cover image Troubletwisters


Garth Nix and Sean Williams, Scholastic Press, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-545-25897-5

In this enjoyable romp, first in a planned series, 12-year-old twins Jaide and Jack Shield, who have just had their house blown up under mysterious and possibly magical circumstances, are unceremoniously shipped off to spend time with their eccentric Grandma X. There, they soon discover that they are "trouble-twisters," apprentice magicians just coming into their powers and, thus, wildly dangerous. Grandma X's job is to train them and to keep them safe both from themselves and from "The Evil," a monstrous force from another universe that is trying to conquer our world by telepathically taking over individual creatures, melding them into what looks like "a giant worm... made up of rats and cockroaches and red ants and other nameless insects, all with white eyes and all stuck together, crawling and writhing like a single creature." When "The Evil" proves stronger than expected, the twins are left to defeat the monster unaided. Although not a particularly original offering in the "magical children destined to take on powerful foes" genre, it should still prove satisfying to a wide range of middle school readers. Ages 8–12. (May)