Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Double Act

Double Act

5.0 1
by Nick Sharratt, Sue Heap (Illustrator)
Ruby and Garnet are ten-year-old identical twins who do everything together. Especially since their mother died three years ago. At school the girls are known simply as The Twins. They dress alike, wear their hair the same way, and sit together in every class. In fact, everything about them is the same -- except their personalities. Ruby is funny


Ruby and Garnet are ten-year-old identical twins who do everything together. Especially since their mother died three years ago. At school the girls are known simply as The Twins. They dress alike, wear their hair the same way, and sit together in every class. In fact, everything about them is the same -- except their personalities. Ruby is funny and outgoing, Garnet is sensitive and shy. Together they're the perfect double act -- and that's just the way they like it.
Soon the twins' life is turned upside down. Their dad and his friend Rose buy a bookstore out in the country and the whole family moves. Ruby hates their new school, but Garnet thinks it isn't that bad. When Garnet becomes friends with some of their new classmates, Ruby feels betrayed and stops speaking to Garnet. Garnet misses her sister terribly but has to admit it's nice doing things on her own for a change. Somehow the girls will have to finda way to maintain their special twin relationship without spending every minute of the day together.
Both humorous and tender, Double Act is the touching story of two girls coming to terms with their own identities and learning that being independent doesn't have to mean being alone.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An unexceptional mix of familiar plot devices, this British import is almost gratingly obvious. Ten-year-old twins Ruby and Garnet take turns narrating, and although their voices aren't especially different, they are meant to be opposites. Ruby is outgoing, Garnet shy; Ruby leads, Garnet follows. Their mother has died long ago, and now their father has a girlfriend, whom they immediately reject. The four move from the city to the country, where the twins are desperately unhappy. Serious issues, like the burdens of twinhood and the difficulties of forging independent identities, become lost amid a surfeit of frothy subplots, including an audition for a TV show and a plan to enter a ritzy boarding school. The narration is frequently cloying, as in Ruby's comments about her father's taste for classic literature: "If we have a look at Dad's book we wonder what the Dickens they're about and they seem very Hardy, but Dad likes them." The brittle nature of Wilson's (Elsa, Star of the Shelter) writing finds its extension in her glib resolution of the conflicts, and the illustrations, rendered as if by Ruby and Garnet, are as flat and unrevealing as the story. Ages 9-12. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6A story written in the form of a journal with identical twin sisters writing in turns. The 10-year-old girls have always relished their twinship: making it impossible for people to tell them apart, working out signals so they can pretend to sneeze simultaneously, toss their braids in perfect synchronization, etc. At least, Ruby has always loved itbut then she's the dominant, extroverted one. Garnet seems to have been going along for the ride, safe in Ruby's shadow. When the twins' lives begin to changea new girlfriend for their father, and then a new job in a new town with the corresponding new school for his daughterstheir relationship is suddenly ripe for examination. When Ruby persuades her to audition for a TV series, Garnet rises to the occasion but is paralyzed with fear and subsequently guilt-ridden to have spoiled Ruby's chance at stardom. Next, Ruby plots their escape from home by applying to boarding school, but only Garnet passes the entrance exam. In the throes of making the decision to attend, she finds inner strength, and in finally acknowledging her twin's separate identity, Ruby affirms her love. Though the twins' voices are not always clearly differentiated as to vocabulary and style, their characters and interests are consistently distinct. Black-and-white cartoons add to the generally lighthearted tone. This is a solid but not a stunning read.Miriam Lang Budin, Mt. Kisco Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
From Wilson (The Suitcase Kid, 1997, etc.), a lightweight British import that is a telling study of twindom's trials and tribulations. Doing their best to make everyone miserable in the process, ten-year-old identical twins Ruby and Garnet reluctantly adapt to changes in their family and themselves in this revealing double journal. As close in other ways as twins can be, Ruby is otherwise as rude and bossy as Garnet is shy and wimpy. Ruby doesn't like Rose, the new woman in their father Richard's life, nor his decision to move to a small town and open a bookshop, nor their new teacher, nor their classmates, so Garnet trails along on a campaign of pranks and bad behavior, offering only token resistance. Then the twins, at Ruby's instigation, take an entrance exam for an expensive boarding school and only Garnet is offered a scholarship. Wilson works with a broad brush, exaggerating the differences in the twins' personalities, and endowing Rose and Richard with inhuman funds of patience. While readers will spend most of the book wondering why Ruby wasn't strangled long ago, she takes the impending separation from her twin so much harder than Garnet that she becomes a tragic figure. In the end, the two part with hugs and tears, and start making new friends almost immediately. Their alternating accountsRuby's long and chatty, Garnet's short but eloquentare illustrated with simple black-and-white drawings, each twin done by a different artist, to no distinguishable effect. (Fiction. 9-11)

From the Publisher

"A book of the highest quality."  —Mail on Sunday

"An exuberant story . . . the ingenious split narrative, inventive page design and lots of incidental pictures make this book irresistible."  —Guardian

"Hilarious tale which contains dark notes that ring very true."  —The Times

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.15(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.49(d)
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

We're twins. I'm Ruby. She's Garnet.

We're identical. There's very few people who can -tell us apart. Well, until we start talking. I tend to go on and on. Garnet is much quieter

That's ~ because I can't get a word in edgeways.

We are exactly the same height and weight. I eat a bit more than Garnet. I love candy, and I like salty things too. I once ate thirteen bags of potato chips in one day. All salt-and-vinegar flavor. I love lots of salt and vinegar on french fries too. French-fried potatoes are my special weakness. I go munch munch munch gulp and they're gone. So then I have to scarf some of Garnet's. She doesn't mind.

Yes I do.

I don't get fatter because I run around more. I hate sitting still. Garnet will sit hunched over a book for hours, but I get the fidgets. We're both good at running, Garnet and me. At our last intramural sports day at school we beat everyone, even the boys. We came in first. Well, I did, actually. Garnet came in second. But that's not surprising, seeing that I'm the oldest. We're both ten. But I'm twenty minutes older. I was the bossy baby who pushed out first. Garnet came second.

We live with our dad and our grandmother.

Dad often can't tell us apart in the morning at breakfast, but then his eyes aren't always quite open. He just swallows black coffee as he jumps into his clothes and then dashes off for his train. Dad works in an office in London and he hates it. He's always tired out when he gets home. But he can tell us apart by then. It's easier in the evening. My braids are generally coming undone and my T-shirt's probably stained. Garnet stays as neat as a pin.

That's what our grandmother says.Gran always used to have pins stuck all down the front of her cardigan. We had to be very careful when we hugged her. Sometimes she even had pins sticking out of her mouth. That was when she did her dressmaking. She used to work in this exclusive boutique, pinning and tucking and sewing all day long. Then, after ...

Well, Gran had to look after us, you see, so she did dressmaking at home. For private customers. Mostly very large ladies who wanted the latest fashions. Garnet and I always got the giggles when we peeped at them in their underwear.

Gran made all our clothes too. That was awfuL It-was bad enough Gran being old-fashioned and making us have our hair in braids. But our clothes made us a laughingstock at school, though some of the mothers said we looked a perfect picture.

We had frilly dresses in summer and dinky pleated skirts in winter, and di-an knitted tooangora boleros that -made us itch, and matching sweaters and cardigans for the cold. Twinsets. And a very silly set of twins we looked too.

But then Gran's arthritis got worse. She'd always had funny fingers and a bad hip and a trick knee. But soon she got so she'd screw up her face when she got up or sat down, and her fingers swelled sideways and she couldn't make them work.

She can't do her dressmaking now. It's a shame, because she loved doing it so much. But there's one Amazing Advantage. We get to wear store-bought clothes now. And because Gran can't really make it on the bus into town, we get to choose.

Well ... Ruby gets to choose.

I choose for both of us. T-shirts. Ilights. Jeans. Matching ones, of course. We still want to look alike. We just want to look normal.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Copyright 1999 by Jacqueline Wilson

Meet the Author

JACQUELINE WILSON is an extremely well-known and  hugely popular author who served as Children's Laureate from 2005-7.  She was been awarded a number of prestigious awards, including the British Children's Book of the Year and the Guardian Children's Fiction Award (for The Illustrated Mum), the Smarties Prize and the Children’s Book Award (for Double Act, for which she was also highly commended for the Carnegie Medal).  In 2002 Jacqueline was given an OBE for services to literacy in schools and in 2008 she was appointed a Dame.  She was the author most borrowed from British libraries in the last decade.

NICK SHARRATT has written and illustrated many books for chidren and won numerous awards for his picture books, including the Sheffield Children's Book Award and the 2001 Children's Book Award.  He has also enjoyed great success illustrating Jacqueline Wilson books.  Nick lives in Edinburgh.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Double Act 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was really good good escpecially if you've just moved or have an identicle twin