Twins is a fun read and one I have now owned two copies of, so I am hanging on to this one so I don’t have to buy a third! Maureen and Francine have always been together in the same class but now, as they enter middle school, they’ve been separated in all but two classes. Maureen, who is shyer, wants them to be in the same classes, but Francine seems thrilled to have time away from her twin. Maureen also has the added misery of being in Cadet Corps, an activity she would never have picked on her own. Francine pulls away more and more, even choosing to go by Fran, and Maureen has to figure out how to navigate friendships and school on her own for the first time. The tension between them grows until they end up running against each other for class president.
I like that this is a story of individuation and self-actualization, with Maureen having to realize that Francine also has struggles and being outwardly confident can hide inward insecurity. Maureen also becomes a more confident person herself as she goes through Cadet Corps, makes her own friends, and faces her deep fear of public speaking. The art is super fun and lively, and the story moves at a good pace. Their parents also are portrayed as actively involved but also owning up to mistakes they make, which I always appreciate — I also find that a lot of middle grade books make the parents disappear or have minimal involvement to keep the focus on the kids, but that’s not really realistic and I appreciate a supportive parent-child relationship. Overall this is a fun read and a good portrayal of a relationship in flux that comes out stronger through communication.