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written by Garth Nix, illustrated by Sean Williams

The year the twins turned twelve, everything changed.

It all begins when twins Jack and Jaide Shields receive a mysterious invitation from Grandma X to come and stay with her. Their mother is upset and reluctant, as staying with their grandmother on their father's side can only mean trouble. It isn't until a freak accident that involves the kids, a lightning rod and an enormous explosion that the twins are ushered off to a small town named Portland, but not any of the Portlands you've heard of. And Grandma X, Jack and Jaide soon find out, is not your typical grandmother.

As soon as they arrive, the twins' mother immediately responds to an emergency at work, and Jack and Jaide are left alone with a grandmother they hardly know --- and are secretly afraid of. Grandma X likes to have extended conversations with her cats, and it appears they can understand her. Her house seems to have numerous hidden rooms that seemingly appear and disappear out of thin air. Great storms rage around her house, and rats, dogs and all types of bugs seem to travel in swarms just on the outskirts. Something is definitely strange, and Grandma X is being utterly vague about everything.

Jack and Jaide finally begin to piece things together when they are attacked on the way home from a walk to the local lighthouse. Imagine hundreds of slithery gnats, flies, cockroaches and spiders crawling over your clothes, across your skin, in and out of your nose and mouth, and you would have a pretty clear idea of how Jack and Jaide felt as their worst nightmare came true. Something sinister and evil is making its way into Portland, and it has bugs, rodents and even people under its control. Grandma X is startled after the twins tell her of the attack, and she begins to fill in why Jack and Jaide are called the Troubletwisters.

Jack and Jaide are just discovering their powers as Wardens, guardians against a dangerous power called The Evil. The problem is that they don't have control over their powers yet and are more a danger to themselves and those around them than they are a help. So much so that in one moment of desperation, they knock Grandma X out and leave her in a deep sleep. Without her protection, The Evil starts gaining ground, and it's up to the twins to figure out how to control their powers to stop The Evil or destroy themselves in the process.

Master fantasy writer Garth Nix and Sean Williams have created an exciting new series that any kid would enjoy. Who doesn't like exploring a mysterious house full of knick-knacks and meeting a grandmother for the first time who you think is a witch and will throw you in the oven to bake? In addition, The Evil is such a creepy presence here. Normally I don't get grossed out when reading books, but the numerous occasions in TROUBLETWISTERS where cockroaches, rats and spiders were swarming and crawling all over the place really got to me. It's disgusting, but I couldn't stop reading. And you won't be able to either!

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on May 1, 2011

written by Garth Nix, illustrated by Sean Williams

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2011
  • Genres: Fantasy
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • ISBN-10: 0545258979
  • ISBN-13: 9781405258586