The Twinning Project


Tom is a smart, talented loner with a chip on his shoulder and a big secret: an imaginary twin on another planet. Eddie is Tom's opposite, a friendly, athletic kid who always looks on the good side. Tom worries sometimes: does confiding in Eddie mean he's nuts? The truth is even crazier than that. Eddie and his planet are just as real as Tom and his Earth, but fifty-some years in the past. And the twins are caught up in an alien master plan that might just mean Earth—both Earths—will be destroyed. Switching ...

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The Twinning Project

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Tom is a smart, talented loner with a chip on his shoulder and a big secret: an imaginary twin on another planet. Eddie is Tom's opposite, a friendly, athletic kid who always looks on the good side. Tom worries sometimes: does confiding in Eddie mean he's nuts? The truth is even crazier than that. Eddie and his planet are just as real as Tom and his Earth, but fifty-some years in the past. And the twins are caught up in an alien master plan that might just mean Earth—both Earths—will be destroyed. Switching places and identities, "slipping" between planets and across decades, a desperate escape, and the unraveling of deeper secrets leave Tom and Eddie aware of the danger they're facing and the tools they can use to overcome it.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lipsyte (Center Field) departs from his usual sports themes, bringing a strong sense of character (if not plot) to science fiction in this tale of aliens, parallel worlds, and conspiracy theories. Seventh-grader Tom is an outcast and an outsider, getting expelled from school after school for fighting bullies. With Tom’s father having disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the boy’s only comfort comes from talking through his problems with his imaginary twin, Eddie, a jock who lives on a version of Earth 50 years behind Tom’s (Eddie is full of mid-century slang like “Later, alligator”). When the boys’ “grandfather” on both Earths reveals that the twin planets were created by alien scientists, the boys switch places to fight for the survival of both Earths. The plot occasionally gets convoluted, and Tom gets out of jams too often with gadgets of his own invention that feel out of place. But the relationship between the twins, as well as the strong supporting cast (notably Tom’s body-conscious outsider friend, Alessa, and a homeless runaway named Ronnie), are strong enough to carry the story. Ages 10–14. Agent: Jay Mandel, William Morris Endeavor. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"A multi-world adventure starring a band of heroes that readers will want to join."—Kirkus
"An exciting premise, short chapters, and plenty of action make this a good choice for reluctant readers."—School Library Journal
Children's Literature - Miranda McClain
Tom thought that his imaginary twin brother Eddie was a sign that he was crazier than your average middle school student. After all he was the bad kid, the rebel, why throw crazy into the bargain. But when he learns that Eddie is all too real, just from a different planet fifty years behind ours; and the two of them are the Earth's last hope against a meddling alien species about to destroy them both, he realizes surviving middle school is going to be a lot harder than he had bargained for. Thankfully he had managed to make at least one good friend, Alessa, and when he and Eddie switch places, the much more charismatic Eddie even manages to turn Tom's biggest enemy, a bully named Britsky into a powerful ally. It turns out the boys will need all the friends they can get against the evil Dr. Traum. This fast paced sci-fi thriller gives the typical adolescent relationships an intriguing twist and will hook young readers on this ever-popular genre. Though neither the plot nor the characters are all that original the story is told well and easily captivates the reader's interest.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Tom is not a happy middle schooler. He lost his father two years ago, he keeps getting into trouble, and his only friend is an imaginary twin brother, Eddie, who lives on an Earth that is 50 years behind his own. But it turns out that Eddie is not imaginary. There really is an Earth2, and the brothers find out that both worlds are in trouble. The alien scientists who created the planets believe them to be a failed experiment and are ready to destroy them, and Tom and Eddie must switch places to try to thwart their plan. An exciting premise, short chapters, and plenty of action make this a good choice for reluctant readers, and the ending promises future installments.—Laurie Slagenwhite Walters, Peachtree Montessori International, Ann Arbor, MI
Kirkus Reviews
A high stakes twin-switch adventure. Unconventional, antisocial Thomas "Tom" Canty is highly intelligent and a gifted musician. He also has a bad habit of getting expelled from schools for standing up against bullies. Being a rebel and talking to his "imaginary" friend are two of the coping mechanisms he developed after his father went missing in a plane crash. His friend, Eddie, lives on a slightly younger alternate Earth, about 50 years in the past. Eddie is Tom's identical twin and polar opposite--athletic and popular. Third-person perspectives of other characters, such as the not-so-imaginary Eddie, fill gaps in Tom's first-person narration. The twins are key figures for a group of alien scientists wanting to take down the resistance that protects both Earths from imminent destruction, and the twins must switch places for some reason never fully explained. The overarching threat is ill-defined, but the immediate struggles of the young protagonists keep the story moving and enjoyable. The alien villains--who can appear on both Earths at the same time to menace all characters, although how is never addressed--are underdeveloped, like the threat they pose. Instead, the writing tightly focuses on Tom, Eddie and their friends on each Earth, and their interactions are more than strong enough to carry the weight of the plot. A multi-world adventure starring a band of heroes that readers will want to join. (Science fiction. 9-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544225220
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 444,180
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Lipsyte

Robert Lipsyte was an award-winning sportswriter for the New York Times and the Emmy-winning host of the nightly public affairs show The Eleventh Hour . He is the author of over a dozen acclaimed novels for young adults and is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring his lifetime contribution in that genre. He has also written numerous works of fiction and nonfiction for adults. He lives in Manhattan and on Shelter Island, New York, with his wife, Lois Morris, and his dog, Milo. Visit his website at .

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Nearmont, N.J.

I don’t fit in at school because I don’t do what I’m told if it’s stupid. I don’t keep my mouth shut when I have something to say. I don’t let bullies push me around. And I can’t just stand there and watch bullies pick on other kids. That’s how I got kicked out of my last middle school.
   I was in the cafeteria minding my own business but keeping my eyes unstuck, as usual. You have to stay alert. I was eating at one of the tables back near the trash cans. The zombies call kids who eat at those tables losers, dorks, orcs, humps, trolls, Goths, stoners—you know, because they can’t stand people who aren’t undead like them.
   I call us rebels.
   This was on a Friday before a football game, and there was a pep rally going on in the center of the cafeteria. I can’t understand why middle school kids play football.
   Jocks are dumb enough already. They don’t need their brains banged around more. The jocks yelled, their girlfriends danced, and the zombies clapped. At the rebel tables we pretended to ignore them.
   One of the jock bullies noticed that we weren’t clapping, so he walked over with that jock-bully walk, toes pointed in, shoulders rolling, and said, “Where’s your school spirit?”
   The rebels froze up and looked down.
   This is a problem. It takes a lot to get rebels to do something as a group. Rebels need leaders, but they have trouble following one. They’re rebels.
   The jock bully picked up a tray from our table and let the food slide down on a kid’s head. Spaghetti and chocolate pudding. The jocks and their girlfriends cheered, and the zombies clapped harder. The teachers pretended they were too busy on their BlackBerries to notice. Teachers let jocks get away with stuff. Maybe they’re afraid of them, too.
   I recognized the bully, a guy who was always slamming into kids’ shoulders in the hall. He wasn’t even a good football player. Typical.
   He picked up two more full trays and started strutting around the table, balancing them on his palms. He kept turning his head to make sure the jerks at the jock tables were watching. They whistled and pounded their feet as he circled my table deciding whom he would trash next.
   I waited until he was three steps away before I slipped out my TPT GreaseShot IV. It’s about as big as a pencil flashlight: the smallest cordless grease gun you can buy online. It has an electronic pulse and can be set for semi or full automatic. I had only one chance and I’d never used the grease gun in combat before. I put it on full automatic.
   He was about a foot away when he turned his head again back toward the jock tables. That’s when I fired grease in front of his red LeBron X South Beach sneakers.
   The right sneaker hit the grease puddle, slid, and went up in the air.
   He went down in slow motion.
   It was funny. I was thinking, Too bad nobody’s shooting this.
   Too bad, somebody was. You can see it on YouTube.
   The two trays rose off his palms. He was howling like a dog as the veggie tacos, burgers, fries, and drinks avalanched onto his head. Then his left sneaker slid into the grease and he was lifted completely off the floor.
   Kids were screaming as he slammed down on his back, arms out. I’m not sure exactly what happened next because that part wasn’t on YouTube and I was moving out.
   I try not to hang around the scene of my paybacks. It’s a sure way to get caught—standing around looking like you’re waiting for applause.
   It didn’t matter. The YouTube clip shows that the person shooting the grease gun was wearing the same blue Bach Off! hoodie I was wearing that day.
   It was a zero-tolerance school.

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