Three Black Swans

Three Black Swans

4.2 22
by Caroline B. Cooney

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Lives are in the balance in bestselling author Caroline B. Cooney’s newest young adult thriller, Three Black Swans.
Missy and her cousin Claire are best friends who finish each other’s sentences and practically read each other’s minds. It’s an eerie connection—so eerie that Missy has questions she wants to put to herSee more details below


Lives are in the balance in bestselling author Caroline B. Cooney’s newest young adult thriller, Three Black Swans.
Missy and her cousin Claire are best friends who finish each other’s sentences and practically read each other’s minds. It’s an eerie connection—so eerie that Missy has questions she wants to put to her parents. But she’s afraid to ask. So when Missy hears an expert discussing newborn babies on the radio, it makes her wonder about her family.

Missy just can’t let go of those nagging questions, and decides to use a school project about scientific hoaxes to try to uncover the answers. She enlists Claire to help. As part of the project the girls perform a dramatic scene that is captured on video at school. After the video is posted on YouTube, Missy and Claire realize that they’ve opened Pandora’s box and much more than they ever imagined has come out. Not only are their identities called into question, but so is the future of everyone involved.

In this riveting, heartrending story by thriller author Caroline B. Cooney, the truth changes the lives of three families—as the bonds of blood must withstand the strains of long-hidden secrets that are at last revealed.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Their families may be dissimilar, but 16-year-old first cousins Missy and Claire are all but inseparable and have been for most of their lives. When Missy's teacher encourages the class to think outside the box for a presentation on scientific hoaxes, Missy persuades a reluctant Claire to pretend that they are twins (the cousins bear a striking resemblance to each other) during a video broadcast of daily announcements. They are too convincing: the video spreads quickly through YouTube, and neither girl is prepared for the emotional fallout, as they begin to question their own identities, as does a third girl on Long Island--Genevieve--who sees the video online ("Who were these girls? Were they her? Was she actually in Connecticut with them? Was she one of them?"). Cooney's psychologically probing story darts among multiple characters, forming a complex web of mistrust, economic stress, and parental sins that will keep readers guessing. Although the circumstances of this plot feel especially melodramatic, it remains an exhilarating investigation of displacement, regret, and the bonds of sisterhood. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)
VOYA - Sherrie Williams
Cousins Missy and Claire are near constant companions, finishing each other's sentences and growing more similar in appearance every year. Missy's school assignment about scientific hoaxes leads her to create a false event that changes every aspect of the cousins' lives. They appear on her school's morning news show, dramatically announcing that Claire is Missy's newly-discovered identical twin sister. Claire infuses the stunt with unexpectedly genuine emotion, and video of the touching moment quickly goes viral on YouTube. The cousins soon begin to suspect that there may be a disturbing dash of reality to their prank, as a third girl contacts them to suggest that she is also their identical sister. As the consequences of newly-discovered relationships become clear, the trio race to find each other even as their parents strive to hide the startling truth from everyone. Compelling and packed full of psychological tension, this story will hold readers' attention as they seek to unfold the ever-evolving daisy chain of lies, deceptions and emotional issues faced by the three identical teen girls brought together by the hoax. The story moves at breakneck speed, successfully walking the fine line between over-the-top melodrama and realistic fiction. This title is highly recommended for libraries serving middle and high school students. Cooney's longtime readers will enjoy this outstanding addition to her body of work, and new fans of either gender will find themselves caught up in the girls' quest for the truth. Reviewer: Sherrie Williams
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—When her teacher challenges her students to research and fabricate a scientific fake of some kind, Missy calls her cousin and best friend, Claire, for help to do the trick assignment. The plan: bring Claire, who looks startlingly like Missy, to appear on the school's live morning news broadcast as a newly found twin. As it turns out, the Connecticut sophomore perpetrates a hoax that turns out not to be a hoax at all but instead a revelation of the past that her family and two others must try to deal with and accept. Claire's sobs at the moment of revelation on the news show help answer Missy's very real question—yes, the two are identical twins, somehow. That's what everyone who sees the interview at the school and soon on YouTube believes, and with the speed of the Internet, texting, and email forwarding, a third girl on Long Island soon finds herself with a question of her own: How can I look just like these two girls I've never met? Playing on the interest of teens in identity drama, this story will draw willing readers through the suspenseful days that follow. Three sets of parents and three daughters take some time for readers to separate into recognizably different characters, but their experiences delve into the nature of love, family, parenting, and the bond of siblings.—Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA
Kirkus Reviews

Cooney, who has a great interest in families pushed to the edge by anomalous situations, tells the story of best-friend first cousins and a third girl who realizes that she has a surprising connection to both of them. Missy, outgoing and un-academic, talks her quieter and more studious cousin Claire, whom she closely resembles physically, into pretending to be her twin for an unusual class assignment—to create a believable hoax. The tension gears up when the hoax video goes viral and catches the eye of a third girl, who bares an uncanny resemblance to the two cousins. Their meeting and the secret the three girls eventually unearth changes their notion of self and the shape of their families. Cooney devises copious explanations to give her tale credibility, but it's a hard story to swallow. However, the ending, full of good intentions yet unresolved and uncomfortable feelings, is thoughtfully realistic. (Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
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Random House
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2 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

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