Review: Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright

Twins is such a cute little read. It's a graphic novel about sisters--identical twins--who are going through some changes. Maureen and Francine are about to start middle school. They've always dressed the same, and been in the same class, but now that they are starting sixth grade, things are different. For a start, the pair only have three classes together. And suddenly Francine is acting well, different. First of all, she seems pleased that she and Maureen have only three classes together. Second, she wants to dress and look different from her sister. Third, she wants to be known as Fran. Fourth, and finally, she's constantly busy and doesn't seem to have time for Maureen anymore, even though Maureen is struggling to find her feet at her new school.

Then both sisters decide to run for class president for very different reasons, without telling the other what they plan to do. Suddenly its war. Can the sisters ever be friends again?

I loved Shannon Wright's artwork and the 'main' storyline of this one. It's no secret that I occasionally enjoy picking up books that are intended for kids, especially when they're well written. Eleven is also an age and a time in my life that I remember quite well, and I found Maureen's sense of isolation to be quite relatable. I think everyone feels a little bit isolated at that age when things begin to change at school and with their friends. And if there are books like this one around that make kids who are currently having these experiences around, then I fully support it.

I do have one big, huge, massive grumble about this book and it's to do with the lack of communication between Maureen and her parents. Or, to be more specific, her parents have not communicated certain things to her, and have actively tried to deceive her and this is shown in the book to be an almost wholly positive thing, in spite of the fact that it is this very lack of communication that has caused the problems between the sisters, and consequently, made things harder for Maureen than they needed to be. (Though her parents do, at least, apologise.) Fran's reasons for wanting to be the person she is in middle school are shown as being compelling, rather than it being a case of her just being a brat or wanting to be accepted by the cool kids.

Overall, though, Twins is a touching read about starting middle school and finding a sense of self.

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