The Templeton Twins Have an Idea (Templeton Twins, #1)The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Weiner, Jeremy Holmes
My rating: 3/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne Star

i read this because i came across an excerpt that made it sound really fun. despite my aversion to twins, and my not reading much middle grade, i thought i would enjoy this, because—puzzles! and chapters with names like Other Things Happen In An Exciting Manner! and an intrusive aggressive narrator who berates the reader throughout the story and gives questions at the end of every chapter such as What were the names of Abigail and John, the Templeton twins? and Explain, in fifty words or less, why you believe the story will actually get started, and why it will be wonderful. sign me up, even though i am so much taller than all the other readers of this series!

now, i have never read any of those lemony snicket or pseudonymous bosch books, but i gather the tone and the device are similar? and judging by the continued success of those books, i guess the kids go nuts for it. but this one has very limited crossover appeal into the world of the adult reader. again—i know tons of grown folk love that lemony snicket fellow, so it’s probably quite different than this one, which i think is best left to younger readers.

for me, the gimmick of the narrator’s self-insertion was overused. the book doesn’t even start until seven pages and three fake prologues of stalling, and the plot is constantly interrupted by more of the same. it’s cute at first, but it gets old quickly. if you remove all the asides and interruptions, you lose at least half of the actual pages, and you never even learn who the narrator actually is, and why they are being forced to write this story, despite all the hints and promises—probably to encourage readers to continue with the series. and the tone of the narrator changes too frequently, from abusive to cajoling to pandering to megalomaniac to just silly.

the story itself, in the spaces when it is allowed to occur, is fine, nothing special. i did enjoy the puzzles, even though they are scaled down to middle-grade level, but it’s still fun to encounter puzzles in a story, although Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library did it better.

shrug. it’s a kid’s book, and younger readers will probably have a blast reading it while they are rolling around on those little wheeled sneakers of theirs and living rent-free while shoving bags of candy into their skinny little bodies and getting to sit on stuffed animals bigger than they are.

conclusion: being a grown-up is no fun at all.


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