I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers
Also by this author: Monster, Kick, Carmen, All the Right Stuff, Sunrise Over Fallujah, Juba!, Monster: A Graphic Novel
Published by Harper Collins on April 23, 2013
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, People & Places, United States, African American, Sports & Recreation, Social Themes, Friendship, Diversity & Multicultural
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Darius and Twig are an unlikely pair: Darius is a writer whose only escape is his alter ego, a peregrine falcon named Fury, and Twig is a middle-distance runner striving for athletic success. But they are drawn together in the struggle to overcome the obstacles that life in Harlem throws at them. The two friends must face down bullies, an abusive uncle, and the idea that they'll be stuck in the same place forever.
Maria Russo, writing in the New York Times, included Darius & Twig on her list of "great kids' books with diverse characters." She commented: "The late Myers, one of the greats and a champion of diversity in children’s books well before the cause got mainstream attention, is at his elegant, heartfelt best in this 2013 novel. It’s about two friends growing up in Harlem, one a writer, one an athlete, facing daily challenges and trying to dream of a brighter future."
I have had Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers on my shelf for years. Oddly enough I never ended up unhauling it, as I really did intend to read it someday. Well, that day has come! You see, I have been prioritizing reading more diversely and then un-hauling those books and getting them into the hands of people who can utilize them as mirrors. So, finally, I have picked up Darius & Twig and basically inhaled it.
Darius & Twig is about two high school boys. One is named Darius and he’s a writer. The other is Manuel, but he goes by Twig. Twig is a runner. Both boys are hoping for scholarships which will take them out of Harlem and onto new lives at college. Darius is coming to grips with the fact that although his grades are good, they might not be good enough to get him a full ride. He’s hoping if he revises one of his short stories submitted for publication and it actually gets published that will give him an edge.
Twig is an excellent cross country runner and he has been proving his mettle. Twig just wants to field the right offer and pick the right school to go to. The only issue is that Twig’s uncle wants him to work in the bodega that he owns and that means he would have to stop running.
I loved that this book was about friendship between two young men of color. The two really just encouraged each other and were so supportive. Further, I loved that Myers contrasts this with another best friend set from their neighborhood which do not seem to have much going on. In fact, the other two – Tall Boy and Midnight – are on a path to trouble as they make fun of Darius and Twig as well as engage in violence. In the end though, there’s less judgment and compassion for Tall Boy and Midnight – because we see where the path leads them. I think on the whole Darius & Twig is a quiet book and a wonderful character study. Plus as is characteristic with Walter Dean Myers, once you start reading it you’ll basically be unable to stop until you’ve finished it.
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