Review: “The Twin Stars” by Bridgette Dutta Portman

Thank you so much to the author for providing a copy for review!

Teenage Olive suffers from OCD, and is also a powerfully imaginative writer. While on a plane to India for her grandmother’s funeral, Olive falls into another world–the world of her own imagination, where she has to stand in for the missing hero, Coseema, who she invented, to somehow save her own characters.

This book got off to such a powerful start. I was tearing up reading about Olive’s love for her dadiji on the third page or so. Okay, maybe my meds are making me a little extra-weepy, but it’s beautifully written. An exceptional depiction of her relationship with her ancestral homeland and also her struggles with OCD.

Something I especially appreciated about the book was the way that Olive deals with the ethics of her own imagination. She often feels guilty and responsible for putting this suffering onto these fictional characters, now that she’s confronted with them as real people. It’s an interesting and insightful way of exploring the moral aspect of OCD that is much less frequently depicted.

Lyria, the world of Olive’s invention, is fascinating fun to explore. It’s filled with cool creations like the petroks and lovable, multidimensional characters. Though I sympathize with Olive’s lack of desire to meet these dangers face to face, they’re delightful to read about.

The book was also very well-plotted, with a twist near the end that kept me flipping pages until the very finale and looking for more like if I kept scrolling more story was going to appear. Super compelling and very surprising, and yet it made perfect sense!

The premise is something of a writer’s nightmare–I definitely don’t think my own characters would be happy with me after what I put them through (thinking guiltily of the end of Jena’s second book…) but the execution here is a dream. Readable, gorgeously clear prose, and an all-in-all adventure that is both enjoyable and moving.


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