cover image My Evil Twin

My Evil Twin

Thomas McKean. Avon Books, $14 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-380-97445-0

Seventh-grader Jellimiah John Jensen weaves a tangled web indeed when, after his old school sends duplicate transcripts, he decides to change his nerdy image by posing as twins at his new junior high. He alternates between acting as his conscientious, squeaky-clean actual self, and as a troublemaker, ""the most evil twin a twin ever had."" Not surprisingly, most of his classmates find his cooler persona preferable, with the important exception of smart and pretty Missy, who likes the shy John better. Relaying this far-fetched tale through the boy's journal entries, McKean (The Haunted Circus) devises a few comical scenarios as the protagonist gets caught in his own deceits and becomes confused about which identity he wants to keep. Yet much of the dialogue and plot sequences is repetitious and readers will have to accept quantum credibility leaps, as when no one at school (save one suspicious student) catches on that Jellimiah and John never appear together or that the boy makes Superman-style identity switches in bathrooms. The author strays even further from the plausible with a subplot about Jellimiah/John capturing two burglars. The audience for this one will be limited to those willing to check all disbelief at the door. Ages 8-12. (Dec.)