Olive is an only child. She lives by the sea in a ramshackle old house with her mother, Mog, who is successful, busy, and hardly ever at home. Olive is very pale and very quiet and she doesn't quite fit in. But she has a best friend, Mathilda, and that's what matters.
And then Mathilda decides to be someone else's best friend.
Just as life really can't get much worse, Pip shows up. Brash, loud Pip, who is everything that Olive is not, and is about to cause Olive a whole heap of trouble—and open her up to a whole world of possibilities.
Kane's original debut stars 12-year-old Olive, who lives in an Australian seaside suburb with Mog, her hippie-turned-high-profile-barrister mother. Olive is shy, excessively pale-"the exact colour of chicken loaf"-and obsessed with symmetry and pairs. Mog has "zip" to do with Olive's father, whom she left when Olive was an infant and who bears the intriguing name of WilliamPetersMustardSeed. When Olive's only friend, Mathilda, abandons her for a popular girl, Olive is distraught, but then Pip bursts into her life. While physically identical to her, Pip is everything Olive is not, and Olive is simultaneously horrified and thrilled by her. They realize they are twins separated at birth and soon Olive notices Pip in all her childhood photos. Readers will catch on that something is strange when nobody other than Olive acknowledges or interacts with Pip. But Pip's courage inspires Olive to search for their father and to take control of her life in other ways. The somewhat distant narrative voice combined with Pip's unexplained existence will puzzle some readers, but will appeal to those with a taste for eccentric charm. Ages 8-12. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.