“The Tapper Twins Go To War (With Each Other)” – Juvenile/Middle Grade Fic

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I love a good story that makes me laugh, but they are so difficult to come by! It seems most humorous middle grade fiction relies on slapstick antics, scatological humor, or some combination of the two. But “The Tapper Twins” is a very welcome newcomer to the scene. I found it highly original, laugh-out-loud funny, sweet, and smart all at once. This is an “oral history” account of an escalating prank battle between the main narrator, Claudia and her fraternal twin Reese. (“We are, unfortunately, twins. I am twelve years old. Reese is six.”) What starts with a stolen breakfast pastry quickly becomes an all-out war staged at home, at the twins’ private school, across NYC, and eventually is even played out online in the digital game “MetaWorld.” (A thinly veiled reference to the incredibly popular Minecraft.) Throughout, images like the one below (a screenshot of the online game) are included to add humor and information. I especially loved the images of the text messages sent between the confused and clueless parents. Hysterical!

Neither twin is truly evil or out to destroy their sibling. It is clear from the start that the whole series of events really just got out of hand. No one is truly ever hurt, but we do see real regret from both parties at the end as well as a (not too heavy handed) lesson about cyber bullying, which is a nice touch without feeling preachy. The characters also ring true, with real emotion and relationships, lending the book a sense of depth missing in similar titles like “Charlie Joe Jackson” or “Wimpy Kid.” And even though the twins are 12, the story is so universal that I think the reading age could really stretch from 7-14.

Pub date: 4/7/15

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