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|Darius & Twig|
Author: Myers, Walter Dean
Two best friends, a writer and a runner, deal with bullies, family issues, social pressures, and their quest for success coming out of Harlem.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 158092
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 63153
Coretta Scott King Author Honor, 2014
Common Core Standards
Grade 8 → Reading → CCR College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading
Kirkus Reviews (+) (03/15/13)
School Library Journal (06/01/13)
Booklist (+) (03/15/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (06/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/15/2013 *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 2013 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2013 Darius is an aspiring writer, Twig a rising track star, and together they are seeking a way to transcend the limitations their community seems to want to put on them. Twig’s family, for instance, wants him to work at his uncle’s bodega rather than train and compete, and Twig himself is sometimes ambivalent about what he wants for his future; running offers him a way to sort out his feelings in the present, but he’s not sure where and how he wants it to take him into his future. Darius watches the people in his neighborhood and tries to make sense of the complicated feelings that he and Twig have about who they are and who they want to be through the use of various metaphors that he uses in his stories, including an ongoing narrative about a falcon named Fury with whom Darius identifies. Not sure if he himself is raptor or prey, he must cope with bullies who seem determined to trample his spirit and constrict his future. At first, there is more exposition than action here, with a fair amount of introspection and description from Darius about his backstory with Twig and the mundane events of their daily lives as well as the rage and helplessness Darius feels much of the time. This is Walter Dean Myers, however, so the plot gains urgency with some urban violence, and all that exposition becomes thematically relevant to Darius’ actions as well as his insights into why people, including him and his best friend, feel and behave the way they do. Through it all, a strong and simple message emerges about the way good friends can anchor each other through storms and spur one another into positive futures even when the present seems bleak. KC - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2013 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 - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.