Dunstan's. Then one of Sadie's tricks goes awry. She is threatened with prison, but instead escapes the school with the help of Erik Ganger, former thief and current handyman. But their escape is not easy, and Erik and Sadie are pursued every step of the way as they rush to Muzz Elliott's house to retrieve Saskia. She, meanwhile, has discovered a deadly secret that places her in even more danger than the other two.

The DoppleGanger Chronicles: The First Escape is an odd combination of novel and graphic novel that should appeal to 10- to 14-year-olds. The graphic novel sections' artwork is simple, with faded sepia tones that match the story's early 20th-century setting, while the strong graphics of the text sections of the book are surprising and visually arresting. Add to this a rousing adventure story full of action, near escapes, enemies on all sides and clever, resourceful children, and you have a winning combination.

Though the ending is a bit too neat, it is not unexpected and young readers will love it.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Laurie Thayer

9 August 2008

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