Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan

Kyle Renneker used to be best buddies with his twin sister, Judy, until their parents separated for a year and took one of the twins each. When the family got back together again, Kyle wanted to be friends with his sister again, but she no longer seemed to like him. Now, at sixteen, the two are constantly at each others' throats. It doesn't help that they have five other siblings, all vying for their parents' attention. When Kyle announces to the family that he's gay, he's annoyed when his sister promptly announces that she's a born-again Christian.

In reality, Judy doesn't give two hoots about religion. She's just interested in getting to know a cute football player who runs a Bible study--and it doesn't hurt that she can needle Kyle with her new-found religion. But then their parents take in high school student Garret Johnson so he can finish the school year after his parents move, and both Kyle and Judy crank up the competition. Garret is a mysterious loner who says he's a vampire. And both twins are interested in him.

I think this is what you might call the highest of all high concept novels. It's a lot of fun, too. The story is told from both twins' points of view in alternating chapters. Kyle is a nice guy, and Judy is not very nice at all--but she's an oddly sympathetic character. And Garret is fascinating.

The book is sometimes funny, sometimes sad. It's not terribly deep, but it's a sweet, fast read. The Renneker parents are a little too good to be true, though, and the last chapter wraps everything up so neatly I found it kind of unrealistic. But I really like that Kyle is so okay about being gay, and in fact is better-adjusted than his sister. The way the twins use Garret to further their own agendas is clever and funny; the way Garret uses the twins in turn is even cleverer.

B&N link


Kelly Robinson said...

I'm glad to see YA fiction starting to feature teens that are gay and doing just fine with it. The troubled-gay-teen books were a fine start, but an awfully limited one.

K.C. Shaw said...

Yeah, it's a nice change to see well-adjusted gay characters who are dealing with the same issues any other teens deal with. Still kinda rare, though.