Laurie Stratton is a regular teenager until she discovers that she was born an identical twin who was separated from her sister at birth and her sister shows her how to astral project, just as she has been doing to find Laurie. Laurie Stratton is the oldest child of three. She has had a good family and has grown up knowing that she is loved. In addition, she looks nothing like the rest of her family. She is a high school student and has recently begun dating one of the popular boys, Gordon, which has put her into a new social group. One night, she has to break a date due to illness and her new friends are angry at her the next day, because they are sure they saw her with another boy...when she was home sick and never left.
She shrugs it off until her family says the same thing. Soon, Helen a new friend from school who is not in the popular group, comments on her looks and asks if she is part Native American. When staying over one night, she sees someone identical to Laurie standing over her bed, with Laurie asleep.
Confused, she is trying to determine the problem when she starts getting a visitor at night. Her name is Lea and she is Laurie's identical twin. Their mother was young and poor when they were born, so she decided to give them up. Only Laurie was adopted, so she reclaimed Lia and raised her in poverty. Her mother did love them and before she died, taught Lia about astral projection.
Astral projection is the ability to cast your spirit out of your body, to travel anywhere, leaving your body behind. Lia becomes very insistent that Laurie must learn how to do it as well and with just a few exceptions, visits only at night. Laurie confronts her parents and they confirm that she was adopted.
However, there is more of the story. At the time, they had been told they would be unable to have children, and even though they had little money at the time, were going to adopt them both. However, when they held Lia, she just felt wrong and they decided to only take home Laurie.
In addition, they believe that Laurie had to have found the adoption papers while snooping through their papers. Although she didn't, she cannot say that her sister's spirit told her, so there is a fight about that because they think she is lying. Around the same time, Laurie breaks up with her popular boyfriend and meets a new friend, Jeff, who was burned on much of his face in an explosion and is frequently mocked because of it.
Helen discourages Laurie from astral projecting and is bring her books on the topic, when she is injured. She is moved to a special hospital some distance away and her family does not want Laurie to call. Lia is very possessive of Laurie and threatens her that is she does not drop Jeff as a friend, she will hurt him. She doesn't believe her and on his way to her home for Thanksgiving, he disappears. She falls in with him where he badly injured, in a hole in the ground more than a dozen feet deep, but nobody can hear them and they cannot get out.
He tells her that he went to where he fell in because he followed her there. While trapped together, they discuss Lea and he agrees that there is something wrong with her. She decides to have better control over her astral projection, but she did it then, successfully for the first time to find someone to help them. It worked and they were saved, but they decide she should only do it in the morning when Lea is not with her. She visits Helen in the hospital, where she has woken up, but doesn't remember the last year of her life. She also visits where Lia has loved and finds out that she killed the child of the people who wanted to adopt her and is now committed to a mental health hospital.
When Laurie goes back to her body, she realizes that Lia wanted it. Lia says she will have the one conversation with Laurie and then never again. She explains that the astral cord is trying to bring Laurie back, but it obviously can't and eventually Laurie's spirit will be nothing. She can watch her family, which she does for a few days, or she could take Lia's body, locked in the institution. Either way, there are no good choices.
With Lia now in control, there are many quick changes, she dumps Jeff and insults him, gets back with Gordon and is cruel to her younger siblings, Megan and Neal. Soon, she makes Jeff question her behavior because she does not have the same memories as Laurie and he is suspicious. Megan is there at the same time and for just a moment; a necklace that was made by Navajo Indians for protection that belonged to Helen and was gifted, but not worn, to Laurie touched her. In that second, Lia could not maintain the body and Laurie forced her way in.
As the novel ends, we discover that soon after that Laurie's parents had what they thought was sad news for Laurie. Her sister had passed away, her body was discovered by hospital workers one afternoon, not breathing in her body and she was cremated. Obviously, it looks like while she stole Laurie's body; her own died, so she couldn't even return to that after she lost Laurie's. The same destiny that she wanted for Laurie was now her own and Laurie occasionally is still aware of her presence, but will never project again.
Best part of story, including ending:
It is a good book for the teenager or young adult who is just learning about science fiction or fantasy novels. Nothing too violent, sexual or offensive, but well-written and an interesting ( although inaccuate) portrayal of the Navajo culture.
Best scene in story:
When Laurie is speaking with Mr. Abbott, who was adopting Lia prior to her murdering their daughter, it is obvious how deep his feelings are. He cannot bear to talk to her for long and after finding out that she has a good life, with good parents, that she should just leave the entire situation alone. He divulges that Lia is in a hospital, but that's it. I found his reaction to be one that I understood and I, too, would be unable to speak for long with someone about the topic for long, especially so soon after the incident.
Opinion about the main character:
Although it made some sense, I question why Laurie never wondered why Lia was so desperate for her to astral project and frankly, the angst over Gordon was too much. Gordon was not a likable character and Laurie knew that, so I wonder why a confident girl with other friends would sacrifice herself to be with Gordon and his friends, who she admitted she didn't trust.