Book Review: Stranger With My Face by Lois Duncan

"I was becoming numb to surprises. I felt the way you do when you're moving to a dream and the most impossible things are happening and you're accepting them as normal. Perhaps I was dreaming. Perhaps if I hung long enough and kept myself calm and tried not to be too frightened, my eyes would snap open and I would find myself back where I had been yesterday and everything in my life in order."

--Lois Duncan, Stranger With My Face

Young adult horror book "Stranger with My Face" by Lois Duncan was originally released in 1981. The book examines concepts like appearance vs actual self and the concept of a double—someone who is nearly identical to another person but not quite. In 1981, The Stranger with My Face was awarded a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association and a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. The same story was turned into a television movie with Alexz Johnson, Catherine Hicks, Andrew Francis, and Emily Hirst in the lead roles. The Lifetime Movie Network broadcast the movie in 2009.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Laurie Stratton finally has everything a sixteen-year-old could ever want. But just as her perfect summer comes to a close, things start to unravel when her boyfriend insists he saw her out with another guy-when Laurie was really home sick! More mysterious sightings convince Laurie someone very real is out there, watching her. . . .

The truth reveals a long-lost sister who has spent the years growing bitter and dangerous. She has learned how to haunt Laurie, but the visits soon become perilous. She wants something from Laurie-her life!

My reaction to this novel...

When I was looking for a book in the horror category, I found this one and bought it as a backup to read whenever I felt like it. Since I watched Lois Duncan's novel I Know What You Did Last Summer in a movie theater and can attest to its high caliber, I was expecting this book to live up to the same standards. And I was correct; not only were my expectations satisfied, but it went much beyond that. The narrative was both spooky and excellent. I couldn't read it nonstop because I thought someone was staring at me. My imagination is playing tricks on me, and I can't help but be afraid.

This is the first book I've ever read where the subject is astral projection. It was quite scary. Although I could both feel and suspect what the adversary in the novel desired for the main character, I was both apprehensive and startled when the twist was revealed. I learned that this book is also being turned into a movie when I was doing research about the book, therefore I am quite interested in seeing it. The plot of this book was so compelling that I found it difficult to put it down, so I hope it does its credit.

There were also occasions when the main character's stubbornness frustrated me, particularly when something unfortunate occurred to her friend Helen. I was particularly saddened by Helen's situation and what happened to their friendship. I was really moved by Helen's sincerity and deeply disappointed by how the tale developed as a result of what happened to her. If this had actually occurred, it would have been terrible, especially if your sole friend suffers from that. Anyway, I'm doing my best not to offer any spoilers here, but it's incredibly hard for me because I keep thinking so many things about the book's narrative. I'm holding back from sharing the twist of the story.

I truly want to urge everyone who hasn't read it before to do so, as well as readers of horror, thriller, and suspense books. While reading this, you'll undoubtedly feel anxious and notice that the hair on the back of your neck is standing up. Even though the novel is straightforward and easy to read because to the author's writing style, its simplicity doesn't result in a dull narrative. In fact, it makes you long for the author's next work. It is worth reading and really deserves a spot on your bookshelf.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(5/5)

“Life continues, and we all of us keep changing and building, toward what we cannot know.”

Everything that happens to us, or even to others around us, must occur. It will not stop when we are delighted, and it will not stop when we are unhappy. It continues to flow and generate new moments for all living beings in the earth, not just ourselves. So, even if something horrible happens, especially if you hear bad news, we may consider that it will not last forever, that there is always a limit to it, and that the following day we will wake up in a different circumstance than we were in the day before.


Disclaimer: Booksreadbyhannel is not a business website. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and based only on my own feelings and reactions while reading the books I featured here in my blog. My reviews reflect my utmost sincerity. I paid for the books I review here out of my own pocket. Books provided by authors and publishers are otherwise specified.