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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


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.

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
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)

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

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
HL650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Caroline B. Cooney is the author of many books for young people, including the bestseller The Face on the Milk Carton (an IRA-CBC Children’s Choice Book) and its companions, Whatever Happened to Janie? and The Voice on the Radio (each of them an ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults), as well as What Janie Found; If the Witness Lied; They Never Came Back; Diamonds in the Shadow; A Friend at Midnight; Hit the Road; Code Orange; The Girl Who Invented Romance; Family Reunion; Goddess of Yesterday (an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book); The Ransom of Mercy Carter; Tune In Anytime; Burning Up; What Child Is This? (an ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults); Driver’s Ed (an ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults and a Booklist Editors’ Choice); Among Friends; Twenty Pageants Later; and the Time Travel Quartet: Both Sides of Time, Out of Time, Prisoner of Time, and For All Time, which are also available as The Time Travelers, Volumes I and II.

Caroline B. Cooney lives in South Carolina and New York.

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Three Black Swans 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. This author is one of my favorites anyway, so I was expecting it to be good from the start. But this novel wasn't just good. It was intriguing. Captivating. Exciting. Creative, fast-paced writing and emotional truths make this a great story. I'm usually not a fan of mystery-like books, but the way the author tells the story ensures that you will be joined with and need this book in the same way as identical triplets would.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Gold Star Award Winner! "Black Swans: events that are hugely important, rare, and unpredictable, and explainable only after the fact." One day, Missy Vianello hears someone on the radio talking about babies, and she starts to wonder about her family. Missy and her cousin, Claire Linnehan, have been best friends since they were little. They choose the same type of clothing most of the time, and they can even finish each other's sentences. It's so weird to Missy that she has so many questions she wants to ask her parents, but she's afraid to ask. Not that anything could be possible anyway, since Claire is eight weeks older and Missy was always so much smaller than Claire up until a year or so ago. When Missy's biology teacher suggests that the class comes up with a sort of hoax, it leads Missy to a brilliant idea. She and Claire will get in on the morning announcements (which are done on TV for the whole school to see) and "pretend" that Missy has just found her long-lost identical twin, Claire. Of course, Claire doesn't like the idea, but she ends up going along with it. Well, it's so believable to everyone it soon ends up on YouTube for the whole world to see. Genevieve Candler goes to a completely different school and knows nothing about the video until her friend mentions it. He is so anxious for her to see it that she immediately does. A girl pops up on the screen. "That's me," Genevieve thinks. Then another girl appears and Genevieve has the same thought yet again. These girls are identical to her - but how? This book was incredible. From the very first page, I was hooked. I couldn't fathom the thought that cousins could even think about being identical twins, and then a third identical girl was introduced! The story jumps around from Missy to Claire to Genevieve and even to the three sets of parents that are involved. What really kept me hooked was not knowing who was going to be talking next and what those person's thoughts were going to be. Caroline B. Cooney has such a way with words and comes up with such great stories. No wonder she has written so many books! I would highly suggest picking up a copy of THREE BLACK SWANS. Around halfway through the book I could start to figure out what was going to happen next, but that didn't make the story any less exciting at all, and to me that is what made the tale so amazing.
Atlanta Hubbard More than 1 year ago
Unexpected twists and turns everywhere! Not your typical Cooney mystery either. One or two kind of unbelievable bits, but definitely a book I will read again!! I reccomend for anyone who likes to be surprised.
Lindsay Dunn More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book because i am a twin myself and wanted to see what these triplets would do to figure out if they are related. I gave it four stars because some parts kinda lagged.
Charlene Garrett More than 1 year ago
who would ever expect that cousins were a set of tripplets and the other one they didnt know. i loved the it was kind of mysterious too. it was a amazing book and i loved every word of it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading this book for a speech... and i think this will be the first and only speech book i have finished... I love this book, and i think you should read it.
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I read like the first chapter then Started crying..... Because it was a horrible book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I am not finish with it yet but I love the way the three girls connect imideatly and how they seem so ment to meet. Also I think that how the author ties the girks lives together is amazing. I definatly recomend this book to juast about ampny one starting at ages 10-12
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Sarah Marsh More than 1 year ago
I love this book so much
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This book is great every one should read it. You think you know whats coming but it changes on you. So read it!