cover image Swamp Thing: Twin Branches

Swamp Thing: Twin Branches

Maggie Stiefvater, illus. by Morgan Beem. DC, $16.99 paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-4012-9323-9

Though Alec and Walker Holland are identical twins, they couldn’t be more different: while Walker is outgoing and personable, Alec thinks Walker “makes being human look so easy,” and struggles with interpreting social cues from his peers. Following a difficult year—Alec develops Type 1 diabetes following a severe illness, the siblings discover their father’s adultery—the twins spend the summer before college in rural Virginia with their aunt Jessica and cousins Dalton and Jolie. Walker quickly rekindles his friendship with their cousins, while Alec focuses on recreating his experiment after his cousins’ dogs destroy his research. Alec’s experiment facilitates the transference of memories and thoughts from plants to hosts, occasionally transforming them in the process. Though overabundant plot elements compete for attention, Stiefvater (Call Down the Hawk) succeeds in establishing sympathetic character dynamics. Beem’s waifish characters—paired with the monstrous floral transformations throughout—conjure a subtly eerie atmosphere, rendered in cool greens and blues, that keep the origin story’s intrigue alive. A compelling, if uneven, narrative that may appeal most to those of a botanical bent. Ages 14–up. [em](Oct.) [/em]