My first experience of twins in any sort of children’s/teen lit, was Fred and George Weasley, from ‘Harry Potter’. These brothers were confident, outgoing, and loved practical jokes – everything my twin sister and I…weren’t at the age of eleven. It was interesting to read about twins that were so different from us, but as Fred and George were only minor characters throughout the seven book series, their relationship wasn’t explored in the greatest depth.
Next, there was Skye and Summer, protagonists in Cathy Cassidy’s ‘Chocolate Box Girls’ series. This offered a very cliched relationship between twin sisters; where one is overshadowed by the other and wants to break free to become a different person. Although the emotions were well executed, and the strong bond between the pair brought a tear to my eye when something bad happened to Skye, I couldn’t relate well to the dynamic.
The best representation of twins can be found, in my opinion, in ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell. Cath and Wren care about each other, and wouldn’t let anything bad happen to their sister. (Again, a lot of scenes made me cry with the sheer accuracy of feeling.) Although Wren is definitely the more confident of the pair, Cath is not overshadowed by her. They have different strengths, and they’re both aware of that. Sure, Wren might have grown out of things that Cath still enjoys, but she didn’t make Cath feel bad or juvenile for loving Simon Snow. It also helped that Cath was one of the most relatable characters ever written, and I really found myself bonding with her over the majority of things.
The most cliched twin plot line is that one of the twins dies. Obviously, the death is devastating for the other twin, but I just find books like this depressing, because to me, the pain of losing my sister would be unfathomable.
There’s a lot of focus on what’s ‘bad’ about being twins, and the side effects of having such a close relationship. This is why I think ‘Fangirl’ was so brilliant. Rainbow Rowell also focuses on the good, which is really important in order for people to truly understand twins.