Do you ever notice mini-trends in the publishing industry? I'm not talking about the vampire craze or the popularity of dystopian trilogies but the smaller, random themes that seem to spring out of nowhere. This year, everyone seems to be writing about twins. No matter the genre or intended audience, the novels of 2013 are on a multiple birth kick. Here are a dozen that have crossed my desk since June. (Links lead to my reviews or features.)
The Twins by Saskia Sarginson (Redhook, ISBN-13 9780316246200) is part psychological thriller and part woman's fiction about twin sisters who are torn apart after a disturbing childhood event. The twins in Mary Kay Zuravleff's Man Alive! (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, ISBN-13 9780374202316) are the college-age sons of Owen Lerner, whose life is turned upside down after he survives a lightning strike. Scott Turnow's Identical (Grand Central Publishing, ISBN-13 9781455527205) focuses on the lives of two very different twin brothers: one a state senator and one an ex-con; when a decades-old murder case is reopened, the investigation stirs up secrets and betrayals.
The twin sisters in Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland (Random House, ISBN-13 9781400068319) seem to be cut from different molds, but when one is caught up in a media circus after predicting a major earthquake, their lives begin to merge. Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin's Griffin, ISBN-13 9781250030955), follows twin sisters as they transition from high school teens to college students and begin to form their own identities. In Wally Lamb's We Are Water (Harper, ISBN-13 9780061941023), twins Ariane and Andrew are each given a voice in this multiple-point-of-view look a contemporary family in crisis.
Paranormal, Fantasy, and More
In Francesca Lia Block's Love in the Time of Global Warming (Henry Holt, ISBN-13 9780805096279), which is a kind of dystopian reworking of The Odyssey, our protagonist, Pen, befriends a boy who has been separated from his twin. Eva, the hero of the dystopian fantasy Relic, by Heather Terrell (Soho Teen, ISBN-13 9781616951962), risks everything to honor the memory of her twin brother by taking his place in a dangerous game of survival and power. Alison Cherry's Red (Delacorte Press, ISBN-13 9780385742931) is a fun, light read with a deeper message about the superficiality of prejudices; the twins in this novel are the younger brothers of the super-popular Felicity St. John. While Tana, the hero of Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, ISBN-13 9780316213103), is on the run and hoping to hold on to her humanity, she meets up with brother and sister twins who are equally determined to become vampires in this dysptopian-paranormal story.
Even Larry Watson, author of Let Him Go (Milkweed Editions, ISBN-13 9781571311023), couldn't resist brother-sister twins in his powerful story of mothers and sons, set in 1951. Anton DiSclafani's The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls (Riverhead, ISBN-13 9781594486401), set in 1930, is about a pair of brother and sister twins who are separated after a tragic accident.