Sometimes I will read two books back to back that have an awful lot in common. This is usually not on purpose, so it is always entertaining to me when it happens. I love reading these duos that share a major theme or element, although it is sometimes confusing when they are read back to back because I have to remember whether a plot detail is from the previous or current book!
In September, I read Rick Detorie’s The Accidental Genius of Weasel High followed up by Donna Gephart’s How to Survive Middle School. What do these two have in common? Filmmaking, bullies, girl best friends, and lots of humor. Both of these books feature boys (one 14, one 11) who seriously enjoy filmmaking. Larkin wants to be behind the camera, and is saving up to buy his own, while David wants to have his own talk show. Both boys are also having friend troubles, each losing a best friend to a bully – Larkin’s best friend (girl) has a crush on the bully, while David’s best friend (boy) seems to have joined the bully to avoid being bullied. (In the meantime, David makes a new girl best friend.) Both books are also frequently hilarious, but also have some very serious moments. And, of course, I loved them both.
In October, I read an advance copy of Caroline Starr Rose’s May B followed by Joan Bauer’s Close to Famous. And what do these two have in common? Well, besides very determined young women trying to beat some really impossible odds? They both have reading problems! May has dyslexia, while Foster has a learning disorder which has prevented her from learning to read. But as in all of their other challenges, these two girls emerge as willing to tackle their reading problems head on. Frankly, I also liked the fact that having a reading problem was not the main issue. May’s main problem is trying to survive a blizzard on her own with almost no supplies, while Foster’s current problem stems from life in a new town after fleeing her mother’s abusive boyfriend. So in both cases, reading difficulties are addressed as subplots, rather than taking over the whole story.
Of course, there are many other “duos” I have read. These are just two of the pairs that really stood out as being highly similar.