Stranger with my Face is a YA suspense novel by Lois Duncan, updated to have more modernized text.
Laurie Stratton just had the best summer of her life. She caught the eye of Gordon, her high school's best looking and most popular guy, and began dating him. After spending her entire life as the girl who sits alone reading, suddenly being part of the popular group, going to parties, and being noticed is like a dream-come-true. So for once she is looking forward to the first day of school, because her senior year is looking to be the best by far.
She almost thought that she wasn't going to make it on the first day because she had gotten so sick the day before and had to miss an amazing party she was planning on going to with Gordon the day before. But it looked to be a 24-hour bug, just like her Mom suspected.
But when she got to the ferry, which took all the Brighton Island kids to the school, Gordon and her new friends seemed to be giving her a cold shoulder. It doesn't take her long to realize they believe she lied about being sick because they saw her on the beach with another guy. Gordon is mad, and Laurie's just plain confused and hurt. She knows she was in bed all day yesterday - how can they be so sure?
And similar occurrences begin piling up. Her dad mentions seeing her go up to her room when she'd still been at school. The outcast guy with a burned face in her class tells her she should be careful going too close to the slippery edge of the cliffs, when Laurie knows she never does. It's as if someone is stealing her life - someone who looks just like her.
She doesn't know the worst of it...
Stranger with my Face always had a very appealing synopsis to me. The idea of a double of yourself walking around is always disturbing, and I knew that Lois Duncan would bring the creepy, paranoid, who-is-impersonating me chill to the thriller, and indeed she did.
The novel also has a raw look at relationships and coming-of-age pains, while maintaining a constant level of suspense, scares, and mystery. The atmosphere of the secluded Brighton Island, especially the house Laurie lives in with her family, has a claustrophobic air to it. Add that to the frightening and worrisome revelations that come to light and you've got a horror novel for sure.
Out of the last two Lois Duncan books I have read, Stranger with my Face was a little slower than I prefer, which I found surprising. The tense quality was always present, and the writing was excellent and flowed smoothly, but I always seemed to be a step ahead of Laurie. So though the novel was still interesting, that become frustrating for me.
However, the ending was a total shocker for me. It was chilling and satisfying and quite something.
Stranger with my Face is not my favorite Lois Duncan book, I didn't love all the twists, but it was still a great read and still freaky enough to leave your night light on!
*I received a review copy of Stranger with my Face from Hachette Book Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.
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