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Cover image for The twinning project
The twinning project
Publication Information:
New York : Clarion Books, 2012.
Physical Description:
269 pages ; 22 cm
Number in series:
Tom and Eddie, identical twins and mirror opposites living on two different Earths some fifty years apart, must switch places and identities to thwart the alien scientists who threaten their planets.


Call Number

On Order



Tom is a smart, talented loner with a chip on his shoulder and a big secret: an imaginary twin on another planet. Eddie is Tom's opposite, a friendly, athletic kid who always looks on the good side. Tom worries sometimes: does confiding in Eddie mean he's nuts? The truth is even crazier than that. Eddie and his planet are just as real as Tom and his Earth, but fifty-some years in the past. And the twins are caught up in an alien master plan that might just mean Earth--both Earths--will be destroyed. Switching places and identities, "slipping" between planets and across decades, a desperate escape, and the unraveling of deeper secrets leave Tom and Eddie aware of the danger they're facing and the tools they can use to overcome it.

Author Notes

Robert Lipsyte is a legendary sports reporter, award-winning young adult novelist and an outspoken critic of the sports world. Lipsyte has often expressed his controversial opinion that the nation's fixation on competitive athletics is detrimental. He feels that sports should be recreational, not an industry that offers the often false hope of stardom.

As a young reporter, Lipsyte covered boxing for The New York Times. He drew on this background for his first book, "The Contender" (1967), a highly acclaimed coming-of-age story in which an orphaned teenager matures through the training discipline of boxing. In 1971, Lipsyte left the Times to concentrate on writing books. His other sports books for young people include "Free To Be Muhammad Ali" (1978) and the "Superstar Lineup" series documenting the lives of famous sports heroes.

The author's other novels for adolescents include the semi-autobiographical "Fifties Trilogy: One Fat Summer" (1977), "Summer Rules" (1981) and "Summerboy" (1982). Lipsyte has also written for adults in such books as "SportsWorld: An American Dreamland" (1975) and for television, notably "Saturday Night With Howard Cosell". He received an Emmy Award for hosting the PBS show "The Eleventh Hour"" (1990).

Robert Michael Lipsyte was born January 16, 1938 in New York City and earned an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia in 1959. He has been a radio commentator, a television news correspondent, and a journalism teacher. He successfully fought cancer in the late 1970's.

Lipsyte's career has come full circle; he once again is writing a sports column for The New York Times and books for young adults. "The Chief" (1993) is the long-awaited sequel to "The Contender".

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Tom is not a happy middle schooler. He lost his father two years ago, he keeps getting into trouble, and his only friend is an imaginary twin brother, Eddie, who lives on an Earth that is 50 years behind his own. But it turns out that Eddie is not imaginary. There really is an Earth2, and the brothers find out that both worlds are in trouble. The alien scientists who created the planets believe them to be a failed experiment and are ready to destroy them, and Tom and Eddie must switch places to try to thwart their plan. An exciting premise, short chapters, and plenty of action make this a good choice for reluctant readers, and the ending promises future installments.-Laurie Slagenwhite Walters, Peachtree Montessori International, Ann Arbor, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lipsyte (Center Field) departs from his usual sports themes, bringing a strong sense of character (if not plot) to science fiction in this tale of aliens, parallel worlds, and conspiracy theories. Seventh-grader Tom is an outcast and an outsider, getting expelled from school after school for fighting bullies. With Tom's father having disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the boy's only comfort comes from talking through his problems with his imaginary twin, Eddie, a jock who lives on a version of Earth 50 years behind Tom's (Eddie is full of mid-century slang like "Later, alligator"). When the boys' "grandfather" on both Earths reveals that the twin planets were created by alien scientists, the boys switch places to fight for the survival of both Earths. The plot occasionally gets convoluted, and Tom gets out of jams too often with gadgets of his own invention that feel out of place. But the relationship between the twins, as well as the strong supporting cast (notably Tom's body-conscious outsider friend, Alessa, and a homeless runaway named Ronnie), are strong enough to carry the story. Ages 10-14. Agent: Jay Mandel, William Morris Endeavor. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

A high stakes twin-switch adventure. Unconventional, antisocial Thomas "Tom" Canty is highly intelligent and a gifted musician. He also has a bad habit of getting expelled from schools for standing up against bullies. Being a rebel and talking to his "imaginary" friend are two of the coping mechanisms he developed after his father went missing in a plane crash. His friend, Eddie, lives on a slightly younger alternate Earth, about 50 years in the past. Eddie is Tom's identical twin and polar opposite--athletic and popular. Third-person perspectives of other characters, such as the not-so-imaginary Eddie, fill gaps in Tom's first-person narration. The twins are key figures for a group of alien scientists wanting to take down the resistance that protects both Earths from imminent destruction, and the twins must switch places for some reason never fully explained. The overarching threat is ill-defined, but the immediate struggles of the young protagonists keep the story moving and enjoyable. The alien villains--who can appear on both Earths at the same time to menace all characters, although how is never addressed--are underdeveloped, like the threat they pose. Instead, the writing tightly focuses on Tom, Eddie and their friends on each Earth, and their interactions are more than strong enough to carry the weight of the plot. A multi-world adventure starring a band of heroes that readers will want to join. (Science fiction. 9-14) ]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.