The Twin

by Natasha Preston

“Mom kept popping in my head in the early hours, consuming every thought. Some of them were facts; some took a fictional route and ran with it. I know how she died, so why did my mind keep conjuring thoughts and images of her being hit or being drowned? Why did I think of her recovering from the fall and running away? That was one of the cruelest, because there is no chance of her coming home. She didn’t recover; I’ve seen her lifeless body.”

Ratings & Reviews

Book Grade: B-

I love mystery and suspense books and had high hopes for The Twin. The whole concept of having someone who is so similar to you physically, but so different than you in every other way hooked me early on. Also, watching as Ivy grieved her mother and tried to make sense of new life, I couldn’t help but feel compassion for her.

As Iris began to target Ivy and slowly take over her life, I was simultaneously intrigued and frustrated – how could this be happening? After much of the same, though, I grew increasingly annoyed – Ivy kept repeating the same sentiments and Iris persisted in her evil ways. The doubt surrounding the death of her mother didn’t crop up until 3/4 of the way through the book – up until that point, Iris focused on ruining Ivy’s social life and distancing her from everyone she cared about.

I wanted resolution, yet as I neared the end, things seemed to rush together and events conveniently took place just as Iris had planned them. Yes, there was an unexpected twist and a huge cliffhanger at the end, but this only added to my disappointment with the book. The Twin absolutely fit the bill for an intense YA suspense book, but given Natasha Preston’s reputation, I wanted a bit more closure instead of the loose ending that I found.

Movie Rating: PG

The Twin is fairly tame with regard to references to drinking, parties, and teenage shenanigans, but where it does cross some lines is with the language – there is a fair amount of swearing – and a brief discussion about making out (and not having sex). This book is psychologically twisty and incredibly infuriating, but is not vulgar or lewd. While language and suggestive behaviors might be fairly mild in comparison, the story deals with parental death, family mistrust, and mental illness, so it might be a better read for a more mature teen.

Would I Buy This for My Library: Maybe

Natasha Preston’s books absolutely attract a certain kind of reader – largely teen girls who like a bit of a thrill, but nothing too scary. These are psychologically spooky, not bloody or gory. Fans of that style may be drawn to this. That being said, The Twin is not her strongest. It has the creepy factor, but true Preston fans will find this frustrating because there is so little done to resolve the situation (none of the fighting back that is seen in so many of her other books). There are a few twists and turns, and there will absolutely be readers who gravitate toward this book, but I don’t see this being one that I will recommend repeatedly.

Summary:

Ivy has had a simple life: loyal friends, great boyfriend, strong swim skills, and a good grades. All is as it should be until she gets news that her mom died after slipping while running over a bridge. Not only is Ivy’s mom gone, but her twin sister, Iris, will now be moving in with Ivy and their dad. The twins each lived with one of the parents and spent little time together, so when Iris moves in, it is a bit like having a stranger in the house. While Ivy is prepared for the challenges that face her, she is not prepared to have Iris systematically destroy her life.

Within days, Iris has begun dismantling Ivy’s friend group, caused Ivy’s boyfriend to doubt their relationship, and spread vicious rumors about her twin. As the weeks go on, Ivy becomes determined to regain her life, but can’t help but wonder if there is more to her sister’s viciousness than meets the eye. Could Iris have murdered their mom? When Ivy digs into Iris’ past, she realizes that she may not be Iris’ first victim of social destruction and her life might be in danger. Could her twin really be harboring such secrets or is it all in Ivy’s head?

Book Talk Questions:

  1. Describe Ivy’s life before Iris comes to live with her. What fills her days?
  2. What are some of the ways that Iris begins to turn Ivy’s friends against her? How do her friends react when Ivy gets upset about this?
  3. What does Ivy learn from Kat when she visits her at the park? When her attempts to reach her again don’t work, what does she learn?
  4. What happens to the pool that immediately causes the principal to suspect Ivy? Why does this frustrate her the most of all the events?
  5. Why does Iris feel confident that Ivy will never say anything about what Iris revealed? (Hint: she talks to her about this at the hospital).

A Perfect Read for Fans Of…

  • The Lost
  • All the Pretty Things
  • There’s Someone Inside Your House
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