cover image Twin Cities

Twin Cities

Jose Pimienta. Random House Graphic, $20.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-593-18062-4

Pimienta’s (Suncatcher) profound graphic novel follows Mexican twins Teresa and Fer’s evolving relationship while attending different schools in separate cities, divided by the U.S.-Mexico border. Luis Fernando and Luisa Teresa Sosa, known collectively as the Lu-Lus, have always been inseparable. That is, until Teresa—seeking to broaden her horizons and differentiate herself from her brother—decides to commute to middle school across the border in Calexico, Calif. Fer, who stays in their Mexicali, Mexico, hometown, feels lost without her until he befriends weed-selling older kid Alex, who despises American hegemony. Brilliantly alternating panels parallel the twins’ vastly different school experiences and home lives. Their opposing paths come to a head after a narrowly avoided crisis at a border checkpoint causes a blowout argument between the siblings. Through clear and honest communication, Teresa and Fer embrace their commonalities and lean on each other for support. Living on both sides is relatively feasible in this ostensibly 1990s set narrative, but the story foreshadows contemporary society’s increased tensions. Pimienta uses empathetic dialogue to thoughtfully explore the twins’ conflicting relationships with their parents and their dramatically shifting siblinghood. Brightly colored, intricately detailed panoramas and montages convey one family’s experience living in a vivacious border community that is richer for its multitude of influences. An afterword about the author’s experience growing up on both sides of the border concludes. Ages 8–12. Agent: Elizabeth Bennett, Transatlantic Literary. (July)