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TWINS by Varian Johnson Kirkus Star


From the Twins series, volume 1

by Varian Johnson ; illustrated by Shannon Wright

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-338-23617-0
Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Sixth grade presents new challenges for the Carter twins.

It’s the first day of school, and African American identical twins Maureen and Francine Carter are having mixed feelings. Maureen is nervous about middle school: She has a new confusing schedule, cadet corps, and, worst of all, classes without Francine. She worries that middle school will swallow her alive. Francine, however, is looking forward to everything sixth grade can offer. She can’t wait to be in new surroundings, try new classes, and grab new opportunities to shine, like joining the student council race. Outgoing Francine is all set to start campaigning, but when Maureen decides to run as well, it threatens to tear the two apart. As Francine pushes to stand out, Maureen yearns to fit in, and neither sees eye to eye. Johnson, in his first graphic novel, encapsulates the rocky transition from the comfort of elementary school to the new and sometimes-scary world of middle school. The sibling bond is palpable and precious as each conflict and triumph pushes them apart or pulls them together. Wright’s illustrations fill the pages with vibrancy and emotion. The diverse student body, careful touches in the Carter home, and background elements in the mall scenes stand out for their warmth, humor, and realism. The small details that differentiate Maureen and Francine, while maintaining their mirrored features, are delightful.

A touching, relatable story of identity, sisterhood, and friendship.

(Graphic fiction. 10-14)