Writers love identical twins. What tidier way to show different sides of one character, explore possible life paths or test the limits of nature and nuture? Dermansky does all that, but her twins (who take turns at narrating) transcend the gimmick in a brainy, emotionally sophisticated bildungsroman-for-two. Chloe, the elder by four minutes, longs for a life of her own, independent of her clingy sister, Sue, who envies her (Chloe is an eighth of an inch taller) and thinks she’s smarter and prettier. Sue adores Chloe, whose every gesture toward independence sends her into paroxysms of jealousy. On their 13th birthday, she wheedles and bullies Chloe into getting tattoos – with each twin bearing the other twin’s name. “Sue thought tattoos would prove to the world that the bond we shared went deeper than DNA,” Chloe explains. “The funy thing was, the tattoos made us different. When we died, it would be easy for a forensic scientist to tell us apart. …After we got tattoos, we were never really and truly the same.” Both twins are obsessive, vulnerable, ambitious and hungry for love, but these qualities take on different forms. Chloe keeps her room in perfect order, setting herself apart from her untidy sister, while Sue vomits up her meals in an effort to stay the same weight as Chloe, who intently counts her calories. Yet as they mature and their circumstances change, they find themselves swapping roles. Most teenage protagonists have to learn what it means to be themselves, but Sue and Chloe have an extra task: learning what it means to be – or not to be – each other. (New York Times Book Review, December 11, 2005.)