Reviews for Darius & Twig


Booklist Reviews 2013 March #2
*Starred Review* Darius and Twig have been best friends since they were 9. Now 16, the two dream of finding a world beyond the confines of their daily lives on 145th Street in Harlem. Certainly, their talents are on their side: Darius is a highly intelligent writer, and Twig is a gifted runner. But are the two free to use their gifts? A story Darius has written has been accepted by a college journal contingent on his making editorial changes. Must he give up his singular voice to conform to an editor? As for Twig, are his gifts as a runner being exploited by an unscrupulous adult for personal gain? In his imagination, Darius is his alter ego--a falcon flying to impossible heights. But in real life, he and Twig are the targets of mindless bullies who seek to drag them down to their miserable level. Will the friends ultimately be able to soar, or will they remain earthbound victims of their circumstances? Myers has written another gritty, suspenseful, street-smart novel with a viscerally real setting in which young men must struggle to overcome obstacles by finding the best within themselves. In the process, they become the heroes of their own lives and surely will inspire their readers to seek to do the same. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A large-scale promotion tied to Myers' appointment as National Ambassador for Young People's Literature will likely expand the already enormous audience for this title. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
Darius, an aspiring writer, and Twig, his star-runner best friend, both want more than Harlem can offer. But even as they begin to experience success in their respective endeavors, violence, bullies, and opportunistic adults threaten their dreams. Myers's usual fire seems replaced by cynicism, but the boys' friendship is well developed and their desire to succeed despite obstacles is admirable and relatable.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 March #2
A beautifully written story of friendship and the strength required to rise above limiting circumstances. Darius is a writer. Twig is a runner. Best friends since they were 9, the two 16-year-olds struggle with growing up in Harlem and, even more so, with making a better future for themselves. Through Darius' poignant first-person narration, readers will sympathize with his feelings of hopelessness and being trapped in a life he doesn't want, though Twig's success on the track gives him faith that he might one day succeed as a writer. Darius also finds solace imagining himself as a falcon named Fury, soaring far above all of the problems that plague him. But the challenges Darius faces are constant and threaten to pull him back to earth--from bullies to his depressed mother and absent father to his own feelings of being overwhelmed, especially as the consequences of his past choices threaten his future. Darius and Twig's conversations are both lyrically poetic and endearingly heartfelt as they fight to forge a brighter future than the limited options they see before them. Set in opposition to the bullies who make their lives difficult, Darius and Twig exemplify true friendship--two people who have been fortunate enough to find each other, who encourage one another and push each other to do their best--and the life-altering difference having a true friend can make. Myers at his impassioned best. (Fiction. 13 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 May #2

Printz winner Myers (Monster) delivers another excellent character-driven novel, this time focusing on the strength and encouragement that come from a trusted friendship. Harlem teenager Darius, a writer, wants to get out of his neighborhood and make it to college, but his grades aren't good enough. He's hoping that if he can get a story published, he might nab a college scholarship. His best friend Twig is a track star, and sees athletics as his escape. Both are skeptical of the hype they are fed about how hard work pays off, and they face obstacles ranging from school bullies and unsupportive parents to indifferent educators and classmates who don't want others "to get away from the crappy little universes they had created for themselves." Myers homes in on the intimacy between Twig and Darius and their struggles at writing and racing, without letting the oppressiveness of their neighborhood or their home lives either fade to the background or into cliché. Ages 13-up. Agent: Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Printz winner Myers (Monster) delivers another excellent character-driven novel, this time focusing on the strength and encouragement that come from a trusted friendship. Harlem teenager Darius, a writer, wants to get out of his neighborhood and make it to college, but his grades aren't good enough. He's hoping that if he can get a story published, he might nab a college scholarship. His best friend Twig is a track star, and sees athletics as his escape. Both are skeptical of the hype they are fed about how hard work pays off, and they face obstacles ranging from school bullies and unsupportive parents to indifferent educators and classmates who don't want others "to get away from the crappy little universes they had created for themselves." Myers homes in on the intimacy between Twig and Darius and their struggles at writing and racing, without letting the oppressiveness of their neighborhood or their home lives either fade to the background or into cliché. Ages 13-up. Agent: Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 June

Gr 8 Up--In New York City's Harlem neighborhood, two high school friends approach graduation with different dreams. Narrator Darius knows it takes more than a high school diploma to have the life he wants and, despite mediocre grades, develops his creative fiction for publication in the Delta Review, boosting his hopes for a college scholarship. His best friend Manuel Fernandez, or "Twig," is a long-distance runner looking ahead only as far as the next race. Along with a high grade-point average, Twig has the athleticism to catch the attention of college scouts in the big race but is being pressured to quit the track team and work in his uncle's bodega. Both boys face daily run-ins with Tall Boy and Midnight, two classmates with rap sheets and vengeful thug behavior. Ultimately, Darius and Twig learn of a shooting and are faced with the moral dilemma of coming to the aid of their tormentors. The portrayal of Harlem is realistic and nuanced, describing the sweetness of the neighborhood vibe and its friendly and supportive adults while also showing animosity among ethnic enclaves, and random violence. Darius's alter ego, Fury the peregrine falcon, appears at the beginning of some chapters as both guardian and predator above the city streets. An unfinished story about a boy testing his limits by swimming with dolphins comes to a poignant conclusion, as Darius similarly overcomes his own obstacles. Less gritty than many of Myers's titles, this book will satisfy his legions of fans.--Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY

[Page 138]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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VOYA Reviews 2013 June
Growing up in Harlem surrounded by bullies who thrive on picking on anyone smaller, Darius and Twig know they are lucky to have each other. This pair has a vision for their future, but with scarce resources and few adult role models, they cannot see a clear path to getting out of Harlem and moving on to college. Darius has a passion for writing but is searching for a voice all his own. Twig is passionate about running, and he is determined not to give up his track dreams, even when his overbearing uncle tries to guilt him into working in the family store. Darius and Twig prove that they have not become heartless, like those around them, when they help a local bully in a time of need. Their actions lift them above their surroundings and show they can soar higher, just like Darius's alter ego, Fury, a peregrine falcon. This is the story of best friends who push each other to overcome the current barriers of their lives in the inner city. It is not a surprise that Myers has written another standout novel for male teens. This encouraging text may inspire teens who feel trapped by their surroundings. Darius and Twig have goals for their future, and they see them through, despite the odds against them. Told in Darius's voice, the prose is poetic but concise. This would be a worthwhile addition to any middle or high school media center or public library shelf and would make a valuable book for discussion in a middle school classroom.--Amy Wyckoff 5Q 4P M J Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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