Grace and Tippy, Tippy and Grace.
It’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins, even for Grace and her sister. One pair of legs carries them, their arms looped around on another for support. Born as conjoined twins, they’ve never been apart, and they never wish to be separated. When they’re forced to attend school for the first time after being homeschooled all their lives, Grace and Tippy predict the same ruthless gawking and cruelty from their classmates. Two friends open a doorway to a life far more normal than they ever expected possible. Then their health takes a sharp turn, and the one thing Grace and Tippy have never considered becomes the choice that may save their lives.
Within the sparse, moving poetry that depicts each scene of One, Crossan establishes both Grace and Tippy’s individuality and their unity. I felt the companionship, dependence, and frustration it sometimes caused within the lines. It was easy to imagine the terror that would come from imagining life apart from one another.
Yet this isn’t a story swallowed by what it’s like to live as conjoined twins. The rest of the girls’ lives – relationships with parents and their sister – also fills the pages of the tale. And they don’t have perfect little families and perfect little friends. There are some big issues, which really also helped ground the idea that these girls are no freakshow – they’re like any close sisters might be. They just happen to share more than clothes and hair supplies.
The ending is a little bit predictable, but honestly, I got so wrapped up in the emotions that Grace, our narrator, experiences that I really didn’t care. I needed to walk every page with her to the very end. It is a journey well-worth taking.
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Extreme profanity used infrequently.
Grace recalls with frustration some inappropriate curiosity about her and her sister’s body – “how many vaginas do you have?” A girl and boy kiss.
After a terrible disappointment in church, Grace’s family does not participate in any spiritual practices. They remain angry, saying that God would not be welcome at their funerals.
Grace and Tippy drink alcohol with friends (even after their doctor warns them that it poses an extreme health risk to them) and eat a brownie containing marijuana.
Sarah Crossan is Irish. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Literature before training as an English and Drama teacher at Cambridge University and worked to promote creative writing in schools before leaving teaching to write full time.
She completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003 and in 2010 received an Edward Albee Fellowship for writing.
She spent several years living and teaching high school in New Jersey before moving to London.
Learn more about author Sarah Crossan and One at Once Upon a Twilight where Leydy is hosting a Q&A today!
One Book Giveaway
Enter here to win a free copy of One by Sarah Crossan and share in the joy and mystery of this tale of identity and love. This giveaway is hosted by The Story Sanctuary and Once Upon a Twilight.
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