Customer Reviews for

Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope

Average Rating 4.5
( 102 )
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(60)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Unbelievable Mistake

I'm in tenth grade and doing a book review for class. I read the book Mistaken Identity by Mark Tabb along with the Van Ryn and Creak family. It is a true story about some students and a staff member from Taylor University in upland Indiana who get in to a van crash.
...
I'm in tenth grade and doing a book review for class. I read the book Mistaken Identity by Mark Tabb along with the Van Ryn and Creak family. It is a true story about some students and a staff member from Taylor University in upland Indiana who get in to a van crash.
The van the students and the staff member were in end up getting into a very bad crash on I-69 in Michigan. After the crash, the cops came to the spot and there were bodies thrown all over the place, no one was by the van. The injuries were so bad people were unrecognizable. When they started finding the students, a girl in named Laura Van Ryn was rushed to the hospital. Her parents were called and they rushed to meet her there. But something happened that led to mass confusion and heart break for two families.
Courage is one of the main themes of the book. Not just the courage of the people in the accident but the courage of the families involved. Each family went through traumatic circumstances that changed their lives forever. One of the main questions I had at the end was, how? How could this actually happen? It made me wonder has this ever happened before but was never figured out?
I really liked this book, it was a very sad book and I could not believe the events that took place. I give this book a 5 star rating. If you like the books that get right in to it and is very sad and you feel like you are there with them then I recommend this book to you. If you do not like books that are like that then I do not recommend this book to you.

posted by AliceFlorez on June 8, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Jennifer Wardrip - Personal Read

A very emotional and inspiring read, although there were times I was sidetracked by the religious references. I understand that both families used their faith to get them through this devastating time, but I didn't realize that was going to be the basis of the story whe...
A very emotional and inspiring read, although there were times I was sidetracked by the religious references. I understand that both families used their faith to get them through this devastating time, but I didn't realize that was going to be the basis of the story when I started.

That said, though, this is a really good story. I recommend reading it along with Jacquelyn Mitchard's ALL WE KNOW OF HEAVEN, which, although not drawn specifically from this story, shares several similarities and is a wonderful book.

posted by TeensReadToo on November 4, 2008

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  • Posted November 4, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Wardrip - Personal Read

    A very emotional and inspiring read, although there were times I was sidetracked by the religious references. I understand that both families used their faith to get them through this devastating time, but I didn't realize that was going to be the basis of the story when I started.<BR/><BR/>That said, though, this is a really good story. I recommend reading it along with Jacquelyn Mitchard's ALL WE KNOW OF HEAVEN, which, although not drawn specifically from this story, shares several similarities and is a wonderful book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2008

    Two families bond throught tragedy, faith, and the miracle of life.

    I first came across this book while watching Oprah; I was hooked before I even opened to the first page. Two girls, who¿s identity¿s had been switched? One family grieving for the loss of their youngest daughter, when she¿s actually alive in a hospital only miles away? And another family, spending only every waking minute caring for, and loving the girl they believe to be their daughter, only to find out the girl in the bed isn¿t who they think she is. This story began on a seemingly normal April day, a van full of nine students and staff from Taylor University, were heading back to school from a mission trip. And in seconds everything changed. A truck hits this innocent blue van along I-69, resulting in one of the most violent accidents imaginable. With four people already pronounced dead at the scene, a young woman first identified as Laura Van Ryn is airlifted to a nearby hospital. For five weeks this young girl is cared for by her family, who never leave her side. Meanwhile, The Cerak family is informed of their daughter, Whitney¿s, tragic death. As any family just told of their child¿s death would be, they begin grieving, praying this isn¿t true. Through this book, I see how both the Cerak family and the Van Ryn family, rely on their faith in God. Faith and prayer become huge themes, and are very important to these families, especially while they are going through this unimaginably difficult time. I liked the message this book brought, how both these families believe in something more powerful then they are. Though I did have some dislikes; in some places the writing was a little choppy and I couldn¿t quite follow what was happening. You should read this novel because it shows how one family¿s loss is another¿s gift. Overall I give the novel Mistaken Identity four stars, though it is quite tragic, it also shows us that death is not the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    Over Dramatized

    I was very disappointed in this book. I had read the article in People magazine, that was mentioned in the book and instantly wanted to read this story. I was very surprised how the story was so boring. I am not saying the situation itself and the horrible things they went through, but these people as the tone of the book. Not to get all mean, but all they talked about was God through the whole book. And they kept saying they were not mad. Hello that is so fake. I was mad when I watched my Grandpa die from cancer and just a few months before that he lost my Grandma. I attended 3 friends funerals from car accidents within 3 years. I do not believe that they were not mad. I felt the story was very sad. How did this happen? And why did these families not to have a lawsuit, if not for money, but so the standards to identify would be tougher so this could not happen again? I cannot figure this out...this just seems weird to me. I feel for the families nonetheless of everything involved. I also did not find this inspiring besides Whitney's recovery. I felt too much of this book was fake and would not read it again.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2008

    Mistaken idenity

    I read the non-fiction book Mistaken Identity by Don and Susie Van Ryn, Newell, Colleen and Whitney Cerak and Mark Tabb. The book is about two families¿ struggle when they discover that, after a car accident that killed five people and left one in intensive care, the girl in intensive care was not the girl they believed she was. This book has a very religious theme, because they refer constantly to their prayers. The religious theme is one of the reasons why I did not particularly like this book. I did not like this book very much. One reason I did not like this book was the religious theme. I did not expect how very religious this book was on almost every other page they inserted a prayer. Although the prayers did make the book a lot more personal because the reader got to see their own thoughts as the events were unfolding, ¿Oh, Laurie, that was a phone call I never wanted to have. I can¿t explain my feelings-dread, fear, anxiety¿¿ (27). This quote was taken from Susie Van Ryn¿s prayer journal, which she wrote in after she received the call from the hospital. Having her own words that she had written as this was taking place helps the reading understand the exact emotions and thoughts running through her mind. Although, there are more reasons I did not love this book. A Second reason is the set up of the book. I did not like the set up because it made the story harder to follow it would go from the Van Ryns at the hospital to the Ceraks getting a phone call from the corners office, in a matter of a page. It was also confusing how the book starts off five weeks after the accident on page one and by page twelve it is the day of the accident. Thirdly I did not like the book because it completely skips over the accident. It never talks about what exactly happened all it tells you is that it involved a truck. Even though I did not strongly like the book I do have a few points that I absolutely love. One of those parts is how the included eight pages of pictures of the girls. It was very helpful to me because I had a hard time remember which girl was which. The pictures greatly helped me in comparing the two girls to see how they could have been mistaken for each other. One aspect I especially liked was how the emotions were explained so well that the reader begins to feel as if they are going through this tragic event. This book could not have reminded me of anything because you wish that these events never happen also because these events are very rare. This book was a very good read, but is very hard to follow and explain if you wished to recommend the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2013

    I enjoyed this book because of how much faith the two families h

    I enjoyed this book because of how much faith the two families had in God. Imagine having a normal day, you get household chores done, your oldest daughter visits you from college, only to get a phone call informing you that your daughter has been in a horrible car crash. That’s how the Van Ryn and Cerak family felt when the discovered their daughter’s have been in a accident, but only one family would go home feeling overjoyed. Mistaken Identity tells the story of two young women ---- Laura Van Ryn and Whitney Cerak ---- who are part of a severe car crash. One dies after she is thrown 50 feet from the accident, while the other miraculously survives. The Van Ryn family celebrates the survival of their daughter, while the Cerak’s mourn the memory of theirs. Five weeks after the crash, a discovery will change both families lives forever. The people who identified the bodies at the accident site messed up! “Laura Van Ryn” is really Whitney Cerak, and Laura is actually dead --- but she was buried under the wrong name! Both families find struggles with this new discovery, but neither give up faith in their God. I would recommend this book to you if you are a teen of either gender or have faith in God, but if you don’t have faith, this book is still remarkably amazing. 

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