25. Doppelganger by David Stahler Jr.
Have you heard of the doppelganger? A whole new class of boogeymen, doppelgangers are creatures that feed off human society. No, not vampires. Doppelgangers, look-alikes, shape-shifters.
Doppelgangers can take on the form of any human they wish-that is, any human they kill. It's just a way of being, as natural as spiders killing insects, or wolves killing sheep. So claims the mother of our nameless hero. But "he" is different. He can't even stand to kill a fly, much less the puppy his mom brings home for the purpose. Can this young doppelganger defy his nature?
This book is sweet and cute while simultaneously haunting. It's a very simple story of a teen coming of age, but a teen with a dark and unique power that has unusual consequences. I read it in one day, and enjoyed it. Though a fast read, it has some deeper issues to contemplate. In what's becoming the traditional YA novel, it blends tough issues such as abuse and crime with simple language and a basic plot.
However, the book does sometimes have the tone of; "Here, kids, this is an age-appropriate discussion of what it's like to be physically and emotionally abused and act that out toward others!" I appreciate what it's trying to do, but I sometimes wonder if it's doing a disservice, past a certain point, not to use the images and words that best fit the subject matter. Doppelganger is a dark little zinger of a novel, though maybe ultimately forgettable.