Twin Cities by Jose Pimienta

Published by Random House Graphic

Summary:  Luisa Teresa and Luis Fernando are twins collectively known as the Lu-Lu’s.  When they get to sixth grade, though, they are eager to seek their own identities.  They start going by Teresa and Fernando, but more importantly, Teresa heads to school across the border in Calexico, California, while Fernando continues on in Mexicali, Mexico, where the family lives.  Each finds sixth grade to have its struggles.  Teresa’s workload is tough, and she has to get up early to make it to her carpool in time.  Fernando’s friends are at Teresa’s school, and he feels lonely until he befriends eighth-grader Alex who tries to recruit him to sell weed.  This activity leads to a showdown between the twins, but it also finally gets them talking about what they’ve been going through.  By the last few pages, Teresa finally has gotten her own room to work in, and Fernando is starting to make some friends his own age.  256 pages; grade 4-7.

Pros:  This fascinating look about life at the border is richly illustrated with many pictures that show what is going on in each twin’s life simultaneously.  Kids will relate to Teresa and Fernando’s struggles and learn about life in an area that may be unfamiliar to them.

Cons:  The sixth-grade protagonists make this a great elementary read, but the weed storyline may raise a few eyebrows.

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