Sunday, April 09, 2006

Double Helix ****1/2

Werlin, Nancy. Double Helix. New York: Dial, 2004.

This book received a starred review in SLJ. I have to agree that this was quite a good book. I have to say, however, that I was expecting something different. Because of the title and cover, I expected a medical/scientific type thriller. While it was, I wasn't expecting as much characterization. The book goes into the characters' emotions and motivations. The story was less about genetics and more about the characters.

Eli lives with his father in Cambridge. He is about the graduate HS but is putting off college for a year, despite being salutatorian. He has a strained relationship with his father. His mother is in a nursing home with Huntington's Disease and is dying. He has been dating Viv for a year, yet she has never met his father and has no idea his mother is dying. Eli gets a job working at a lab with the mysterious Dr. Wyatt, who has a connection with his family, but he doesn't know what that is. Eli's father begs him to not work there, but refuses to tell him why he doesn't want him around this Dr. Wyatt.

Things come to a head all at once. Eli breaks up with Viv and his relationship with his father becomes even more strained. Eli starts to put pieces together after his mother dies which leads to him trying to figure out what the mystery is at the lab that it is clear his father and Dr. Wyatt are both trying to hide.

Highly recommended to fans of suspense and science/medical themed fiction.

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