Seventeen-year-old Laurie Stratton should be happy. She has beauty, health, a handsome boyfriend, and loving parents. But Laurie has begun to feel the presence of a double, a shadowy figure that hovers just out of her reach. It has appeared to Laurie’s family and friends; it lingers in the shadows of Laurie’s room. Is Laurie going crazy - or is someone, something, trying to take over her life?
As Laurie begins to ask questions about her ancestry, she uncovers an eerie mixture of ancient lore and paranormal powers. The more she learns, the closer the dark form moves to Laurie.
Lois Duncan is the author of 40 best-selling books for young adults. Narrator Alyssa Bresnahan’s performance highlights the suspense Duncan so adeptly weaves throughout Stranger with My Face. You’ll be hooked until Laurie’s ultimate, horrifying encounter.
©1981 Lois Duncan (P)1998 Recorded Books
Atmospheric. Creeplily plausible.
Wow, I didn't think anything could be better about a story than the fact that the great (recently "late") Lois Duncan wrote it...but the narrator Alyssa Bresnahan is absolute perfection for the role of an older teen girl living in the 1970s or early 80s. The audiobook was recorded in the 90s; when I think of the Valley Girl voice actors they could have chosen to play a young girl, I shudder! Bresnahan has a youthful tone and intonation but the poise and clear, measured diction of a woman of greater years. She is utterly convincing as a Lois Duncan protagonist: late adolescent/older teen girls who are emotionally or intellectually ready for young womanhood and frustrated when the world and people around them don't seem to recognize that in the way they want.
One other thing I was surprised by: there's a lot of material in this book about a certain non-Western culture, and while much of it was stereotypical, I still felt it was handled better than you might expect a mainstream author in the 70s to do. One of the characters has spent time living in that culture and has a pleasingly balanced view of it and its people, neither demonizing nor exotifying them. I was able to forgive Duncan for the really stereotypical stuff.
I loved all the scenes with Laurie's parents. Lois Duncan is just pitch-perfect at doing something that's a lot more difficult than readers might realize: making believable American teenage characters who didn't seem too young or too old for their age, and making them interact in realistic ways with realistically-rendered parents in the context of a modern American family.
The parents in all the Duncan books I've read all come off as people who, if they lived in real life, would indeed act talk and act the way they do. Duncan doesn't insult the reader the way so many young adult and children's -marketed books and movies do ("Home Alone" style, with kids who are always smarter than the adults and adults who make problems for the kid just for the sake of the author's putting obstacles in the kid's way). Duncan's adults usually have good reason---or at least perfectly plausible reasons based on their own backgrounds and motivations--- for not believing or supporting the teens begging for their support. This is crucial! It ups the ante for all the characters and makes the tension that much stronger.
I think I actually did shed a few tears when Laurie's mother talks about something from her past that has come back to affect the story.
Readers, rejoice! This is the original book as Lois Duncan wrote it, not the re-issued version from 2011 or 2012 that has been edited to add mention of cell phones and other 'modern" technologies and trends. Lois Duncan books are timeless. Teens and pre-teens read them in the 70s and then a generation later in the 90s. Why on earth is the present generation of young readers being treated as if they're too dumb or intolerant to read a book that's set in a time when, no, there were no cell phones to help the characters get out of their scrapes?
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