cover image Pip: The Story of Olive

Pip: The Story of Olive

Kim Kane, . . Random/Fickling, $15.99 (242pp) ISBN 978-0-385-75171-1

Kane's original debut stars 12-year-old Olive, who lives in an Australian seaside suburb with Mog, her hippie-turned-high-profile-barrister mother. Olive is shy, excessively pale—“the exact colour of chicken loaf”—and obsessed with symmetry and pairs. Mog has “zip” to do with Olive's father, whom she left when Olive was an infant and who bears the intriguing name of WilliamPetersMustardSeed. When Olive's only friend, Mathilda, abandons her for a popular girl, Olive is distraught, but then Pip bursts into her life. While physically identical to her, Pip is everything Olive is not, and Olive is simultaneously horrified and thrilled by her. They realize they are twins separated at birth and soon Olive notices Pip in all her childhood photos. Readers will catch on that something is strange when nobody other than Olive acknowledges or interacts with Pip. But Pip's courage inspires Olive to search for their father and to take control of her life in other ways. The somewhat distant narrative voice combined with Pip's unexplained existence will puzzle some readers, but will appeal to those with a taste for eccentric charm. Ages 8–12. (June)