“Twins is spectacular, weird, extraordinarily real, and funny in ways they don’t have names for.”
“Dermansky is a lyrical, gifted, and original writer.…With a style that’s extremely accessible and lots of fun.”
“Dermansky excels at depicting extreme emotional states and how we rationalize them.”
“Raw, extraordinary...A dark, heartbreaking tale about adolescents trying to survive.”
“A beguiling story of the powerful ties between identical twins… Dermansky has crafted a memorable novel.”
Writers love identical twins. What tidier way to show different sides of one character, explore possible life paths or test the limits of nature and nurture? Dermansky does all that, but her twins (who take turns at narrating) transcend the gimmick in a brainy, emotionally sophisticated bildungsroman-for-two.
The New York Times
Two teenagers struggle with identity and self-determination in Dermansky's entertaining debut. To the casual observer, twins Chloe and Sue are exactly the same-even their father mixes them up sometimes. Of course, Chloe understands that they're very different people, but Sue wants nothing more than to be one with Chloe, whom she's convinced is prettier, smarter and nicer. The chapters alternate between the voices of Sue and Chloe, moving quickly but seamlessly through their high school years with their attendant dramas and tragedies. It feels primarily like Sue's story, though, because it is her desire to hold on to her perfect intimacy with Chloe that sets the plot in motion. And it is Sue's voice-variously deadpan, yearning, and frequently repetitive to good effect-that carries most of the novel's emotional weight. (Though Chloe has her moments: "I did everything for Sue. She needed me as if I were the oxygen she breathed, but she didn't understand what it cost me.") While some aspects of the tale seem unlikely (the twins' blithely neglectful parents and extremely generous friends, for example), this is balanced by an overarching fable-like quality to this moving and well-written story of two girls learning to accept who they are. Agent, Alex Glass. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
We've all heard stories about twins who are polar opposites. In her debut novel, Dermansky injects this seemingly tired premise with dark humor and raw power. At the novel's outset, the twins have just turned 13: Chloe wants to have friends, do well in school, and be a normal teenager; Sue wants to possess Chloe fully and uses increasingly destructive means to keep her twin at her side. Through their teens, the girls eventually find their own paths, in very surprising ways. Owing to the narrative's alternating chapters narrated by each twin, the reader's allegiance shifts with the girls' perspectives. Dermansky has created a fascinating set of characters, including the twins' usually absent and astonishingly selfish parents. Her portrayal of the difficulty of growing up and of raising children in today's world rings true. Recommended for all public libraries.-Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Dermansky's first novel embraces and transcends the coming of age genre by overlapping the stories of twin sisters. Adolescent twins Sue and seconds-older Chloe must pull away from each other, at least temporarily, before they can grow up. Cute blonde, identical daughters of workaholic, largely absent parents, they have spent their childhoods dependent on each other while ignoring their kindly older brother Daniel. At 13, Sue, smaller and less personable, goes to desperate lengths, including bulimia and tattoos, to hang on to her special twin relationship with Chloe. But Chloe, seemingly better adjusted, yearns to create an independent, more conventional life. Chloe becomes friends with popular, sexually predatory Lisa Markman, whose father is a retired basketball star. Angry and jealous, Sue breaks Lisa's nose and bullies Chloe unmercifully through ninth grade. At fourteen, as their parents separate and drift even further out of their lives and Daniel heads off to college, Chloe begins to play basketball under Mr. Markman's guidance. Jealous of both friend and father, Lisa shifts her allegiance to Sue who takes on a rebel outlaw identity in sharp contrast to Chloe's jock persona. But then another shift occurs when Sue runs away to stay with Daniel's college girlfriend. Befriended by the mysterious, beneficent Smita, Sue blooms into a healthy, creative high school senior. At home alone, cut off from Mr. Markman's benign and fatherly support by her own father's legal threats, Chloe begins to slide into Sue's old identity. She quits basketball, takes a slacker boyfriend and nearly self-destructs until Sue reaches out. Chloe returns to basketball and both girls are able to see themselvesmore clearly together and apart. Dermansky gives her misfits real dignity and avoids psycho-social cliches-even the screwy parents are oddly believable-while she neatly captures the girls' suburban high school world with every telling detail. Sometimes despairing, sometimes blackly humorous, always engrossing and thoroughly original. A wonderful debut.