Book recommendations involving twins?
August 5, 2020 9:15 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I are expecting twins, and are also avid readers. I'd love for y'all to recommend some good fiction books involving twins as main characters!

I just finished The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, which is basically exactly what I have in mind. It was an excellent book that also heavily featured twins and their mindset about being twins. Ideally the characters would be pretty central to the story, if not the main characters, so maybe nothing at the level of Fred and George Weasley in HP. Another great example of what I'm looking for is Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker.

As for other books I've read that might qualify, I've read
Cassandra by Christa Wolf (kinda counts)
Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (a long time ago, might reread)
East of Eden by Steinbeck (also a long time ago)

Bonus points if the twins are identical girls, as that's what we're having! If you want to know what other sort of books I'm into my goodreads page is linked on my metafilter profile page. Thanks!
posted by DynamiteToast to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine. Come for the identical twin girls; stick around for the language jokes.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 9:18 AM on August 5, 2020 [4 favorites]

I liked Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld. Two adult identical twin sisters (definitely the main characters) have always had premonitions. One actively used this skill, the other hid it. Now a news event has put them in the public eye. The story is full of secrets, tests of loyalty...I usually don’t enjoy books dealing with the paranormal but I liked this one.

posted by bookmammal at 10:27 AM on August 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey features a female twin as the protagonist, and her twin sister is an instrumental character in the story.
posted by namewithoutwords at 10:29 AM on August 5, 2020 [4 favorites]

The first book that comes to mind is a Heinlein juvenile, Time for the Stars, and the second is a William Sleator YA novel, Singularity. Both pairs of twins are boys, and there's every chance that the Heinlein hasn't aged well, but I read both in childhood and both have stuck with me into adulthood, Singularity especially.

However, Sisterland, by Curtis Sittenfeld, is a better match for your request. Identical twin girls whose paths have diverged quite significantly through their teens and twenties and into their thirties. Real-world setting, but one of the twins is psychic.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 10:32 AM on August 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Split by Libby Creelman
posted by InkaLomax at 10:57 AM on August 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Under the Mountain

While vacationing with relatives in Auckland, twins Theo and Rachel discover that they are endowed with special powers to oppose mysterious giant creatures that are determined to destroy the world.
posted by bashing rocks together at 11:44 AM on August 5, 2020

Half by Sharon Harrigan. (obligatory disclosure: I know the author from college.)
Growing up, identical twins Paula and Artis speak in one voice--until they can't. After years apart, with lives, partners, and children of their own, they are reunited on the occasion of their father's funeral. Seeking to repair the damage wrought upon their relationship by outside forces, the twins retrace their early lives to uncover what happened--but risk unraveling their carefully constructed cocoons.
posted by matildaben at 12:11 PM on August 5, 2020

Twins are protagonists in Middlegame. Twisted and creepy though, so might not be the best book for when you're expecting (congratulations, btw!)
posted by Dotty at 12:27 PM on August 5, 2020

Double Spell by Janet Lunn is an older (and maybe hard to find) children's book; she's more well-known for The Root Cellar, but I loved this one too - and I still remember it, though it's been 30+ years since I read it.
posted by jb at 12:40 PM on August 5, 2020

Just want to warn you away from Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (which is about twin girls) and, unless you're into macabre and creepy stories, you should not read.
posted by jessamyn at 1:05 PM on August 5, 2020

Wally Lamb, I Know This Much Is True? Caveats: they are men, and the story is sad.
posted by Beardman at 1:30 PM on August 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

This is a children's book recommendation: the Ling and Ting story books by Grace Lin are lovely. My non-twin little boy really enjoyed "Ling and Ting: Twice As Silly!" at 4 years old.
posted by EllaEm at 1:45 PM on August 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone! Great recommendations!

Jessamyn's comment reminded me that Slade House by David Mitchell featured creepy fraternal twins, and while I enjoyed that I think I'll stay away from the macabre for now...
posted by DynamiteToast at 2:27 PM on August 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. One of a set of identical twin college freshman women is the main character, the other is very central to the story. There’s a lot of trying to/trying not to differentiate from one another and finding their individuality (and learning to appreciate their similarities).
posted by padraigin at 3:16 PM on August 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

I read a (rather favourable) book review in the paper this afternoon for "A saint from Texas" (released this month) by Edmund White. Two identical twin sisters grow up as heiresses, one moves to Paris to pursue fashion, the other to a convent in Colombia. (I haven't read the book; I only read the review.)
posted by philfromhavelock at 4:05 PM on August 5, 2020

This is another kids' book but Miss Nelson Has a Field Day (companion book to the more famous Miss Nelson is Missing) involves Miss Nelson's twin sister, Barbara.
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:25 PM on August 5, 2020

My recs have already been covered but I do want to second The Grammarians because I think it's also quite good in lots of spots at demonstrating how parenting feels.

And also want to very heartily second Grace Lin's Ling & Ting series for little kits. We love them!
posted by vunder at 4:49 PM on August 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Suggestions from my daughter: Lori Lansens’s The Girls is a thoughtful novel about a pair of female conjoined twins, told from alternating perspectives. CW for a fatal illness.

You specified fiction, but if you like memoirs, the book Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited (identical twin girls separated at birth) might also interest you.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:18 PM on August 5, 2020

If you’re up for some middle grade fantasy, I recently enjoyed Twinchantment (and its sequel Untwisted) about identical twin girls. Their twinhood is very central to the story.
posted by tan_coul at 6:08 PM on August 5, 2020

Erich Kästner‘s Emil and the three twins
posted by growabrain at 7:00 PM on August 5, 2020

this might have been listed, but "twinfatuation" by cheryl lage
posted by megan_magnolia at 11:52 AM on August 6, 2020

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