Review #2: Twin Spinby Adam Cece. Published by Scholastic Australia 2019.
I loved Cece’s Wesley Booth Super Sleuth, so I approached Twin Spin with every expectation of enjoyment.
I wasn’t disappointed. Twin Spin has everything a middle grade reader could want. Fun and completely different sisters, a ditsy best friend, a famous teen rap band, the right amount of romance and adults whose evil ways are redeemed by the teen heroes.
And twins. Identical twins must be one of the staples of middle grade imagination and as a girl who spent most of her pre-teen years with an imaginary twin, I was pleased to see the trope handled with panache.
The first protagonist Anna opens the story with a heartfelt complaint about her twin sister Steff “stealing her identity”. In keeping with her obsession with organisation she tells us precisely how this crime was committed before the story takes us to Steff’s OMG moment as she meets her favourite rap band in her sister’s identity as a teen TV reporter.
Enter a ditsy fan, an aggressive band manager, the cute rap artist Hamish and an accident that has “Anna” receive a black eye on camera and the story is off and running. Now the twins have to stay swapped for a week, Steph has to rescue her sisters TV career (and save the band who may be breaking up) while Anna, who never does anything without a plan, has to perform as the lead artist in a rap contest.
No-one could call the plot realistic but that’s one of the reasons I loved it. In a world where more and more preteens are succumbing to anxiety and depression Twin Spin is a breath of candy scented air, a taste of the joyous fun of childhood. And amidst the rap stars and happy endings the twins learn some valuable lessons. Anna learns to trust herself and let go, Steff learns there are times when planning can help and that she can’t always do what she wants without consequences. It’s a message we all need to hear enclosed is a rollicking story that anyone can enjoy.
This is a great read for tweens and when you’re racing around this December don’t forget to add Twin Spin to your Christmas shopping list.
Review #1: HIDE by S.J. Morgan. Published by Midnight Sun 2019.
Alec is hitchhiking to Alice, when the car he’s in turns off the road. Now he’s trapped, the heat pounding against the windscreen, the car charging down a track on the way to nowhere when the driver offers him the only explanation he’s going to get. ‘Zip it,’ he said. ‘I picked you up for one reason and one reason only. And it weren’t for your company.’ At that point I was hooked. S. J. Morgan’s Hide flips between a bikie share-house in Cardiff and the Australian outback as it tells the story of how Alec ended up on that deserted highway. On the way we meet Minto and his biker mates; Alec’s ex-navy Dad; his Mum still mourning the loss of her daughter and Alec’s girlfriend Daniella. I loved Daniella’s strength and humanity but it’s Minto’s girl Sindy who really steals the show. Morgan presents the fourteen-year-old bikie chick with no trace of sentimentality and yet Sindy is oddly appealing and I found it easy to see why Alec and his family wanted to help her. From the moment Sindy enters the story, standing naked outside Minto’s door, with matted hair and a body odour problem the stage is set for disaster. Alec’s parents offer help and the twists and turns of the plot begin. Hide offers the reader a thrilling and complex story grounded in the details of real life. It’s scary, touching and always engaging. Just make sure you have a night to spare, this is not a book you will want to put down.