The Midnight Twins
Reviewed by Rachael Stein (age 15) for Reader Views (9/08)
Identical twins, Meredith and Mallory, are a very unique pair of girls. They have different birthdays because one was born one minute before midnight on New Year’s Eve while the other was born a minute after. Although they seem to be complete opposites, they are exactly the same. Meredith, ‘Merry’ is the outgoing and happy one while Mallory, ‘Mally’ is more thoughtful and worrisome. These seemingly different twins do everything as one — thinking, dreaming and even speaking a unique language of their own. But when the twins’ thirteenth birthday arrives, they are nearly killed by a fire of dubious origins. And then, they aren’t the same anymore. Merry and Mally begin to have different visions and dreams, which frighten them as well as test their sisterhood. So when it appears that these visions are trying to tell them something, Mally immediately wants to take action but Merry is skeptical and just wants to pretend the visions never happened. But as more concrete evidence appears, Merry has to accept that someone she knows isn’t the person he appears to be. Merry and Mally will have to embrace their gift if they want to survive.
“The Midnight Twins” has a very interesting and promising basis for its story. It’s a bit of a mystery with a mythical aspect. The story starts off well, if a bit slowly. Much of this story is actually not too action-filled, making it dull at times. The plot does speed up towards the middle of the book as the twins start to use their visions to sneak around and help people, but it slows back down at the very end. It was a little disappointing that the story was not more exciting than it was, because frankly, the story was mostly pretty boring for me to read. The most redeeming part in the plot was the action-filled middle, because that’s when the twins start to really use their wits to put their visions to good use. I felt Mitchard’s writing was at its best during these action scenes, because I could really feel the twins’ fear and desperation when they were in danger.
Twins Merry and Mally were a fascinating set of characters. Though I confused them a little towards the beginning of the story, I soon grew to know and distinguish the two. Merry is always the happy-go-lucky one while Mally tends to be more anxious. Both girls were well-developed to the extent that I totally understood them; there were only a couple of instances where their motives and actions were confusing. I liked Merry and Mally the best during the action-packed middle though, because that’s when their true colors really showed. Also, the twins’ strong bond of sisterhood was very heartwarming and sweet, because these girls would do anything for the other. Merry and Mally are by far my favorite characters in “The Midnight Twins” and possibly even my favorite part of the whole book. Characters are probably Mitchard’s strength in “The Midnight Twins.” On top of Merry and Mally, the minor characters are also sufficiently developed.
I didn’t feel that “The Midnight Twins” by Jacquelyn Mitchard filled its potential to be amazing. I had high hopes that this book would be great because of its unique plotline, but it was only good. The strongest point of the story was the characters which helped make up for a slightly lackluster plot. If you like books with strong characters, then “The Midnight Twins” is a good choice; otherwise, if you are more focused on plot, then I would not recommend reading this book.