Popular YA author Lesley Livingston makes her first foray into middle-grade territory with How to Curse in Hieroglyphics, the first book in the Wiggins Weird series. The supernatural tale, co-authored by Toronto actor and former Space Channel writer and host Jonathan Llyr, dispenses with the romantic entanglements that are a staple of Livingston’s YA, but retains the high entertainment value.
The novel introduces Cheryl and Tweed, 12-year-old cousins referred to by their neighbours as “the twins,” which is a bit misleading. Though the two girls don’t look anything alike, they are indeed identical twins – just not each other’s. When the girls were five, they both lost their twin sisters and parents in a mysterious plane disappearance, an event that led to a shared fascination with the paranormal. Bonding over a mutual love of B-movies, vampires, and ghosts, the slightly odd but fun-loving girls are always up for an adventure.
When a shady travelling carnival rolls into town, the girls become instantly suspicious of its creepy owner and decide to investigate, uncovering much more than expected. Soon Cheryl and Tweed find themselves in a race against time to save an Egyptian princess (and their whole town) from a terrifying curse.
With their offbeat theories and wild imaginations, Cheryl and Tweed are quirky, endearing characters. The girls’ sidekicks, Artie and Pilot, provide comic relief, acting as well-grounded contrasts to the twins. How to Curse in Hieroglyphics is weird, wacky, and wonderful, and is sure to garner Livingston – and Llyr – a new batch of fans.