My love of books with twins started pretty young. After all, I did grow up with Mary-Kate and Ashley.
I remember when I was a pre-teen my family would go grocery shopping at Walmart about every two weeks and we had to check out the kids' book section because there would be new installments in The New Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley series. It seemed like there were two new books out every time we went, but my family would only buy me one. I had to choose wisely. Serious matters were at stake.
The fact that I could breeze through one of those books in less than 45 minutes did nothing to dissuade me from the urgency of having to pick one before my mom said "time's up!" and started to walk on. Book lovers are often plagued with indecision when it comes to what book to read next and we don't operate well under pressure. That was one of my earliest book nerd lessons.
At any rate, thanks to Mary-Kate and Ashley, I love a good book about twins. There are several books featuring twins that I've read as an adult and I've loved these as much as I loved the Mary-Kate and Ashley adventure books back in the day.
The Poisonwood Bible
Twin dynamics can get complicated. Between trying to be your own person while simultaneously fearing loneliness and caring deeply for your twin, and not wanting to be co-dependent, to say things get complicated is putting it lightly. Leah and Adah Price, while twins, don't have much in common. Kingsolver handles each coming out from the shadows of her sister in heart-wrenching fashion.
The Thirteenth Tale
If you love twins, chaotic family life, and books about books, run--don't walk--to your nearest bookstore or library. Setterfield captures so well the way twins seem to always know what the other is thinking and feeling. Likewise, she explains their need to protect each other in such a way that it makes you really wish you had a twin who's got your back.
Her Fearful Symmetry
There's no one who knows how to break your heart and put it back together quite like Audrey Niffenegger. She doesn't just capture Julia and Valentina's and Edwina and Elspeth's--yes, two sets of twins!--complicated twin lives, she makes you feel it in your bones. She makes you feel the intense love they have for one another and, at times, the equally intense hatred. When one is becoming her own person, the other feels abandoned. When one feels abandoned and spends time elsewhere, the other feels alone. These emotions play out in a way that makes it impossible to stop reading toward the end.
When you're a master wordsmith like Barbara Kingsolver, why stop at one book about twins? In this novel, the twins are more of a side story, though it's an important side story without which the novel wouldn't be nearly as good. Without giving too much away... Let's just say that we've already established the powerful bonds twins have in life, and that doesn't stop when one twin is lost--that extraordinary love just manifests itself differently.
Because Fred and George are just too delightful to leave out. Between their fierce loyalty to family, their dedication to their friends, and Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, you can't help but love them. Then CRY YOUR EYES OUT AT THE BATTLE OF HOGWARTS. Still gets me every time!
And the award for everyone's favorite incestuous twins goes to...