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Winning Twins

There is something interesting about twins. Pop culture is kind of obsessed. When I was young, my mother introduced me to one of her favorite movies from childhood: The Parent Trap. Hayley Mills playing a pair of twins, separated since they were babies, who find one another at summer camp. In retrospect, the idea that parents would split up a pair of siblings (each taking one for themselves) is, like, despicable. If you can suspend your disbelief on that point, it's a real charmer, though. Twins are alternately adorable and creepy in pop culture. I'll never forget the first time I watched Stanley Kubrick's The Shining and nearly lost my lunch when the ghosts of Grady's twins end up with their insides splashed all over the walls (spoiler alert).

CJ Omololu's The Third Twin keeps the reader on edge about whether or not there is an evil twin lurking among the pair (or trio?) of girls at the center of the action. The Rios twins, Ava and Lexie, are a classic Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield pair: Ava is well-groomed and frivolous while Lexie is plain and studious. When they were young, they invented a third twin, Alicia, who would take the blame for any accidents or bad choices either girl made. As young adults, they sometimes use Alicia to date cute but losery boys. The action of the novel opens as Lexie, who is posing as Alicia, gets herself into a bad situation with a Cheesecake Factory waiter named Casey. She escapes, but is shaken enough to want to ditch the Alicia game. Her sister, out with a basketball player and also posing as Alicia, isn't so keen.

Things get very interesting for the girls, though, when some of Alicia's boyfriends turn up dead - gruesomely murdered. At the same time, they discover that there is, in fact, another girl out there who is calling herself Alicia Rios...and she looks just like Ava and Lexie.

This is a sort of classic teen-geared thriller with some occasional leaps in logic but a generally solid plot. I enjoyed it and devoured it in its entirety one Sunday afternoon. These are not any David Cronenberg or Brian DePalma twins (see Sisters with Margot Kidder, 1973 or Dead Ringers with Jeremy Irons, 1988) but there is a seed of doubt between them that creates some pretty serious friction here. Also, there are enough good twists to actually keep you guessing!

This title is great for teens who enjoy thrillers and mysteries. It's sophisticated enough to mention but not explicitly touch on sex and it also deals with college acceptance and adoption so its themes are varied.

If you enjoyed any of these titles, I'm sure you'll love The Third Twin:

Stranger with my Face by Lois Duncan

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

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