Thursday, April 2, 2009

Book Reviews: The Midnight Twins and Look Both Ways by Jacquelyn Mitchard

It's a bit ironic that we talked about our least favorite books this week for Tuesday Thingers, because I found a new book to add to that category...

Book 1 The Midnight Twins

Meredith (aka Merry) and Mallory (aka Mally) are identical, telepathic twins born on either side of midnight on New Year’s Eve. They are also mirror opposites – Merry is a cheerful cheerleader and Mally is a grumpy soccer star. When a house fire nearly kills them on their 13th birthday, the twins discover they have inherited the Brynn family “gift” – terrifying visions that could destroy them and everything they hold dear….

In a nutshell: Promising premise, terrible execution.

The whole time I read this I swear I felt like I was on a Tilt-A-Whirl. The writing was so choppy and full of non-sequiturs that I had to read many passages twice to make heads or tails of them. Incidents and characters flew by in a dizzying blur. And when I finally (mercifully) was let off this chaotic mess, I felt nauseous.

Much was made of the twins supposed differences – but I never got the feeling that they were anything more than superficially different. Ok, one had lots of gossipy, giggly friends, and one was more of a sourpuss loner, but deep down both ticked the same. They also complained a bunch that their “gift” was a big burden, but it really only came up a few times and it helped them to track down a killer so obvious and so cardboard as to be yawn inducing.

So why did I read the sequel? In the last chapter, Grandma, who was strangely tight-lipped the rest of the time, swoops in and spends a whole chapter talking about how cool the twins’ powers actually are. So I thought…ok maybe the sequel will actually be worthy of the premise?

Book 2 Look Both Ways

After the events of book 1 (explained in a succinct yet thorough summary near the start, rendering book 1 pretty much superfluous) Merry and Mally are settling back into their normal lives and concentrating on cheerleading tryouts and soccer practice. Then they start having visions of a beautiful and familiar mountain lion. What’s up with that anyway?

In a nutshell: If you must read this series, skip book 1 and start here.

While still far from perfect, the writing and character development are both much improved in this installment. Ok, the family is still one dimensional, but Merry’s cheerleading friends/rivals Kim and Neely are given authentic arcs and Mally’s friend Eden’s shaman/shapeshifter subplot is intriguing and touching. Which I guess is a good thing, since this subplot actually hijacks the novel. That’s right, the second Midnight Twins novel is mainly about Eden, meaning the tantalizing promise of the trilogy’s premise is still not fulfilled in book 2. Is the author holding out on us until book 3?

The Midnight Twins is available now in paperback and Look Both Ways comes out today in hardcover. Book 3 has no set release date yet. Find out more about the series at the author's website.

23 comments:

Amanda said...

I felt the same way about The Midnight Twins...I'll have a review up next week. I'm not even sure if I'll bother with the second book unfortunately.

Chelle said...

I read the first one, too, and had a very similar reaction. But I can't say I'm inclined to pick up the second one.

Alea said...

Weird. Yeah I guess this doesn't seem like it's my type of book so i'm glad i'm not missing a MUST READ.

Mara said...

I didn't even finish the first one. But I'm enough of a masochist to read the second.

Dar said...

Well it's too bad book 1 ended up not being too good. It sure does sound like a really interesting premise. I couldn't read one without the other so I likely wouldn't bother at all. lol. I'm glad the second one was bit better for you.

BookChic said...

Aww, I'm sorry you didn't like Book 1. I absolutely loved it and was so excited to recieve Book 2.

Good reviews though!

writemeg said...

Definitely a promising start... sorry it was disappointing! Not really my cup of tea, but the second book sounds a bit intruiging.

cupcakewitch said...

I have not heard of either!

Steph Su said...

Hmm, damn. I've been looking forward to reading The Midnight Twins, but I think I'll tackle some other TBRs first. Thanks for the honest reviews, Lenore!

Katie said...

I just got both of these in the mail this week but I think I'll hold off on reading them for now.

Lis and Chelle said...

I just got The Midnight Twins and I cannot wait to read it!!!

Beth Kephart said...

I have this book on my shelf here.

I keep trying to read it.

I do.

But...

Linda J said...

think I'll pass on these...

Insert Book Title Here said...

Sorry that you did not seem to like them. I think I will pass on these two novels. Thank you for your honesty.

Great review!

Staci said...

The big question is will you read #3?

I'm gonna pass on this one!

Jen said...

Im inclined to skip the first one now ^_^

Sadako said...

Hadn't heard of these, but they look interesting! thanks for reviewing.

Lenore said...

As to whether I'll read 3...

I will wait for the reviews. If it turns out JM writes a third book that is good and actually about the twins and their powers, then I just might read it.

Literary Feline said...

I'm so sorry about The Midnight Twins, Lenore. I read the summary and though--how cool! And then read your comments. Not so cool. I guess they can't all be winners, can they?

I am glad you at least enjoyed the second book. Thank you for the tip about the first book being explained a bit in the second. That makes it easier in case we skip book one.

Ladytink_534 said...

Well at least the sequel was better! Most people wouldn't have picked it up though.

Elizabeth said...

It sounds like Sweet Valley, except for how it apparently gets good in the second book.

Steph said...

Well, that's on my review pile...

Le sigh.

So it goes.

Steph
P.S. Fantastic reviews!

megan said...

i love the first book and the second one was so good to i loved both of them im almost 13 and i loved them but not just the book but the way im a twin 2 wich also makes me love the book