Virginia Hamilton Karen Ritter - Essay

Karen Ritter

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[In Justice and Her Brothers, with] school out for the summer and their parents gone for most of the day, 11-year-old Justice is left in the company of her twin brothers, Thomas and Levi, two years older and as different in personality as they are identical in appearance…. The surface action involves Justice's attempts to keep up with her brothers and their gang in such average-kid activities as riding bicycles and catching snakes, but the subtle, sometimes confusing psychic power-struggle underneath has vivid and terrifying effects and is the source of the carefully created tension in the story. Many rich details—heat, dust, smells, patterns of sound, etc. are skillfully woven into a complex plot all the more chilling for being so firmly grounded in reality. The suspense is slow in building although very strong; the characters all have considerable depth; the exploration of the relationship between the twins is fascinating; and the parents exhibit realistic problems, worries, flashes of humor and affection. The ending, though satisfying, leaves a lot of dangling ends that would seem to indicate a sequel. A compelling and expertly written book, of particular interest to those with a taste for fantasies involving supranormal powers of the mind.

Karen Ritter, in her review of "Justice and Her Brothers," in School Library Journal (reprinted from the December, 1978 issue of School Library Journal, published by R. R. Bowker Co./A Xerox Corporation; copyright © 1978), Vol. 25, No. 4, December, 1978, p. 60.