Double Identity

   Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix

So my only protection is a kindergarten teacher and a ninety-eight-pound female minister....And they don't even believe I'm in danger. As Bethany approaches her thirteenth birthday, her parents act more oddly than usual. Her mother cries constantly, and her father barely lets Bethany out of his sight. Then one morning he hustles the entire family into the car, drives across several state lines -- and leaves Bethany with an aunt she never knew existed. Bethany has no idea what's going on. She's worried her mom and dad are running from some kind of trouble, but she can't find out because they won't tell her where they are going. Bethany's only clue is a few words she overheard her father tell her aunt: "She doesn't know anything about Elizabeth." But Aunt Myrlie won't tell Bethany who Elizabeth is, and she won't explain why people in her small town react to Bethany as if they've seen a ghost. The mystery intensifies when Bethany gets a package from her father containing four different birth certificates from four different states, with four different last names -- and thousands of dollars in cash. And when a strange man shows up asking questions, Bethany realizes the's not the only one who's desperate to unravel the secrets of her past.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the similarities between Bethany and Elizabeth? What are the differences?
  2. What are the ethics of cloning? What is your opinion?
  3. Do you think cloning should be outlawed? Why or why not?
  4. How would you think Bethany’s life will be like as a teenager? An adult?
  5. Do you think a story like this could really happen? Why or why not?
  6. How would you react if you learned you had a clone?
  7. Compare the relationship that Bethany has with her aunt and her mother.
  8. How has the different deaths in their families changed their lives differently?
  9. Explain how Joss’s losses have changed her life choices?
  10. Who are you more like, Joss (at 13), Elizabeth, or Bethany? Explain your choice.
  11. Do you think cloning is wrong? Are there any circumstances where you think it should be permitted?
  12. Bethany spends the entire book searching for her identity. At the end she concludes, “My identity doesn’t depend on names or genes. It depends on what I do.” What does that mean?