The Phantom Twin

Lisa Brown. First Second, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-62672-924-7
Raised in a sideshow since age three, 16-year-old conjoined twins Isabel and Jane, who share an arm and a leg, have made a life in a traveling carnival and a family of the other performers. When Jane, the dominant and more outgoing twin, agrees to an experimental separation surgery in hope of marriage and family, things go badly: Jane dies but abides as an angry spirit, still attached to her sibling as a “phantom twin.” Artist Isabel lives on, learning to use prosthetic limbs, struggling with the loss of her livelihood and her changing position within her found family, and developing an interest in a local tattoo artist. As a muckraking journalist descends on the carnival, Brown deftly explores the insular community’s relationships, capturing internal tensions while exploring the fragile protection the group offers its members against a world that shuns “freaks.” Though many characters remain two-dimensional—especially the sadly underutilized titular twin—the atmospheric story’s strengths lie in its relational nuance, in a beautifully evoked setting aided by Brown’s uncomplicated drawings, and in Isabel’s journey into autonomy. Ages 12–16. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 02/06/2020
Release date: 03/03/2020
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 208 pages - 978-1-62672-925-4
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