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Publication details: 280 pp; Metonymy Press; November 15, 2019
What is this book about?
After the vanishing of her twin sister Lola, Poppy has a lot to handle. She wants to go to college and have a normal life, but things at home are complicated. Poppy's father has been depressed, so she feels she needs to convince Lola to come home. Poppy decides to send her eighteen letters; one for each year of their lives.
On the other hand, Poppy has a beautiful relationship with her girlfriend, Juniper, apparently the one person who understands her. Poppy navigates the complexities of queer romance and childhood trauma. But soon she will realize that she needs to help herself first, and procure her freedom, which won't be easy.
I wanted her back. I knew it was a mission likely to fail. But I had to try.
There is no more beautiful gift in fiction than seeing how the protagonist evolves. And this is what happens in Dear Twin. We can see how Poppy grows due to the decisions about her future that she must make, even when her family's past tries to chase her. Twin is a painful but hopeful story about being queer in Asian culture, especially at such a young age.
Dear Twin is a completely different novel than the ones I've read for a simple reason: The way Tsai writes about the connection between twins makes the story feels authentic, and the strong relationship between Poppy and Lola goes beyond pages. Poppy knows what she feels for her twin sister, but she also knows that her happiness is something she must fight for.
The pop-culture and Asian culture references make Dear Twin an endearing novel. For example, do you know why it is so hard for an Asian girl to accept gifts? How does it feel to be queer in Asian culture, especially as a woman? I enjoyed learning about aspects of Poppy's life, and of course, the songs she listens with Juniper.
Dear Twin is an addictive story written in a fluid and thoughtful way. Each book sentence has a motive, which makes it even more enjoyable and readable — a must-read of the YA genre.
If you want to know more about the author, follow her as @bluejuniper on Instagram!