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Never Mind!: A Twin Novel

Never Mind!: A Twin Novel

by Avi, Rachel Vail

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Edward and Meg are like night and day. How could such different people be twins? Well, they are, but they don't have to like it — or each other.

For seventh grade, brainy Meg is attending ultra-competitive Fischer, while freewheeling Edward goes to an alternative school downtown. But it's just when they're finally out of each other's shadows that the trouble


Edward and Meg are like night and day. How could such different people be twins? Well, they are, but they don't have to like it — or each other.

For seventh grade, brainy Meg is attending ultra-competitive Fischer, while freewheeling Edward goes to an alternative school downtown. But it's just when they're finally out of each other's shadows that the trouble begins. Meg's aspirations for popularity and a boyfriend combine with Edward's devious planning and lack of singing ability to set off a showdown the likes of which twindom has never before seen.

Why is this final showdown so much fun? Could it be that Meg and Edward are more alike than they thought?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Collaborating on a novel alternately narrated by seventh-grade twins, Avi and Vail invent a sit-comish plot but redeem it by endowing their characters with strong voices and relaying their mishaps with plenty of wit," said PW. Ages 10-up. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2004: Meg and Edward are twins, but as different as night and day. Meg looks almost grown-up and is a star athlete. Edward is small, uncoordinated and prefers video games. Meg has tons of friends. Edward has one. Meg tries too hard. Edward just gets by. And, at the beginning of their seventh grade year, Meg has transferred to a school for the gifted and talented, leaving her friends and especially Edward behind. All of the popular girls belong to the "High Achiever's Club," and Meg desperately wants to fit in. So desperately that she makes up a little white lie about her brother that snowballs out of control. Little does Meg realize, though, that the connection between twins can go beyond the obvious into the almost absurd. In alternating chapters with two distinct characters, Avi and Vail tell the tale of a week turned inside out and upside down on parallel tracks that are destined to converge. Readers find themselves rooting for Meg, and then rooting for Edward. And if you think you know how the story will end, never mind! Identity and acceptance, the twin motivators of adolescence, are given a light touch in this funny and fast-paced novel in two voices. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2004, HarperTrophy, 200p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Michele Winship
Children's Literature
Meg and Edward are twins but they are such opposites that it is hard to believe they are related. Meg is tall, studious and ambitious whereas Edward is short, free-spirited and rebellious. Personalities this different cannot stay in the same place for long without sparring so the twins' parents place them in separate schools—but if the two are so happy to be apart, why is it that both Meg and Edward both go out of their way to intrude on each other's social life? In alternating chapters, Meg and Edward talk about seventh grade and the party of the year that changes the way everyone views the twins as well as the way they view themselves and their fractious relationship. The novel is funny and is well paced. Meg, always the straight-laced student, and Edward, eternally up to mischief, come across as caricatures at times but both find some personal balance by the end. Readers who feel they just cannot relate to their siblings will find this book entertaining. 2004, HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 10 to 13.
—Rihoko Ueno
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Seventh-grade twins Edward and Meg are the first to proclaim that they are as different as night and day; Edward is a puny free spirit who attends an "alternative" middle school, while Meg is a control freak with low self-esteem. The twins take turns telling the story of how Meg's desire to fit in with the popular girls in her elite school and Edward's inability to resist taking his sister down a peg result in a fabrication of monstrous proportions. Soon everyone at Meg's school thinks she has a tall, gorgeous, rock star brother named Ted, a fiction that Edward (unbeknownst to Meg) encourages by impersonating Ted on the phone. The voices of the twins are eerily realistic and convincing, from Edward's choppy, casual comments on life to Meg's anguished ruminations. The readiness of most characters to believe whatever people tell them, leading to ludicrous misunderstandings, requires a willing suspension of disbelief, but the way events rapidly spin out of control makes this an enticing read for boys and girls alike. The climax, during which Edward's makeshift band does NOT suddenly become the next Nirvana, is hysterically funny and over-the-top, yet completely realistic. The twins' dawning tolerance and appreciation of one another at the end is a little pat considering their earlier violent antipathy, but also quite a relief. Light, fun, and sure to be popular.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Avi and Vail pair up in this often hilarious and sometimes poignant comedy of errors starring 12-year-old dueling fraternal twins. On the surface, Edward and Meg couldn't be more different-"like night and day," as their mother says. Separately, they are struggling to figure out who they are as individuals. The story unfolds in Manhattan in just five days, shortly after they've started seventh grade-Meg at a school for highly gifted students, and Edward at Charlton Street Alternative. What starts out as a way for Meg to appear cool-she reinvents her "immature, runty, underachiever" brother as a "brilliant, rock/classical bass player" in a hip band-and for Edward to embarrass his sister, escalates into screwball comedy. Surprised by what happens, they realize they have more in common than they thought, and also emerge with a stronger sense of themselves as individuals. The authors explore complicated early adolescent dilemmas and conflicts with comedic agility. It's a real collaboration; the alternating voices of their characters ring true, and the narrative is seamless. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Two books in one
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.41(d)
620L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Never Mind!
A Twin Novel

Chapter One


Though my sister, Meg, and I were born on the same day, I am ten minutes older, which -- trust me -- is a lot. True, we have the same parents, live in the same 106th Street apartment, same city, state, country, continent. But I'm nothing like her. No way, big way. So I didn't consider myself her twin.

Like, in fifth grade we had to interview our grandparents, asking them sixteen questions the teacher handed out. No offense, but our grandparents are not that interesting. So I made up new answers. Problem was the teacher didn't believe my grandmother hunted armadillos with a bow and arrow or that my grand-father had the world's largest under-glass ant farm.

Meg did the boring facts. Got an A.

Then there was that time we had to do a report on a favorite animal. Meg wrote about the three-day life of our only pet, a sorry goldfish named Polly. There was nothing to say, really. It lived, it ate, it went belly-up.

I wrote about my pet porcupine, which lived in my closet and chased away burglars. When I read it out loud in class, everyone laughed except Meg . . . and the teacher.

Fortunately, this year my parents figured out a way to send us to different middle schools for seventh grade.

"You each have your own talents and styles," Mom said.

"We like it that you're each unusual in your own way," added my dad. "We want to encourage your individuality."

So when seventh grade started -- three weeks ago -- Meg went to Fischer High on the East Side. I went to Charlton Street Alternative School, downtown.

Meg, as usual, will probably get As in all her classes. An A- or B+ on a quiz means supersulks.

My new school doesn't give grades, because they aren't considered meaningful. You pass or fail in small classes where we do lots of projects, field trips, and hands-on stuff. So far, considering that I have to go to school, it seems okay.

Meg isn't just a perfect student. She's also great at sports. She has show-off ribbons (swimming) and trophies (soccer).

I like skateboarding.

Her room is spotless.

My room is a mess.

Meg expects to become a senator. Maybe president. Grown-ups like that. "Good for you," they say. "Like to see that kind of ambition. You've got my vote." Ha ha. Not mine.

If they ask me what I'm going to do, I just say, "Nothing." My hero? Bill Gates. World's richest man -- didn't go to college.

Also, Meg looks a lot older than me. She's at least a foot taller -- a frigging giantess -- and thinks she can look and act like an eighth grader. Ninth, maybe.

Me? The first day of school, Mr. Feffer, the bald teacher with gross hair tufts in his nose, asked me the date of my birth because he wasn't sure I was even supposed to be in the seventh grade. That's how puny people think I am. My rat's-tail haircut and fake tattoos don't help.

Also, Meg has six gazillion friends. If she isn't in a crowd, she feels like she's on a desert island. She and her friends talk to each other on the phone all the time. When she hangs up and I ask, "Who was that?" she'll always answer, "One of my friends you don't know."

(Of course I do know. Because I often listen in on the kitchen extension. My sister may be smart, but she ain't too swift.)

Until this week I had one friend, Stuart Barcaster. While he is the best dude in the world -- and worth more than all her friends put together -- he was the only one I had.

Get my point? She's twelve noon. I'm midnight. We are that different.

So, then, how can I explain what happened?

Never Mind!
A Twin Novel
. Copyright © by Sebastien Avi. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Avi is the award-winning author of more than seventy-five books for young readers, ranging from animal fantasy to gripping historical fiction, picture books to young adult novels. Crispin: The Cross of Lead won the Newbery Medal, and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth were awarded Newbery Honors. He is also the author of the popular Poppy series. Avi lives outside Denver, Colorado. You can visit him online at www.avi-writer.com.

Rachel Vail is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed novels If We Kiss and Lucky, Gorgeous, and Brilliant (the Avery sisters trilogy) and more than a dozen other novels for young teens, including the Friendship Ring series. Rachel has also written many beloved picture books, including Piggy Bunny and Sometimes I'm Bombaloo, and two hit novels for elementary school kids, Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters; and Justin Case: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom. Rachel lives in New York City with her husband and their two sons.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 23, 1937
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964

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