An escalating sibling spat delivers “a buttload of life lessons” along with tears, terrible smells, a dorky mohawk and massive numbers of video game casualties.
Following a one-sided introduction—“We are, unfortunately, twins. I am twelve years old. Reese is six”—sniffy Claudia and her brother offer somewhat different versions of how it begins: either at breakfast, when she eats his toaster pastry, or later, in the lunchroom of their upper East Side school, when he loudly dubs her “Princess Farts-A-Lot.” Be that as it may, the getback pranks proceed from a rotting fish in Reese’s backpack to a mortifying video posted on the local social network. They nearly get out of hand after Claudia’s fixation on destroying the properties that Reese and an obnoxious friend have laboriously built in digital MetaWorld morphs into cyberbullying. Along the way, both sibs enlist allies, do things they come to regret and discover that revenge somehow isn’t as satisfying as it should be. The narrative is framed as a transcript dictated by Claudia and other participants, with text-message exchanges between clueless parents as well as photos, screen shots and frequent interjections from Reese pasted in. Though Claudia’s is the main voice, for all his immaturity, Reese comes off as the more likable, less-driven of the duo.
This frothy family contretemps ends on a note of sincere reconciliation (once Reese’s hair grows back out, anyway)—that’s presumably upended in time for the sequel. (Fiction. 10-12)