Released today, January 2, 2018!
Tempest and Tally Jo Trimble are mirror twins—so alike they were almost born the same person—and they've been inseparable since birth. But it's the summer they turn thirteen, and it seems like everyone can tell something is changing between them.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Author: Gina Linko
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Page Count: 256
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★
I received this copy from the publisher via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
“I looked up the Flower Moon, after Digger told me what y’all had found, and that’s what they call it when the moon is as close as possible to Earth.”
It’s hard to get through a read that you continually wait for something to happen. I’m not kidding when I say that I had to wade to 60% of the book before something really took place to distinguish the issue.
The main character Tally Jo’s constant brooding throughout the first half made this all the more difficult, and painful at times, to even complete.
“Digger was right: I was without my other half. But that wasn’t quite right, though, was it? I mean, Tempest was more than that to me, because two halves of a whole implied an easy separation when really, it was much more complicated than that.
She was the butter on my toast, the sea to my shore, the stars in my night sky.”
I found myself thinking over and over:
Granted, she has a right to feel this way. However, her feelings replayed continuously, and kept anything else from happening.
Perhaps I’m overthinking this and forgetting that this is a middle-grade read. I always try to picture myself when I was younger to see if this is something I could have related to, or enjoyed. I can say speculatively that it wouldn’t have been up my alley. With little plot building, variation in content (especially considering the main body), and only scratching the surface on majority of the characters’ persons, there really isn’t much to this story. This may be a case of, “It’s me, not you,” as the content didn’t reach my expectations.
The two main characters are Tally Jo and Tempest, twin daughters from a family with a long history of twin girls. At a certain age, these twins were driven apart for some unexplained reason. Tally believed it to be because of some feud between them, but an explanation was never divulged.
This particular Summer, the girls notice a gap forming between them. It is one that they cannot bridge no matter what they try. Feeling pushed apart more and more, Tally Jo loses herself to her grief in “losing” her sister’s closeness, while Tempest appears to enjoy the space.
To her surprise, and by an unbelievable circumstance, Tally Jo discovers that there is a physical force behind the separation. Their strained relationship makes it difficult for the girls to work together to dig deeper.
This force, controlled by the waxing and waning of the moon, is most prominent when the Flower Moon appears, and causes the severing between the twins.
The Flower Moon was not part of a cycle. No, it was the spark, the igniter, blowing this thing between us wide open. Nothing was going to cycle back afterward.
Tally Jo and Tempest make it their goal to overcome this thing that will inevitably cause their permanent separation. In order to do so, they must accept each others’ differences first.
Things that I liked:
#1 I thought the twin theme, and highlighting the connections many of them share was clever, and a great opportunity for the way the magic functioned.
#2 The metaphor representing what a divide can do in a relationship was simple, yet also powerful. While opposites may attract in some scenarios, if there isn’t a “pulling” action happening to bring them together, there will be separation instead.
#3 The difference in character types between the sisters made for an easy, but an applicable example. When one has a bolder personality, they can easily overrule the less-bold in situations, which can cause further issues to develop if not addressed.
#4 For the most part, the writing was clean and was easy to follow, excluding the point I will discuss in the “did not like” section of this review.
#5 The circus vibe is a fun addition for the middle-grade genre. It created a magical atmosphere of its own.
#6 The overall message that bravery, no matter what type of personality you have, is a good thing.
“And that right there was another example of the real magic in this world: finding it inside yourself to be brave.”
Things that I didn’t like:
I have already listed a few in the introduction, but I will briefly restate them here.
#1 Tally’s constant brooding take the spotlight from anything else in the first half, and bleed into the second half. It was too much.
#2 The lack of overall story and content. I wanted so much more when it came to the fable of the Flower Moon itself. I loved this concept, but it wasn’t hashed out nearly enough to engage me as the reader.
#3 Excluding Tally Jo, Tempest, and Digger, the other characters were quite forgotten when it came to depth and meaning. Especially when it came to their mother and aunt, I think there could have been a more developed backstory.
#4 One thing that isn’t vital to mention, but was something that caught my attention in a negative was the weird terms and phrases coined throughout the text.
Some examples are:
…”why in the saltine cracker did he”…
…”skinny as a Popsicle stick”…
…”son of a monkey’s uncle”…
…and the like. I’m not sure if these were meant to be humorous? I found them to be awkward and…not funny…
Again, I’d like to note that the ending has a simple, yet effective lesson for a reader–which I think appropriate and applicable for the age-range this book is written for. Despite this positive aspect to the story, there was not enough meat to the plot to make it really engaging.
Sexual content: None. Talking about kissing.
Violence: Although it’s not exactly violent, Tally Jo and her sister Tempest experience a magnetic force that pushes them apart from one another, sometimes in an “explosive” manner.