Sunday, September 14, 2014

It Takes Two

18775435Payton, Bell. A Whole New Ball Game (It Takes Two #1)
May 20th 2014 by Simon Spotlight 

Ava and Alex's family relocate from Boston to Texas so that their father can take a job as the head football coach. Little did the girls know how crazy the town was about football. They become local celebrities, but worry about the stress that their father is under. Their older brother, Tommy, is on the high school football team, and there is some tension since he is the coach's son. Ava, who is very sporty, is more concerned about making friends (especially with the cute Jack) and surviving her middle school courses; Alex, who is very interested in fashion, is more concerned with doing well academically and adding school activities to her resume. They have some misunderstandings, and both struggle a bit to fit into the new environment, especially since they have their own rooms for the first time, but fit in well enough.
Strengths: Interesting topic-- what is it like if your father is the football coach in a town that actually cares about high school football? Relocating from Boston to Texas is an interesting transition as well, and what middle grade girl doesn't secretly want to have a twin? Fun series.
Weaknesses: Why are twins always portrayed as polar opposites? I would think there are some twins who are extremely similar to each other!

18775456 Payton, Bell. Two Cool For School (It Takes Two #2)
May 20th 2014 by Simon Spotlight

The Sackett twins start seventh grade, and there are issues right away. Ava is struggling with language arts, and is having a lot of trouble concentrating on her assignments, and getting bad grades. Alex is wanting to get in with the popular crowd, but it might mean choosing a group of girls over a boy she thinks is cute. Meanwhile, their parents are really stressed out with the demands of the coaching schedule-- their mother is trying to keep up with her pottery business, but the PTA makes it very clear that her primary function is to be a good coach's wife and plan things around the football team. Their father forgets their 20th anniversary, but the girls and their brother make plans for a nice dinner. Ava ends up being tested for ADHD, and the family (and their community) realize that football can't be the end all, be all for the family.
Strengths: Ava's troubles in school are interesting and well done, although really, who wouldn't struggle with White Fang in the seventh grade? Let's punished the advanced students by making them read Classics! I liked the involvement of the whole family in the story. Just fun.
Weaknesses:If Alex were my twin, I would probably slap her. She'll become a cheerleader yet. Still, looking forward to Double of Nothing ( August 26th 2014 by Simon Spotlight; even though it's about a school election. YAWN!) and Go! Fight! Twin (October 28th 2014 by Simon Spotlight).


  1. I was just so mad when I realized I'd read the description wrong and the girls don't actually play football themselves. I have so many girls eager for sports stories and so little to offer them.