One: Fast-paced, heartbreaking and insightful

One by Sarah Crossan

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Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins. And their lives are about to change.
No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love? But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined …

My thoughts:

This is my first ever Sarah Crossan read. I was interested in this book because, as the synopsis says, this is about conjoined twins. I wanted to know more about the physical/medical implications and the emotional/psychological aspect of being conjoined twins. I have to say I wasn’t prepared for how amazing a book this is.

To start at the beginning. This wonderful story is about sixteen-year-old twins, Grace and Tippi. They’re conjoined twins. As if life for them isn’t difficult enough, they must leave their sheltered, homeschooled life for a life in which the are judged, they are actually feared, pitied, whispered about and openly stared at. Why must they leave their sheltered life behind? Because their mother loses her job and their already unemployed Dad can’t stay away from alcohol. Bills are starting to pile up. Their parents can’t afford for them to be homeschooled anymore, they have to go to an actual school. At there new school they quickly make two friends: Yasmeen, who is HIV positive, and Jon, who lives a hard life as well. His mom left him.This group of outsiders skip school and go smoking and drinking. This goes to show that the are just like any other teenagers. Doing stuff that is “forbidden”. The only difference is that Grace feels resentment when Tippi wants to drink and smoke. Grace finds herself wanting to have control of her own body, wanting to make her own decisions. What you see are two very different people, with different thoughts and dreams, with different wants, who can’t stay annoyed with one another since the are literally joined at the hip. An example of this fact is that Tippi, when Grace has the flu, is confined to bed beside her even though she is perfectly healthy. This attack of the flu, meanwhile, leaves the twins in failing health. Separation, however dangerous, may well be the thing to save them. The question is, what will they choose.

This novel is written from Grace’s point of view. While reading I always thought, why did Sarah Crossan not include Tippi’s point of view. Although you get to know al lot by reading about Grace’s thoughts. Her fears surrounding their medical condition and the nature of their existence as well as her worries surrounding love and friendship. And since she empathizes with her sister, you get to know a bit about what’s going on in Tippi’s head as well. I still could not help but think that when Sarah Crossan also had included Tippi’s point of view, you would feel the full emotional and psychological impact of being a conjoined twin. I thought we didn’t get to know  Tippi as well as we possibly could have. I craved to know more about Tippi, and what drove her to say the thins she said. How did she feel about being an conjoined twin, about going to an actual school, making friends and about the decision they made. The end of the book made it clear though. This had to be in Grace’s point of view. It was her story to tell. And by only letting her tell it, the story was so much more. It made it that much more a sad and moving story.

This book is written in free verse. Something I wasn’t expecting and certainly had to get used to. Once I got used to it, I found it beautiful. Sarah Crossan can put al lot of emotion in just a few words. She can touch readers with meaningful anecdotes. The fact that it’s been written in free verse might make this book a more emotional read then it otherwise would have been. Due to it’s poetic style this book is a very quick read. Although I read it in more then one sitting, in total it took me only 2 hours to read.

This book covers so many things. When you look at Grace and Tippi. It covers what it is like to live your everyday life as conjoined twins, the difficulty of fitting in, what it’s like to live as one person but actually be two individuals, with the question do they stay conjoined or do they separate and with the fact what being separated actually would mean for the both of them.  Not only Grace and Tippi are well fleshed out characters also the side-characters felt very real. Grace and Tippi have a dad that is an alcoholic, a sister with anorexia, a best friend that has HIV and one that was left by his mother. I found this an important aspect of the book because it’s true to life. When you look around you, you must know someone that has to deal with something, something difficult. That unfortunately is life.

What’s left to say is that this is a beautiful book, a definite must read. It’s a book that will stay with you for a long, long time. A book that’s true to life. So many people in the world live with a disability and/or medical condition. It’s important that there are people around to write about these things. This, so we will learn more about the issue and thus more about the world and the people in it. I, myself, learned a lot from this book.



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2 thoughts on “One: Fast-paced, heartbreaking and insightful

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