Overview

New York Times bestselling author and Printz Award winner Walter Dean Myers once again connects with teenagers everywhere in Darius & Twig, a novel about friendship and needing to live one's own dream. This touching and raw teen novel from the author of Monster, Kick, We Are America, Bad Boy, and many other celebrated literary works for children and teens is a Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

Darius and Twig are an unlikely pair: Darius is a writer whose only escape is his ...

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Darius & Twig

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author and Printz Award winner Walter Dean Myers once again connects with teenagers everywhere in Darius & Twig, a novel about friendship and needing to live one's own dream. This touching and raw teen novel from the author of Monster, Kick, We Are America, Bad Boy, and many other celebrated literary works for children and teens is a Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

Darius and Twig are an unlikely pair: Darius is a writer whose only escape is his alter ego, a peregrine falcon named Fury, and Twig is a middle-distance runner striving for athletic success. But they are drawn together in the struggle to overcome the obstacles that life in Harlem throws at them. The two friends must face down bullies, an abusive uncle, and the idea that they'll be stuck in the same place forever.

A 2014 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In New York City's Harlem neighborhood, two high school friends approach graduation with different dreams. Narrator Darius knows it takes more than a high school diploma to have the life he wants and, despite mediocre grades, develops his creative fiction for publication in the Delta Review, boosting his hopes for a college scholarship. His best friend Manuel Fernandez, or "Twig," is a long-distance runner looking ahead only as far as the next race. Along with a high grade-point average, Twig has the athleticism to catch the attention of college scouts in the big race but is being pressured to quit the track team and work in his uncle's bodega. Both boys face daily run-ins with Tall Boy and Midnight, two classmates with rap sheets and vengeful thug behavior. Ultimately, Darius and Twig learn of a shooting and are faced with the moral dilemma of coming to the aid of their tormentors. The portrayal of Harlem is realistic and nuanced, describing the sweetness of the neighborhood vibe and its friendly and supportive adults while also showing animosity among ethnic enclaves, and random violence. Darius's alter ego, Fury the peregrine falcon, appears at the beginning of some chapters as both guardian and predator above the city streets. An unfinished story about a boy testing his limits by swimming with dolphins comes to a poignant conclusion, as Darius similarly overcomes his own obstacles. Less gritty than many of Myers's titles, this book will satisfy his legions of fans.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
Publishers Weekly
Printz winner Myers (Monster) delivers another excellent character-driven novel, this time focusing on the strength and encouragement that come from a trusted friendship. Harlem teenager Darius, a writer, wants to get out of his neighborhood and make it to college, but his grades aren't good enough. He's hoping that if he can get a story published, he might nab a college scholarship. His best friend Twig is a track star, and sees athletics as his escape. Both are skeptical of the hype they are fed about how hard work pays off, and they face obstacles ranging from school bullies and unsupportive parents to indifferent educators and classmates who don't want others "to get away from the crappy little universes they had created for themselves." Myers homes in on the intimacy between Twig and Darius and their struggles at writing and racing, without letting the oppressiveness of their neighborhood or their home lives either fade to the background or into cliché. Ages 13–up. Agent: Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency. (May)
Booklist (starred review)
Myers has written another gritty, suspenseful, street-smart novel with a viscerally real setting in which young men must struggle to overcome obstacles by finding the best within them...Surely will inspire their readers to seek to do the same.
Booklist
Myers has written another gritty, suspenseful, street-smart novel with a viscerally real setting in which young men must struggle to overcome obstacles by finding the best within them...Surely will inspire their readers to seek to do the same.
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Like Virginia Euwer Wolff's Verna LaVaughn, Esme Raj Codell's Sahara, or Jacqueline Woodson's Miracle's Boys, Myers' Darius and Twig have been dealt a rotten hand in life and are struggling to find a way through or above or out. The reader simply aches for them and also roots for them to succeed. And, because of these authors' great skill in recreating these worlds, we will be acutely aware, as Myers puts it, that "the shit in your life doesn't go away easy." Darius and Twig are in high school in Harlem. Twig can fly like a bird when he runs; Darius soars like a bird in his mind. His alter ego is a falcon named Fury that seeks out the evil creatures in the world and eliminates them—no malice, just clearing the way for those creatures that want to get on with their lives. In the meantime, he is the anchor and the encouragement for Twig to run, maybe get a college scholarship, and not get dragged down by an uncle who wants to enslave him in the little bodega the family owns. Darius' English teacher wants him to pursue a promising response from a literary review to a story he submitted, but he does not really know the motivation of his character—something the editors seem to think is necessary if the story is to be published. Both boys are struggling to stay out of the way of their thuggish classmates who want nothing more from life than to bring everyone around them down to their level. Does finding their best selves mean leaving family and this world behind they wonder? This is an inspiring story about friends supporting each other as they each dig deeply to find out what is important and not relinquish hope for the future. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
VOYA - Amy Wyckoff
Growing up in Harlem surrounded by bullies who thrive on picking on anyone smaller, Darius and Twig know they are lucky to have each other. This pair has a vision for their future, but with scarce resources and few adult role models, they cannot see a clear path to getting out of Harlem and moving on to college. Darius has a passion for writing but is searching for a voice all his own. Twig is passionate about running, and he is determined not to give up his track dreams, even when his overbearing uncle tries to guilt him into working in the family store. Darius and Twig prove that they have not become heartless, like those around them, when they help a local bully in a time of need. Their actions lift them above their surroundings and show they can soar higher, just like Darius's alter ego, Fury, a peregrine falcon. This is the story of best friends who push each other to overcome the current barriers of their lives in the inner city. It is not a surprise that Myers has written another standout novel for male teens. This encouraging text may inspire teens who feel trapped by their surroundings. Darius and Twig have goals for their future, and they see them through, despite the odds against them. Told in Darius's voice, the prose is poetic but concise. This would be a worthwhile addition to any middle or high school media center or public library shelf and would make a valuable book for discussion in a middle school classroom. Reviewer: Amy Wyckoff
Kirkus Reviews
A beautifully written story of friendship and the strength required to rise above limiting circumstances. Darius is a writer. Twig is a runner. Best friends since they were 9, the two 16-year-olds struggle with growing up in Harlem and, even more so, with making a better future for themselves. Through Darius' poignant first-person narration, readers will sympathize with his feelings of hopelessness and being trapped in a life he doesn't want, though Twig's success on the track gives him faith that he might one day succeed as a writer. Darius also finds solace imagining himself as a falcon named Fury, soaring far above all of the problems that plague him. But the challenges Darius faces are constant and threaten to pull him back to earth--from bullies to his depressed mother and absent father to his own feelings of being overwhelmed, especially as the consequences of his past choices threaten his future. Darius and Twig's conversations are both lyrically poetic and endearingly heartfelt as they fight to forge a brighter future than the limited options they see before them. Set in opposition to the bullies who make their lives difficult, Darius and Twig exemplify true friendship--two people who have been fortunate enough to find each other, who encourage one another and push each other to do their best--and the life-altering difference having a true friend can make. Myers at his impassioned best. (Fiction. 13 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062209252
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/23/2013
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 214,791
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • File size: 686 KB

Meet the Author

Five-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Walter Dean Myers is the acclaimed author of a wide variety of nonfiction and fiction for young people. His nonfiction includes We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart; Now Is Your Time!: The African-American Struggle for Freedom; I've Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told; Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly; and Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam, a Jane Addams Children's Book Award winner. His illustrious list of young adult novels includes Darius & Twig; All the Right Stuff; Lockdown; Dope Sick; Autobiography of My Dead Brother; New York Times bestseller Monster, the first winner of the Michael L. Printz Award; and many more. He was the 2012-2013 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and an inaugural NYC Literary Honoree. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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