From the moment Laura Rivers steps foot into Englewood High, she notices the stares—and they aren’t the typical once-overs every pretty new girl endures. The students seem confused and… spooked. Whispers echoing through the halls confirm that something is seriously off. “That new girl looks just like her,” they say.

It turns out Laura has a doppelgänger, and it isn't just anyone—it's Sarah Castro-Tanner, the girl who killed herself by jumping into the Navasink River one year ago.

Laura is determined not to let the gossip ruin her chances of making a fresh start. Thanks to her charming personality and California tan, she catches the eye of Englewood’s undisputed golden boy, Charlie Sanders, and it’s only a matter of time before they make their relationship official.

But something is making Charlie and his friends paranoid—and Laura soon discovers it has to do with Sarah Castro-Tanner.

What really happened to Sarah? Why is Charlie unraveling? And how does Laura Rivers fit into it all?

After all, she’s the dead ringer for a dead girl.

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.




1. patience (3 tbsp.)
2. coffee (40 ounces)
3. comfort blanket (1)
4. nightlight (1)
5. optional: blanket fort


1. Take a tablespoon of patience prior to starting this book. Depending on your reading tastes, the writing style might take some adjusting to, but said adjustment is easily tempered with patience. (Make sure not to go overboard immediately and to space the 3 tbsp. out throughout the first 30% of the book.) As Laura Rivers begins her time at a new school, her struggles are partly expected: she is "the new girl" and has expected a lukewarm welcome. The other part of her struggles, however, come straight out of left field: Laura, others explain, looks eerily like the school's first-ever suicide victim 2 years prior, Sarah Castro-Tanner. (Emphasis on eerily. This will be a running theme.)

2. Take another tablespoon of patience. Wash it down with your first cup of coffee. As Laura adjusts to her new life in the unexpected high school spotlight and struggles to unravel the mystery that was Sarah Castro-Tanner's life, so does the reader trot along in her wake. Laura is promptly befriended by the Charlie Sanders, star athlete and resident jock in school, to the dismay of Charlie's friends. No one, his friends reason, should want to be associated with that face after Sarah's suicide. Laura's mere presence is a daily reminder for everyone of the tragedy that once befell the school. And soon enough, this reminder will take on a life of its own...

3. Take your second cup of coffee. This is the last time you'll need it to keep you alert. (Soon enough, the plot will be doing that for you.) While there's little about Sarah people are willing to divulge, Laura will soon find that there are plenty who remember her doppelgänger's life all too well. Once a young hacker named Sasha gets wind of the renewed interest in Sarah Castro-Tanner's case, she begins to wonder if Sarah's death was truly a suicide at all. On the other side of the school gossip, Laura is wondering the same.

4. Add a comfort blanket. As Sarah's life is bared for the world once more, a game of cat-and-mouse begins between the people who are out to avenge her death, and those they deem responsible. And in the midst of it all - Laura Rivers, the dead ringer for the dead girl. Students, teachers, parents, hackers, friends and babysitters all converge to unravel what happened that fateful night two years ago, why everyone seems to think Charlie Sanders and his friends are responsible, and what their relationship with the dead girl was.

5. Turn on the night-light. Because if you think you know where this story is going, chances are that you don't. If you think of it as a run-of-the-mill mistery where this big revelation is taking place around the 90% mark - think again. If this all feels like a story you've read before - yes, up until the point you might have. But from that point on, Dead Ringer is something quite unexplored in the world of YA Mystery.

6. Retreat into the blanket fort. You are now scared, confused, mildly alarmed by the author's mind, utterly alone and mindblown. You will, however, survive this plot-twisty ending. The nightlight will keep the fear at a manageable level. The coffee and the shock will keep you awake, so you don't have to fear being mangled in your sleep. And the blanket fort will serve as protection against evil spirits you are now seeing everywhere.

7. Repeat until the next book in the series. Nowhere does it say that Dead Ringer is anything other than a standalone. But believe me when I tell you - it most definitely is not.

Talk to us! We're too scared to sleep! Do you enjoy YA mystery and do you wish, as we do, that there was more of it out there? If you have any good YA Mystery recommendations - we'd appreciate it, and there might even be a cookie in it for you. Leave us a comment below letting us know, or find us on social media where we read, rant, and plot world domination.



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Write comments
29 October 2015 at 06:46

This sounds really interesting! I'm definitely adding it to my TBR :)

29 October 2015 at 07:14

I couldn't be happier to hear it, Sandra! :) This book took me for a spin, just when I was SO convinced that it was a typical read and I knew exactly where it was going. And those books are perfect for this time of the year. Dead Ringer is out in two weeks (Nov. 11th), so you can get it then if you're in the mood for psychological twists.

Thank you very much for stopping by to comment!

- Lexie

6 November 2015 at 02:04

I recently reviewed this if you'd like to see another perspective :)

I gave it two stars, but your review helped me to articulate the parts I did enjoy! I loved how your review is structured, so cute :) I can't help but want to read more by the author despite how many issues I had with this book :P

6 November 2015 at 15:11

I agree with pretty much your entire review! :) Funny how that works out, given the star rating difference. I COMPLETELY forgot to address the mess that was the (lack of) editing, because I sat down to review this a good month and a handful of books after I first read it. One forgets things. I just always give ARCs the benefit of the doubt in that department, just in case the editor was put to work after the early copies were sent out.

The rest of my thoughts are going into a comment on your review. :) Quid pro quo and all.

Thank you very much for the comment(s), Stefanie.

- Lexie