The Twin Review: Engaging YA Fiction in A Thinly Disguised Thriller

Review Copy Provided by Delacorte Press and NetGalley

“'Do you want to talk, Iris?' Her haunted eyes look right through me. 'I want so much more than that.'”

- Natasha Preston

From Natasha Preston, author of The Cellarand The Cabin, The Twin is a YA thriller that is as frustrating as it is predictable. The story begins from the perspective of a young girl who has recently lost her mother and is adjusting to living with her twin sister. Even from the start something seems off about her twin, but she shrugs it off. This was something she would later regret. As someone who is disgusted by horror or thriller films but loves the genre in literature, I had high hopes when I started reading the novel, but as the plot progressed, the disappointment and aggression I was feeling only increased. Bolstered by a gorgeous cover, the actual composition is dull, however. You truly cannot judge a book by its cover, and The Twin is evidence of that.

Ivy was grieving. Her mom had just passed, and her sister was moving back in with her and her dad. As much as she missed their formerly close relationship, she didn’t know if she could handle another change in her life. She hadn’t lived or interacted with Iris since before their parents’ divorce. Still, Ivy tries to reach out to her sister and build a new connection especially during a time of great sadness for her family. With her boyfriend, best friends, and dad to be her support, what could go wrong? Four letters. I-R-I-S.

Iris is strange, to say the least. She “borrows” Ivy’s clothes despite having a wardrobe full, cuts her “butt-length, silky blond hair” to shoulder length despite wanting to grow it out since age six, and suddenly gains an interest in joining the swim team despite being a cheerleader. Ivy brushes this off as Iris wanting a change now that she has a new life or that she’s trying to express her grief into a more positive outlet. But then things change further. Her best friends distance themselves and start hanging out with the very girl they saw as conceited, her boyfriend is wary of her and acts cautiously, and her father begins to show favoritism towards her twin and treats Ivy like a bomb ready to explode at any minute. All after Iris came to town. The direction this is heading should be obvious to any avid YA reader by now.

The novel is not poorly written or even bad in terms of plot. However, for a thriller, it is simply too predictable, and despite a dense buildup, the ending left me irked. I didn’t expect the abrupt and infuriating ending after the slow, steady buildup of events, incidents, and confrontations leading up to it. As I was approaching the end of the novel, and pace of the plot began to increase, a monumental conclusion seemed to be just around the corner but was instead only a stale and slit note to end on. Frustrating and disappointing.

If you are someone who wants a predictable thriller that still is entertaining, The Twin is certainly for you, and if it were not for my expectations, potentially enjoyable. But if you are looking for a story with unexpected twists and an ending that fits in with a well-developed story-line, I suggest you look elsewhere. This isn’t to berate author Natasha Preston who does a marvelous job characterizing and fleshing out the leading protagonists. Nearly every conversation or dialogue discourse drips with an aloofness that only YA fiction could provide. Such a quality almost works against The Twin as my interest in the novel wasn’t securely interested in the ongoing developments but rather the interactions between the characters. The Twin works as an engaging piece of YA but wrapped in the thin veiling of a social thriller.

In this twisty psychological thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE CELLAR, Ivy finds out that her twin sister, Iris, is trying to push her out of her own life--and might be responsible for their mother's death. After their parents divorced, 10-year-old twins Ivy and Iris were split up--Ivy lived with Dad, Iris with Mom. Now, after a tragic accident takes their mom's life, the twins are reunited and Iris moves in with Ivy and their dad. Devastated over Mom's death, Iris spends the first few weeks in almost total silence--the only person she will speak to is Ivy. Iris feels her life is over and she doesn't know what to do. Emmy promises her twin that she can share her life now. After all, they're sisters. Twins. It's a promise that Iris takes seriously. And before long, Ivy's friends, her life at school, and her boyfriend, Tyler, fall under Iris's spell. Slowly, Ivy realizes she's being pushed out of her own life. But she's just being paranoid, right? And Mom's accident was . . . just an accident. Right? It's not like she--or Dad--or Tyler--are in any danger. . . .

Supporting Film, Literature, and Gaming Since June 1st, 2018.

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