By: A J Rushby
Genre: YF - Children's / Teenage fiction & true stories
Published by: Scholastic Australia
Published: 1 Oct 2022
ISBN: 9781761290558


When new girl Millie shows up at Lena’s boarding school, she arrives with a question. Why is Lena pretending to be someone she’s not? Lena ignores her. Until Millie shows her photo after photo of someone who looks like her. Exactly like her. Intrigued, Lena agrees to meet her look-alike, Saskia. Saskia is wild. And rich. And money is something Lena desperately needs if her mother is to stay in the care home she currently lives in.

So when Saskia offers Lena cold, hard cash to stand in for her at family events, Lena finds she can’t say no. Sometimes, she doesn’t even want to say no—to the weekends away, the beautiful clothes, the amazing food and Saskia’s on-again-off-again boyfriend, Rhys. Until, of course, she agrees to one last job. The one she definitely should have said no to. Because that job might be the last thing she ever does.

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Lena goes to boarding school and her Mum, who is not well, lives in a care home just up the road. Her mum’s childhood friend Marek pays for Lena’s school fees, as well as her mum’s accommodation. When Marek is extradited to Poland, Lena is in full panic mode. How is she going to pay for her mum’s care?

Millie is a new girl at her school and she is convinced that Lena is Saskia, and she is in hiding. Lena tries telling her that she isn’t, but Millie is adamant and after showing her photos of Saskia, Lena discovers they look alike - exactly alike. Out of curiosity Lena agrees to meet Saskia, and so begins Lena’s secret life, standing in for Saskia at family events and functions that she doesn’t want to go to. Saskia is rich and willing to pay Lena a lot of money to cover for her, but she is also reckless. And Lena can’t say no, as she desperately needs the money for her mum.

Her biggest problem is Saskia’s dad, who is a very scary man, with very scary friends. What will he do if he finds out what Lena and Saskia are up to? After a few close calls Lena decides it’s all too risky, and she is not going to do any more jobs for Saskia, but Saskia convinces her to cover for her one last time. But this time it all goes terribly wrong, and Lena doesn’t know if she will ever see her Mum again. Can she figure out a way back?

This is a thrilling story of deception, and how easily people accept what they expect to see. Lena is a great character, who is strong and determined and loves her mum and will do anything to help her. Saskia is manipulative and cunning, and thinks nothing of lying to get her own way. It’s a fast-paced story that will keep you intrigued to the last page, with a twist at the end that I thoroughly enjoyed. Perfect for students in Year 9 and above.

Reviewed by Michelle