Friday, September 2, 2016

The Twinning Project by Robert Lipsyte, 2012

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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.
(272 pages)

This was a very interesting sci-fi premise, one that harks back to a lot of traditional elements of the genre (aliens, hidden powers, clones - or in this case twins - etc).

 Before I go any further, I have to get this off of my chest: the most immature scene was when the boys decided to prove that they were twins by comparing the spots on their butt cheeks where they'd been attached until surgical separation after birth. They literally pull down their pants and stand cheek to cheek to verify their story. It's gross.

Besides that one scene, which I'm sure most middle schoolers would roll with (or, more realistically, laugh at), the book is honestly pretty palatable for people of all ages. It's geared toward middle schoolers, though. It's a little more simplistic, not delving nearly as deep into the implications of this scenario as I would have liked, and the maturity level of the two main characters leaves something to be desired. Tom especially is very sketchily drawn; we're just supposed to recognize and accept that he's some great misunderstood tech genius who doesn't play well with others when really he just seems like a rude know-it-all who occasionally has some very deus-ex machina-type gadgets.

I do like the supporting characters, though, and I'm a sucker for stories about kids from the past trying to pass in the present. I haven't read very many, so the time we get watching Eddie from the 60's try to pretend he's a modern millennial was pretty fun. His attempts to get people off of their phones may have been slightly cheesy/unrealistically successful, but I still enjoyed reading about them.

Honestly, what you see is what you get. If this interests you, then go for it. Also, I think there's going to be a sequel. I have no idea when/if that's ever going to happen, though, and I'm not really interested enough to find out. The Twinning Project just really didn't thrill me the way that I'd hoped.

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