Twins by Varian Johnson, Shannon Wright (Illustrations)



Goodreads: Twins
Series: Twins #1
Source: Library
Published: 2020


Maureen and Francine Carter are entering the sixth grade, and things are changing. Francine wants to be called “Fran,” she keeps disappearing after school to hang out with her new friends, and she doesn’t want to share all her classes with Maureen. Then she runs for student council president–but Maureen decides to run, too. Can their sisterly bond withstand the competition?

Star Divider


Twins joins the ranks of numerous middle grade graphic novels treating the topic of entering middle school and navigating new friendships. In this case, however, the friends are twins–cautious Maureen and her more outgoing sister Francine. Maureen imagines they will spend the sixth grade with each other, sharing classes, joining the same clubs, and going on as they have been. Francine, however, wants to make a new start as “Fran” and she does not want her sister tagging along. The result is a touching story about what it means to be friends, but also family.

I adore graphic novels with cute and colorful illustrations, so the brightly-colored spreads in Twins immediately caught my attention. Something about those cheerful pinks and yellows really says, “Middle school!” to me, even if Francine–sorry, Fran–is longing to be seen as grown up and mature. A few panels where the characters are almost drawn in a chibi-like style add to the sheer adorableness of this book.

The story itself will be familiar to fans of the trendy middle school graphic novels, most of them which seem to deal with the difficulties of changing friend groups as individuals mature at different rates. Maureen, for instance, often finds herself hanging out at the mall with her friends who are boy watching, even though she clearly is not enjoying herself. And Francine has more of a desire to break away from her twin a little and be seen as an individual rather than a unit, even though Maureen does not really care what anyone else thinks. But even though the plot elements may be familiar, the characters make the book special. Maureen and Francine are sure to win over the hearts of readers.

I loved getting to read Maureen and Francine’s story, and I hope that Twins is just the first installment of a series. The girls were a delight to get to know, and I’m sure they will have many new adventures together, always as sisters. It would be really interesting to get the next book from Francine’s perspective rather than Maureen’s. But I guess readers will just have to wait and see!

4 stars

5 thoughts on “Twins by Varian Johnson, Shannon Wright (Illustrations)

  1. mphtheatregirl says:

    As I was reading this post, I was reminded of two my characters.

    For The Greatest Discovery, two fraternal twins serve as the main characters. Aurora and Jasmine are orphans. Their name were fans of Disney and were artsy- explaining the names. These two girls are really close- but still have their differences. The book takes place in NYC- starting when the girls are 9.

    Jasmine is the more mature one and is fiercely protective after her sister especially once tragedy hits. She does doing the crafts her parents did with the two girls- particular if it was decorating an article of clothing especially on dresses. I actually can see her as a costume designer on Broadway someday.

    Aurora, on the other hand, is more innocent and would rather play with the dolls. Mali means a lot of her- that doll is all the sisters have left of their parents. Mali is named after Maleficent and wears a dress that switches from pink to blue- decorated after the princess she is named after. After the car crash that killed their parents, Aurora has some nightmares about it- these twins were in that car crash.


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