The International Writers Magazine: Children's Fiction
Coping with Chloe by Rosalie Warren
Publisher: Phoenix Yard Books
Two tragedies befall Anna Hendserson. Her twin sister Chloe died recently (run over) and then took up residence in her head. How do you cope with loss when your sister refuses to lie down? Worse, she kisses the boy you think you might be in love with. Confused? Not as much as poor Anna.
It's bad enough being twins. Twins are competitive. One is always better at something your not and Chloe was the bright one everyone liked. Anna always felt second best - except in swimming at least. Chloe was good with words and thinking on the hoof and the dog always obeyed her. The dog didn't a care one jot for Anna, still doesn't. But when the dog senses Chloe is there, she immediately does all her old tricks. It's like Anna was the one who died and Chloe wants to take over.
Sibling rivalry and looming madness run though Anna's miserable school life. Miss Tough (standing in for Miss Pretty in another famous tale) seems to understand, but pretty much everyone else thinks Anna has gone completely bonkers and she has to see a school bereavement specialist. Worse, the dead Chloe takes over in class and wins a poetry competition and Anna knows she could never write as well as her sister. Her Mum is going to pieces over the death and the recent divorce from Anna's dad. She won't talk about anything, let alone about Chloe. Her dad definitely thinks Anna is going crazy and it almost seems to Anna that people would be happy if Chloe took over and she, Anna, disappeared.
Difficult friendships, a bully girl called Lisa, who mocks her openly, a boy called Joe (who appears to be sympathetic, but wants to kiss Chloe not Anna), her life is a mess and exactly which adult could you tell who'd really believe that your dead sister is trying to take over your life? Even if she does get you out of difficult scrapes from time to time. Men in white coats will be knocking on the door anytime soon. This tale could be much darker than it is, but it is a fast read that will soon find its audience.
Coping with Chloe is a perfect tale for 12 year old's about the importance of self image and twins struggling for identity - even though one is supposed to be dead.
© Sam North April 2011
author of Mean Tide - a tale of spiritualism and a young boy's fascination with a murdered man.