Doppelganger

Doppelganger

by David Stahler Jr.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060872328
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/25/2006
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: (w) x (h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

David Stahler Jr. received his bachelor's degree in English from Middlebury College in 1994 and later earned a graduate degree from the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program at Dartmouth College. His other provocative works for young adults include Truesight, The Seer, and Otherspace. He teaches in Vermont, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Read an Excerpt

Doppelganger


By David Stahler Jr.

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 David Stahler Jr.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060872330

Chapter One

I met Amber two days after I throttled her boyfriend, Chris Parker. A week later we were in love. Or rather, I was in love with her. It took a while on her part. After all, she thought I was him.

Let me explain -- I am a doppelganger.

Not many people have heard of us before. We're a pretty secretive race. So secretive, in fact, that I don't even know that much about us myself. Most of what I know about my kind I learned from my mother, and she wasn't all that informative. I can't even tell people my name. I don't have one. Not one I was born with, anyway. My mother always said names are worthless to a doppelganger. So the whole time I was growing up, she was she, and I was me, and that's as far as it ever got.

The problem is that doppelgangers are loners. We don't keep in touch. We don't call each other or send postcards. We would never e-mail. There's no annual doppelganger convention or home base or family reunion. When you're a doppelganger, you're on your own.

Maybe there just isn't much to know about us. We're pretty simple, actually -- primitive, one might say -- which is how we've managed to survive for so long.

But there are a few things to know. The most important is that we're shape-shifters. We can change the way we look,the sound of our voice; we can even change our sex, though we usually prefer not to. We're like chameleons, but taken to a higher level.

And it's a good thing we are shape-shifters, because in our natural state we're ugly as sin. Really hideous, to the point where we can barely stand to look at ourselves, let alone others of our kind. A doppelganger mother will even turn from her own child in disgust. I'm sure it's hard to imagine such a thing -- after all, a human mother will love even her ugliest child -- but with us it's true. It must be an evolutionary thing or something. If so, it works pretty well -- a doppelganger can rarely be found in its natural form. I can count on one hand the number of times I saw my mother in her own skin. Who knows, maybe I've just blocked the other times out of my head. Between the mottled, almost transparent flesh, the bulging eyes, and a face with no nose or mouth other than a few slimy slits, you've got the makings of a real freak. Actually, all those drawings of aliens recreated from people's so-called abductions -- those things with the egg heads and spindly arms -- they're not aliens, they're doppelgangers. And those people who think they were abducted didn't go anywhere -- they were just lucky enough to have survived. That's my theory, anyway.

Which brings me to another important doppelganger fact: We're killers. Of people, that is. We prey on your race -- stalking you, watching your moves, the places you go, learning the patterns of your life. Then, when we think we've got it down, we find a nice quiet little corner to strangle you in and take over. At least that's how it's supposed to work. Sometimes things get a little messy.

But if we're really good, no one can tell it's not you. We look like you, sound like you, even act like you. We take your life and live it in your place. And then, when we get bored or someone seems to be getting too close to the truth, we move on. Though, to be honest, we can only hold a form so long before we start to lose it. It takes a lot of strength to hang on to somebody's life. After a while it even starts to hurt.

Of course, the letting go can be just as bad. Trust me, I know.

Does this sound awful? Are we evil creatures? Monsters? I've been asking myself the question since I was old enough to wonder, and I still haven't figured it out. My mother would say no. In her view, our people have nothing to do with the concepts of good or evil. "Foolish human conventions," she once called them. In her mind, we do what we do because that's who we are.

"Are we bad?" I remember asking one afternoon as I watched her break the neck of a rooster for our supper. I was eight, I think, and had recently learned the truth about doppelganger ways. "Are we bad for killing?"

She looked at me in disgust. "You've been watching too much TV," she said, tossing me the limp bird to pluck. "That's a foolish question. The kind a human would ask."

"Well, are we?" I pressed.

"Is the tiger evil when it kills the zebra? Is the shark malicious for biting the swimmer? Does the bee sting out of wickedness?" she said.

I took her meaning. She felt it was our nature to kill -- nothing more, nothing less. And it's true, it's not like we doppelgangers want to take over the world or enslave the human race or anything like that. Far from it -- we prefer to live quietly, below the radar. Still, it troubled me. Not because I didn't believe her, but because I did. Because I believed a doppelganger was supposed to obey its nature. That's what bothered me. For even back then, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to live by killing. Not like her. Anyway, that's about it. There's only one other important thing to know about doppelgangers that I can think of. Since we keep to ourselves, we don't run into each other very often, but when we do, we know it. Even in human form, we can tell. It's like we can sniff each other out. If two doppelgangers of the same sex happen to meet, they'll more than likely ignore each other and move on. But if a heganger and sheganger come together, they're going to mate. It's practically unavoidable -- nature's way of ensuring the continuation of the species, I guess. My mother told me all about it not long before she kicked me out.

Continues...


Excerpted from Doppelganger by David Stahler Jr. Copyright © 2006 by David Stahler Jr.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Doppelganger 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Animezgurl More than 1 year ago
Doppelganger, a book that David Stahler put out into the world for everyone to enjoy. A misfit teenager with no real identity or contact to the world beyond his cottage, struggles to find his way through life. With a mother who finds disappointment in everything he does, and an identity he must steal for himself what was he supposed to do? "He" was all alone in the world until he was told that he was old enough to fend for himself. As he ventures out into the world that's so new to him, he must be cautious. He soon finds an old man whom is drunk and close to dying so that becomes his first victim. Soon enough what he saw was not his own hideous face it was the face of an old man with wrinkles. Not long after that transformation he gets jumped by a high schooler named Chris and a few of his friends. Even though he knows almost nothing about Chris he soon takes his life and copies his face and becomes "Chris". For the first time he goes to high school but finds out that he is dating a popular cheerleader and that he is also a popular football jock. Never has he ever experienced love before so he doesn't know what to do when she starts asking questions. This new family that he has entered he know is quite messed up. His father who is a drunk tries to be in control of everything and everyone, his mother is a meek and timid wife who will never stand up for her kids even as they're being screamed at and almost beaten, and his sister innocent young girl who tries to do everything her father asks but in the end always does something wrong and the cycle repeats. This was a book I started and just couldn't put down. It was so captivating how "he" lives in fear that someone might discover his true identity and know that he killed Chris. David Stahler has written an amazing book that even adults will like.
pineappleflavoredcow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this book, the main character explores the ups and downs of human nature. He is a doppelganger, a rare and secretive breed of species that kills humans and lives their lives. At the start of the book, it describes the everyday life of a doppelganger; it's filled with abuse, harsh feelings and hatred. His mother, another doppelganger, treats him like garbage, and she would mercilessly kill humans and obtain their forms just for their money and fortune.He, the main character, doesn't have a name, and he has never felt the emotion, love before. This all changes when he murders a teenager by the name of Chris, he takes over his troubled and screwed up life, falls in love with a beautiful human girl, and truly experiences the hardship and stunning life of a human.As a not so typical life of a small town teenager are seen through the eyes of a doppelganger, someone who has been neglected for the past sixteen years of his life, the reader will realize that many small problems in life can be solved by an action just as simple, but no one takes the time to do it, and therefore, misunderstanding and useless arguments break out.
dave24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
work in proggress. The main chacter wants to fent in with people "His" own age,but "he" can't go out in "his" normal self "he" has to take someone's life over.Thats when "he" run's in to a hobo who was drunk and thoght to be an angle.Thats when"he" made his fisrt kill.the next thing "he" did was to keep moving.The next person "he" runs into is Chris.Chris was a teen who was drunk at the time and was mad at "him" for what "he" said about his mom and started to pace back and forth like caged lion."He" apologize about his remark and tried to calm Chris down some but "he" failed. Chris started to throw vthe first punch at "him"."He" just blacked out for a while and found "himself" as Chris.
JRlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A doppelganger, as the reader quickly learns, is a creature who is driven to kill humans, and once they've made a kill, they take on the form of their victim, and can retain that form for anywhere from a few weeks to several years, depending on their maturity. The doppelganger narrating this tale steps into the life of a teenager named Chris, and learns that Chris's life was less than perfect. The new Chris may be a weak doppelganger because he has human blood in him due to the fact that his mother mated with a human. Chris falls in love with the human Chris's girlfriend, Amber, and eventually even tells her the truth about what he is. I passed the book on to my local high school due to the violence and content. Chris's father is quite abusive to his family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is really good! He is also my uncle so yeah
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DragonHeart More than 1 year ago
Overall a good book. The plot would somethimes get tangled with the romantic attempts--which were often and vaguely annoying--but it was there nonetheless. You really got a feel for the characters, and the author didn't skimp on emotion. But that may have been the problem. You could tell the book was written to get a point across. But it was less horror and more romance. When i picked the book up at a yardsale and read the back, i was expecting something scary, not cutsey. In any case, you feel for the characters, and th plot is at least moving. I,d take it or leave it.
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Xaviersibert More than 1 year ago
My name is Xavier and I saw this book thinking it would be a kid going through a hard time in life by the way the cover looked. When I read the back of the book I realized it was about a creature.The book has lots of mysteries and it has a plot that will blow your mind away. If you are a person how like to read books about mysterious beings this book is good for you. At the beginning of the the book it tells you the life the Doppelganger had. Let me tell you it was not that great of a life. The Doppelganger and his mother had no name. The way they look was so ugly that even there own mother had a hard time looking at the child. When his mother had to live all the action started really happening like killing and taking the form of another person living there life as theme, but will he be the first Doppelganger in the whole nation of Doppelgangers to get caught. His mother always say he was different. The only way to find out is to read the book. I think that this book should get a five star rating because it is a outstanding book. Thats about it get the book and read it and have fun!!!!!
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Skullk3y More than 1 year ago
Doppelganger, a thrilling horror-romance is a novel I severely enjoyed reading. It's the journey from a monster to a human, and how many humans can be monsters. The protagonist of the book, a doppelganger who took over a teen aged boy's, Chris Parker, body and is now living the boy's life, is considerably human. He's thrown into the social hierarchy of the high-school world after killing the original Chris Parker in self-defense and partial instinctive need. Throughout the course of the book, you follow the new Chris Parker's adaption to the world around him and how he changes it according to his own beliefs. The book delves into the controversial world of domestic abuse, child abuse and the all-too common but not often explored story of a broken home. It's writing style is odd, a new look that gives you an uneasy sort of intimacy with the protagonist. And just when the life of Chris Parker seems dismal and unrepairable, the old Chris's girlfriend, Amber, is brought into the picture. The simple event of meeting Amber causes the doppelganger to fall in love, something strictly forbidden in the unwritten code of the doppelganger. In the entirety of the story, the new Chris battles with his own consuming undeniable needs and that of his strange human beliefs. He's a hopeless hero, a killer who is more of the ideal human than most of society can claim. The writing style, in particular, is vivid. It's descriptive but still leads the way into the reader's own imagination and captivates you from page to page. It's wonderful in it's portrayal, sick and horrible in it's own beauty. It's a fairy-tale romance in a sort, as you watch the broken and destroyed Parker's slowly become cautionary closer through a series of horrible events. Chris's own life turns a full three-sixty as he quits from being the star player of his school's team, and turns a once fragile and tragic relationship with Amber into one stronger than most human couples know. The new Chris shows that everything is able to change for the better or worse, and it's possible to deny even the most primal of urges when there's something worth protecting. In all, this book is imaginative, captivating and reaches out and grabs the reader. It's revolutionary for the teen reader and in dept into subjects most authors refuse to touch.
Jenny120 More than 1 year ago
The story was odd and so out of place which made this story amazing. I have recommended it to man people, even my english teacher found it good. The story of Chris is so sad and how his life is just ended by th Doppleganger is terrible. I loved the closeness he had with his little sister. The story is very small town but as it continues it draws you and you just want to know what happens next. Totally a 4/5 in my opinion.
Firetears More than 1 year ago
The book is about a doppelganger. Doppelgangers are nameless, immoral creatures who lurk in the shadows in search for someone's life to live. But not before they kill them... On the surface, the book sounds like a fantasy and I understand that fantasies aren't for everyone but it manages to keep a strong sense of realism throughout the entire book. The story, in itself, is a very character-driven story. It's one of those rare cases where the characters ARE the plot and yet it still manages to keep you interested throughout the pages. The story is told from the POV of a doppelganger. The protagonist doesn't go by any name. At least, not until he meets Chris. Without giving too much away, the protagonist takes the form and life of Chris and starts to take in the world around him. His narration is very innocent but there's still a sense of natural knowledge and the instinct of the dangerous creature he really is. He's anything but a simple one-way character. The story is sometimes marked as a gothic romance but I think the romance is merely a subplot to the real plot. The real plot is the discovery of life for our doppelganger protagonist and how he learns the complexities of humans and start to understand the complexities of himself. The love story with Amber seems like more of a convenience if anything. I think the true love story in the book is the relationship between Chris and his little sister, Echo. The story is very racy, I believe. It portrays a broken home right down to the core. It isn't overly dramatic with hollering at all times and police reports of domestic violence everyday. I think this is one of the more better broken-home portrayals I've read in a while. They had their ups-and-downs but you could still sense that they were family at the end of the day. The writing, unfortunately, felt a little lazy or rushed sometimes. I felt like some details could've been explained just a little better but maybe that's just me nitpicking. David Stahler Jr. isn't exactly one of the most experienced writers but he didn't fail at writing a compelling piece. That's a task that even the most critically-acclaimed writers can't achieve. Overall, the book was excellent. A great story from the first page to the very last. It was emotional, controversial, and downright chilling. This is going to be a story that will take a while for me to forget.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
"He" doesn't have a name. "He" isn't one of us. "His" species lives among ours without us even knowing. "He" is a monster. "He" is a doppelganger. A doppelganger is a shape shifter, but before a person can be copied, they must be dead.

Growing up, he lived in an isolated cabin in the woods with only his mother and television for company. He spent much of his time alone reading because his mother went out to change skins often. He never knew what she was going to look like when she came home. Finally, at the age of sixteen, his mother kicked him out. She didn't want to be tied down to him any more and felt he was old enough to take care of himself.

At first when he leaves the cabin he is frightened. He'd never killed before, but knew he couldn't survive looking like his true self. He hears a train in the distance and approaches it, not knowing what he'd find. A hobo, who isn't well, happens to be riding the rails. He puts his hands around the hobo's neck and kills him, then assumes his form, leaving the dead man on the train to be discovered later. He spends several weeks in the hobo's form, traveling from town to town, but when he stops in Bakersville his life takes a turn he's not prepared for.

While sitting by a fire on the edge of town as the hobo, he is approached by three high school boys who start to poke fun and be cruel to him. Two of the boys lose interest and leave because one boy in particular, Chris, starts to go over the line and looks like he is going to harm the hobo. Once the other two leave, "he" kills Chris, wraps his body in plastic, stuffs him in a storm drain, and assumes his shape. Once in Chris' skin, he heads back to meet the other two boys and goes home.

As Chris, he falls in love, feels some family attachment, and learns that humans can be monsters, too. Once you get into this story, you won't be able to put it down. David Stahler has written a fantastic young adult fantasy that will have you questioning the definition of good and evil.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿He¿ doesn¿t have a name. ¿He¿ isn¿t one of us. ¿His¿ species lives among ours without us even knowing. ¿He¿ is a monster. ¿He¿ is a doppelganger. A doppelganger is a shape shifter, but before a person can be copied, they must be dead. Growing up, he lived in an isolated cabin in the woods with only his mother and television for company. He spent much of his time alone reading because his mother went out to change skins often. He never knew what she was going to look like when she came home. Finally, at the age of sixteen, his mother kicked him out. She didn¿t want to be tied down to him any more and felt he was old enough to take care of himself. At first when he leaves the cabin he is frightened. He¿d never killed before, but knew he couldn¿t survive looking like his true self. He hears a train in the distance and approaches it, not knowing what he¿d find. A hobo, who isn¿t well, happens to be riding the rails. He puts his hands around the hobo¿s neck and kills him, then assumes his form, leaving the dead man on the train to be discovered later. He spends several weeks in the hobo¿s form, traveling from town to town, but when he stops in Bakersville his life takes a turn he¿s not prepared for. While sitting by a fire on the edge of town as the hobo, he is approached by three high school boys who start to poke fun and be cruel to him. Two of the boys lose interest and leave because one boy in particular, Chris, starts to go over the line and looks like he is going to harm the hobo. Once the other two leave, ¿he¿ kills Chris, wraps his body in plastic, stuffs him in a storm drain, and assumes his shape. Once in Chris¿ skin, he heads back to meet the other two boys and goes home. As Chris, he falls in love, feels some family attachment, and learns that humans can be monsters, too. Once you get into this story, you won¿t be able to put it down. David Stahler has written a fantastic young adult fantasy that will have you questioning the definition of good and evil. **Reviewed by: Karin Perry
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a truly magnificent book. I was torn by the main character's oddly human-like sentiments, and his over-powering instincts. The main character seems to be warring inside. The ending caught me off guard, which was interesting, since normally endings are easy to predict. All in all, an excellent book. I would highly recommend it to anyone of any age.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There doesnt seem to be many reviews. Unpopular book you think? Mabey... BUT ITS GREAT! Great book for anyone. Kept me up reading this till 4 AM. GET IT! its great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Do not take the title the wrong way- I read this because I was looking for a good albeit scary horror/fantasy read. I didn't find it scary, but it was undoubtedly good. Instead of comparing it to other horror novels I have read, I would compare it to the realistic teen fiction genre (although the story is about a monster who murders people and invades their bodies)- books like Kevin Brooks' Candy and Looking for Alaska by John Green. The unique thing about this book is that the titular monster, described above, is the main character of the novel. His mental struggle between good and evil, and the ties to Shakespeare's Macbeth, are some of the most intelligent and interesting plot points, and although it might be excessively 'weird' for those who are not used to it, I found it extremely thought-provoking and touching. Not to mention that it is just a general good story, with enough romance and a little bit of gore to make it a worthwhile read.