Double Helix

Double Helix

by Nancy Werlin


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Eighteen-year-old Eli discovers a shocking secret about his life and his family while working for a Nobel Prize-winning scientist whose specialty is genetic engineering.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142403273
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 05/05/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 264,685
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.68(d)
Lexile: HL690L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Nancy Werlin writes YA fiction that ranges from realistic fiction to suspense to fantasy, often breaking the boundaries between genres. Her books have gathered awards too numerous to mention, but including National Book award finalist, Edgar award winner and finalist, New York Times bestseller, L.A. Book Prize finalist, and IndieBound Top Ten. Nancy's first novel, Are You Alone on Purpose, was a Publishers Weekly Flying Start pick.
Of Nancy's suspense fiction, Sarah Weinman says, "Chances are, many of you haven't heard of this author. That would be a shame, because she's simply one of the best crime novelists going right now. Period." These titles are where Nancy habitually breaks genre-separation rules and include The Rules of Survival (a National Book Award finalist), The Killer's Cousin (Edgar award winner), Locked Inside (Edgar award nominee), Black Mirror (which the Washington Post called "an edge-of-your seat thriller"), and Double Helix (named to multiple best-of-year book lists). 
Nancy's unusual fantasy fiction was inspired by the ballad Scarborough Fair and includes the loose trilogy Impossible (a New York Times bestseller), Extraordinary (featuring a rare thing in fantasy fiction: a Jewish heroine), and her personal beloved, Unthinkable. 
For fun, Nancy also writes and draws a graphic memoir in comics, using her Tumblr to self-publish an episode three times a week. 
Her favorite book in all the world is Jane Eyre. 
A graduate of Yale, Nancy lives near Boston, Massachusetts with her husband.

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Double Helix 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
leashaa More than 1 year ago
Double Helix. Nancy Werlin. New York, USA: Penguin Group, 2004. 250. From all the books in this world there are myriad genres, some more interesting than others. Mystery keeps you on the edge of your seat, flipping from one page to another. Literally. Double Helix by Nancy Werlin exactly does that, it's a gripping and suspenseful piece, perfect for readers looking for a science not-so-fiction novel. Werlin skips, yet explains, many topics throughout the book: love, disease, science, sexuality, fear, trust, morality, and mainly about destiny. Eli is fresh out of high school, and he's looking the other way as most of his fellow classmates are getting shipped off to college. Even as salutatorian, Eli decides he rather talk to a scientist at Wyatt Transgenics, Dr. Quincy Wyatt. Ironically, he immediately gets employed, "destroying his path to becoming nothing," as his father thinks. Eli claims his hopes of employment there were a "drunken impulse" and regrets sending the email that would change his future. Eli notices Dr. Wyatt's strange fascination of him and wonders exactly why. "I went to work for Wyatt- and suddenly my carefully compartmentalized life fell apart," Eli remarks as he unknowingly and accurately depicts the series of events soon to occur. Eli tries to maintain the hardships and his self-esteem between relationships, his occupation, and his internal issues. He verbally combats with his father, Jonathan, showing uneasiness in emotions among those two. There's constantly tension, heavy as oxygen, floating around about Eli's mother who's battling Huntington's disease. Jonathan wishes Eli wasn't so secretive so then they could go back to the trust they had before. In the midst of Eli's life at home, he finds a girlfriend Vivian Fadiman, who Eli calls Viv. Viv is sort of his ethical backbone to his stress and exhaustion due to her ability to openly discuss anything and relate to the issues in a calm natured fashion. She is Eli's "oasis"; with her he could, "pretend everything and everyone was normal." Viv is a charming and wise individual who helps Eli through roughly everything internal and external. Especially when it had came to her getting blueprints of Wyatt Trangenics building due to Elis curiosity. When Eli first met Dr. Wyatt he's jittery and nervous, but suspiciously gets the high paying job. Wyatt Trangenics becomes his new "oasis", which was good and bad. It was good because Eli needed a distraction when everything outside of his shield was burning, but it was bad when he started getting too close to Dr. Wyatt. Over there Eli could zone out and forget about everything. His job is to take care of rabbits, and he makes use of this- knowing the risks. He makes a friend, a pet, Foo-Foo who stands out from the rest of his test subjects. Eli's occupation helps him realize a few things about the world, and it helps him find himself once he started drowning in his own thoughts. Eli deals with many dilemmas in the book; his mother and his feeling about her, Huntington's Disease, why Jonathan hates Dr. Wyatt, and just exactly why Dr. Wyatt is so intrigued by Elis' every move, vision, and thought. He can't figure out his father's ill hatred towards Dr. Wyatt, which causes more disturbances at home, but it soon cools over when they talk things through and get their father to son connection working again. Eli also notices from the point he walked through the door of Wyatt Trangenics, he was bizarrely observed by Dr. Wya
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book The author could have made the story better. At times it did get a little boring, but the ending is really good. This book really makes you think about the difference between trying to help others and playing God.
Abagail_Ree More than 1 year ago
Wow. This book was fantastic. I found it scientific, thrilling, mysterious, and creative. It was interesting to see a less...publicized neurodegenerative disease like Huntington's. I really enjoyed this book. The ending I thought could use some work, but other than that it was great. Double Helix was unique, which is what I think I enjoyed most about it. If you are into the sciences at all, you should read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this story! I'm quite picky with books, because of the fact I get bored easily, but this book definately kept me entertained. I highly recommened it if you don't mind the science aspect.
chibimajo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eli gets an internship working for a Nobel-prize winning genetics scientist and makes a very shocking discovery about himself and his family.
ansate on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this is the second book I've read by Nancy Werlin, and she has an strange problem that I don't think I've run across before.Her books are interesting, but not enjoyable. She has great ideas, but maybe she writes teenagers too well, because hers are all self-centered and annoying. At least the books are short, so you don't have to suffer through much time with the protagonists. I'm writing this so that I remember how little fun they are next time I'm thinking about what a neat job she does with the mystery.
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Slightly better than average story of genetic manipulation and the unintended consequences it has. Stronger than Michael Chricton's "Next", but by no means a ground breaking work. While this officially classed as YA, there is enough discussion about sex it is almost the equivalent of PG13. Nothing graphic, but the high school aged protagonist is described as being in bed with his girlfriend and they do spend the night together more than once in the book. Nothing I find objectionable, but if you recommend books to others, you might want to be aware of these scenes.While the basic premise, a young man is the product of gene manipulation by a world class genetic scientist and this work was done long before such things became readily available, is credible, the story never explores this as fully as it could have been. We are left with a scenario that is way short of "Boys From Brazil", although something of the sort is alluded to, and at times the author is prone to speeches on bioethics almost as annoying as Chrichton's wrap up in the previously mentioned "Next". Character development for some of the supporting cast, essential characters, such as the boy's father and mother, are not as developed as I would have liked. The main characters, well developed enough to complete the plot, left no lasting impression on me. After finishing the story, I didn't care about them. Their job was completed and they've faded from memory. That's what makes really good books great books: memorable characters in a memorable plot.I found the audio book version an ideal listen on my daily commute. Scott Shina does a nice job bringing the characters' voices to life without becoming overly dramatic.If you enjoy stories of genetic tinkering, without overly complicated plots, if you read YA literature and don't object to young main characters, this could be an interesting read for you. If you are looking for a book that really stays in your mind, you should probably look elsewhere.
Julia12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The novel, Double Helix, encompasses the hardships of trying to find out the truth while realizing everything you've ever known has been a lie. In the begining, Eli Samuels, the protagonist struggles with having a new job at Wyatt Transgenics while he struggles to find out the secret about his parents and himself. throughout the middle, he perseveres through finding out he has a sister and that he could possibly be a carrier of the Huntington disease. By then end he has learned that he should have listened to his father and that not everything is as you expect it to be. (248/248)
kellyoliva on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is mesmerizing! I was completely turned off by it's cover, but decided to read it anyway. The first two or three chapters were a struggle to get through, I have to warn. The story heats up, however, when Eli's father leaves Eli a pleading note, begging him to quit his new, fabulous job at Wyatt Transgenics. Eli's father, however, refuses to explain his hatred for Dr. Wyatt, however, and the father-son relationship spirals downward. I loved the fact that Nancy Werlin developed only a few characters in this novel. She kept it simple yet believable. The scientific aspect of the book is easy to understand; it is clearly written for teens, but her discussion of genetics within the book is fascinating. I can see why this book won an Edgar Award. I also recently heard that Nancy Werlin holds a mindless day job that allows her to pay her bills and focus entirely on her writing.
Philip10 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The novel, Double Helix by Nancy Werlin encompasses the relationship an eighteen year old boy name Eli Samuel that graduated from high school and trying to get the job at Wyatt Transgenic, so he can work as a legendary molecular biologist . In the beginning, Eli the main character of the struggles with his relationship between Dr. Wyatt and his parents with the job Eli is taking. Throughout the middle he perserves through uncovering disconcerting information about himself, working as an apprentice to Dr Wyatt. By the end he has learned that solving mysteries and clues about scientific experiments can change your action on mastering to become a molecular biologist. My Final Thought about this book is that it explains the complicated ethics of genetic engineering.Total Pages Read: 252/252
jjohlend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After graduating high school, Eli takes a job at a transgenics lab, but gradually begins to suspect that there is something fishy going on there that might even center on his own family. One of the most powerful things about this book is that it may be science fiction, but in reality things like this could happen and may even be happening in parts of the world. As such, the message of the book is very resonant, but some people may feel it is mere political agenda being pushed by a fear monger. This message is placed in a great mystery story, with a believable, if slightly immature and self-centered, main character. Much of the early happenings are concerned more with relationships than action, with Eli experiencing troubles with both his father and his girlfriend. If readers can make it through this sometimes slow beginning, they will be treated to an ending that reveals questions that need to be considered regarding science and the future of human life.
mrpascua on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy cellular biology/genetics stories (having a biology background and all) and this story is facinating. While not a fresh new idea, the story is a good science thriller/mystery for teens. Double Helix is a mystery thriller set in the modern world of biotechnology, and it's also a love story about Eli and his girlfriend, VIv and it¿s also a father-son story. The book raises many important questions on genetic engineering, ethics and morals, loyalty to family and the value of your work. The characters are believeable and realistic as well. You do not need to know everything about genetic engineering to enjoy this book. For the TL, this would be a good addition to the high school or middle school LMC as it ties into the life science (7th grade) and the biology (10th grade) curriculum standards.
RABooktalker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting story about genentic engineering which has more basis in reality than we would like to think. Scary...
rpultusk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Eli Samuels, an eighteen year old high school graduate with a sick mother, a somewhat absent father, and a mysterious new job at a genetic engineering lab. When Eli attempts to discover why his father hates his new job and why his new boss seems so interested in him, he discovers the truth about his parents, his birth, and his personal connection to genetic engineering.While the premise of the story is captivating and will likely appeal to readers, the plot is predictable, with internal (italicized) questions and annoyingly obvious foreshadowing. The characters are, for the most part, flat and their dialog seems forced. While the concept is interesting, the heavy use of scientific vocabulary/concepts might make the plot inaccessible to younger readers. The setting is in present-day Boston/Cambridge. There are no significant cultural markers.Recommended for middle and high school libraries
maribs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In search of answers to his father's dislike of his new boss at Wyatt Transgenics, Eli Samuels discovers secret testing going on in the lab that is somehow related to him and his mother.A good medical thriller for teens. A bit of mystery, teen angst, and science all rolled into a quick read. It raises questions about medical testing with humans, genetic engineering and fertility. Big topics for teens? I don't think so. This is another great book that could get young adults interested in science, ethics and/or law.
readingrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A compelling coming-of-age story that also explores the perils of gene manipulation.
rfewell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fun story about bio-genetics... a mystery, too.
JRlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book many years ago. It was just reviewed by Jen Robinson, so I'm posting her review here, because I forgot to link the book when I read it, I didn't like it as much as she ocviously did, and I've forgotten most of it, but Jen wrote a decent review, so here it is:Double Helix is a suspenseful novel for young adults, with a cutting-edge, scientific slant. Eli Samuels is a promising student, about to graduate high school in Cambridge, MA. In the presence of his mother's incapacitation from Huntington's Disease, Eli plans to take a year off before starting college. Based on a vague memory that his parents once knew the famous biologist Dr. Quincy Wyatt, Eli applies for a research job at Wyatt Transgenics. To his surprise, he's given a well-paying job working in one of the animal research labs at Wyatt. To his even bigger surprise, Eli finds that his father is downright hostile in regards to Quincy Wyatt. It soon becomes clear to Eli that there's a mystery about his family, one that also involves Dr. Wyatt. Eli works on tracking down the mystery, while also dealing with his complex family dynamics, his relationship with his girlfriend Viv, and the distraction of Dr. Wyatt's beautiful young houseguest.Nancy Werlin is a gifted writer of eye-opening suspense novels. Her 2006 novel, The Rules of Survival was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Cybils Award. Double Helixis a quick read that touches on interesting questions about genetics and morality. Eli is a likable protagonist. Even when he's making what are clearly mistakes, you still pull for him. Although he's gifted in many ways, his problems and insecurities keep him utterly relatable for teens. Here are a few passages to give you a flavor for Eli:"Sometimes--no, often--I hated being a teenager. Hated not having the full control I wanted. Even by the time you're eighteen, adults don't take you seriously. Even at eighteen, you're considered a kid." (Page 9)"And suddenly I felt like an experimental rat in a lab cage, with sharp objects jabbing at me from all sides. It was the emotional analogue to the way I'd felt yesterday, poked and prodded, tissue- and blood-sampled, lung-capacity and hart-rate measured" (Page 38)"It was a good week, a rare week. I found myself springing from bed each morning like a piece of toast from the toaster, and my legs seemed to have made an independent decision to fun all the way to work." (Page 69)I don't want to say much more, because I wouldn't want to spoil the mystery. Let me just say that this is a compelling read that explores intriguing scientific and human questions. I think it will go over especially well with reluctant male teen readers, though there are a couple of strong female characters to appeal to girls, too. It would make a good companion novel to The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Because of the ages of the main characters, and the nature of some of the issues, I do think it's more a high school book than a middle school book.
lindabeekeeper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eli Samuels is an outsider. Smart and athletic, he always held himself back. Now, with his mother dying of Huntington's Disease, he finds that his father is keeping secrets from him. His father finds that Eli has not applied to college for the next year. They live together in a state of uneasy truce. The only one that understands is his long term girlfriend, Viv.Eli decides to apply for a job at Wyatt Transgenics, with THE Dr. Wyatt, who is also part of the mystery surrounding Eli. He gets the job, which leads him to more mysteries about his past and about the beautiful Kayla, a young friend of the professor.The plot turns out to be pretty straightforward but Werlin manages to keep up the suspense. You care about Eli, his father and Viv. The themes about what should be private and where trust comes in is interesting. The real ethical issues concerning genetic engineering are only touched upon in this book.
jrealin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
# of pages I read: 121 /248Double Helix is about a high school guy named Eli Samuals. He's offered a great job at Wyatt Transgenics. For some odd reason his dad is absolutely fustrated about the job because of Eli's boss, Dr. Wyatt. Later weird things start to happen is his new job.Eli is a very smart, athetic guy who is fresh out of high school. Salutatorian of his class and plays basketball vey well because of his height. Eli changes from a funny simple guy in the beginning, to a serious focused person later on. I think Eli is a very responsible bright guy who has a very good life.I can relate to this book my love for the human body and health department. I plan on becoming something in the medical field. Eli's job is all about DNA and cell research. This is the things i like to learn about.Even though this book was about health, it is not as good as I thought it would be. It was sort of boring and not fun in my opinion.i would recommend thiss book to a person who loves science, health, and mystery because all of these are contained in this book. A doctor or a scientist might find this book nice to read.i plan to use this website to find better books. :)
2bSkyHi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This past summer for school I had to choose a novel to read: either The Secret Life of Bees or Double Helix. Since I'd already read The Secret Life of Bees, I figured I'd give this other book a chance; it sould semi-interesting. It turned out to be quite the opposite. Nothing quite exciting happened until around the last fifty pages of the book--and the book in itself was only about 250 pages. Also, there was nothing great about is literary quality either. It seemed like something a younger student would read, not a high school student! The main character lacked something that could connect him with the reader; the father, a minor character, was more interesting.
mattsya on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Werlin's mystery slash sci fi novel does not match up to similar novels by Scott Westerfield and M.T. Anderson, but it does work as a suspenseful and intriguing story about cloning. The story is quickly paced with a strong narrative voice. More simplistic than other books, it might be a better introduction to this sort of story for reluctant readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AmyyyyyDelfine More than 1 year ago
Double Helix by Nancy Werlin was by far a seriously great book. The reason I gave it four stars was because I honestly wanted the story to continue and not stop. This one in particular literally keeps you turning pages wondering "what's going to happen next?" or "I can't believe what I am reading its so good!". Eli is a fresh out of high school eighteen year old science wiz who writes to Wyatt Transgenics in which he is offered a year long internship working alongside boss, Dr.Wyatt. Eli has sort of an estranged or strenuous relationship with his father after his mother develops a deteriorating disease known as Huntington's. As the story progresses, As Eli's success continues to increase his father and his' relationship starts to decline more with his mother's slow and painful death. Eli's father finds out about his son's new job at Wyatt Transgenics and in a letter, begs him to quit only he cannot reveal the secret as to why. Not knowing the secret, Eli does not quit and continues on. However, As the story continues forward, Eli meets a fellow intern named Kayla. Eli senses something with Kayla but cannot put his finger on it, putting the question in the back of his mind while he still proceeds with his work. Eli's father reveals to him that his mother has Huntington's disease and that fortunately Eli is not a carrier of it in which he had feared. His father also reveals as to why he wants Eli to quit but does not reveal the whole truth yet, only stating that his mother and Dr.Wyatt were involved with each other somehow someway. This brings the face of Kayla back to Eli's mind as he realizes that Kayla has eerily close similarities with his mother. Eli begins to wonder if his mother and Dr.Wyatt were in some bouts of an affair? Eli begins to have many questions. He confides in his girlfriend Vivian for further answers that may help him. She discovers that there is a secret lab in the basement of the building that has a hidden elevator. Convinced of more answers, Eli then confides in Kayla who has known about Eli all along as well as his secrets that he has never revealed to anyone in his life. The two decide to venture to the basement where they find computers with coding that match Eli and Kayla's genetics, revealing that they are brother and sister by the same egg. Eli's mother had fertility problems before he had been born so she and Eli's father confided in Dr. Wyatt in hopes of having a baby. The only cost being, that Eli's mother giveaway all her eggs to the lab. In doing so, Dr. Wyatt created several clones out of the donated eggs and the children lived in the basement of the lab as they were observed for behavioral and genetic observations. In an outrage, Kayla attacks Dr.Wyatt who seems amused that the pair have found out the secrets of the labs. His amusement only stays so long after he is arrested for illegal cloning and the company is shut down. Eli's relationship with his father greatly improves and he goes on to work with the new CEO company that bought our Wyatt Transgenics. This book by far is absolutely amazing and is a must read. It is easy to understand if you know the language of science and if you absolutely love a good mystery. Truly a great book I have read by far.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book took a while to get into. It was a reasonable length, but if I'm going to read a 200 page book, I want to be into it from the beginning, however for this book, it was NOT the case! It took me from around page 150 to get into it, which I didn't like at all! The ending was very good and I liked it very much. Overall, just okay.