cover image Almost Identical

Almost Identical

Lin Oliver. Grosset & Dunlap, $15.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-448-45191-6

Oliver, coauthor of the Hank Zipzer series, presents a thoughtful coming-of-age tale about identical twins. Twelve-year-olds Sammie and Charlie Diamond are about to start at a new middle school in Los Angeles, where their father is working at a private beach and tennis club. Despite being twins, Charlie and Sammie are opposites: “chubby” and self-conscious Sammie wants to join Truth Tellers, a school group that encourages self-discovery, while Charlie is slim, confident, and drawn to the cool kids, led by Lauren Wadsworth, “the most perfect, most popular, most everything girl at Beachside Middle School.” Meanwhile, Charlie and Sammie’s father envisions the girls becoming the next Venus and Serena Williams, adding to the growing gap between them. Sammie narrates this series kickoff with humor and candor (her anxieties about her weight, amplified by comments made by friends and family, are particularly affecting), as she makes a new friend and regains her confidence. It’s an enjoyable and emotionally honest story of social pressures and learning to be comfortable in one’s own skin. Readers get to hear from Charlie in Two-Faced, available simultaneously. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)