Trouble twisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

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Allen and Unwin, 2011. ISBN 9781742373980.
(Age 8-12) Recommended. Fantasy. Twins Jaide and Jack are sent to stay with a strange grandmother they have never met after their house has been destroyed in a weird explosion and their father disappears. Grandma X takes them in but they begin to glimpse strange things out of the corner of their eyes and animals seem to have the ability to talk. Grandma X calls them the Troubletwisters and they're about to find out why!
The combination of two outstanding authors such as Nix and Williams ensures that this story will be an instant success with its young readers. Written in a seamless style (I couldn't pick which author was writing which bit!), both the characterisation and the action are excellent. I loved the character of Jaide who can see things that aren't there and who encourages Jack to take risks. The friendship and bond between the twins is great.
An eerie atmosphere is built up gradually and the reader waits in suspenseful anticipation of what could happen next. With cats that can talk, intimidating insects, an army of rats and a tornado tearing through their room, the twins are tested to their limits.
I can see this being made into a film or TV show as it has all the ingredients to appeal to kids - attractive twins who will work against evil, an eccentric grandmother, no parents on the scene and plenty of action. It is the first in a series that is sure to be popular.
Pat Pledger