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‘Twin Cities’ OGN (review)

Written and Illustrated by Jose Pimienta
Published by Random House Graphic

 

Twin Cities tells a tale that we rarely get to see. A quiet tale set in the border between Mexico and the United States.

Two twins, trying to build separate identities as they reach their teen years.  Luisa Teresa and Luis Fernando are finally getting separate rooms, and now they are going to high schools on each side of the border.

With the need to grow, they decide that they no longer want to be called Lulu’s but by their middle names. Twin Cities takes us through their journey as they grow apart. The book uses its panel structure by telling us their tale in a parallel format.

Teresa makes new friends but suffers from the need to overachieve. She has to get up earlier for the long ride to school. She fits in but does not quite feel comfortable.

All this as there is a growing gap between her and her brother.

Fernando struggles and finds himself lonely.

The loneliness leads him to find a new friend who ultimately has less than the best intentions. What starts as a friendship full of introductions to new music and new places, ends up with him owing money as a result of lost weed.

With a story set in the  90’s and a family that regularly crosses the border, this could carry huge consequences.

The story ultimately wraps up with a show of sisterly affection in defense of her brother. Brother and Sister reconcile, and tensions are quickly eased.

Twin Cities is at its best when it is displaying its unique setting.

Jose Pimienta’s art provides detail, while never luxuriating at the expense of the story. His characters all look their age, giving the reader a sense of what it was like to be a child at that stage, but telling a very unique story.

The book is aimed at the young reader, and hopefully a young reader will see themselves in it. Or they will read it and grow from reading about a different time or place. I can’t help but think at that age, I might have found it somewhat slow. But maybe a modern young reader will be able to enjoy it more.

The toughest thing I can say about this well meaning book is that it’s setting is unique. Most stories treat the border like the movie Traffic, as dangerous. The story treats a lot of it as matter of fact and I would have liked to know more.

Twin Cities is a sweet tale of two kids, that while well-intentioned and written with care, feels a little incomplete.

 

 

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