cover image Three Black Swans

Three Black Swans

Caroline B. Cooney, Delacorte, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-73867-5

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.)