Author: Sarah Crossan
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: 1st September 2015
Rating: 4/5 stars
Thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy!
Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins.
And their lives are about to change.
No longer able to be homeschooled, 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 a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead for Tippi and Grace. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined…
Written entirely in poetry, I wasn’t sure what to expect from One. The style makes this book really easy to read, though it did take me a little while to get used to it. I was expecting a story from the points of view of both twins, but Grace is our only narrator. It was interesting that Crossan chose to highlight the individual.
The book throughout serves to emphasise that the twins’ lives are just like anyone else’s. Their family dynamic is difficult – their younger sister is a ballerina struggling with her weight, and their father is unemployed, dealing with constant rejection through drink. Money is tight, and Tippi and Grace feel guilty that their medical bills are the primary cause, yet they are not expected to help out.
School is difficult, but Tippi and Grace make two good friends – Yasmeen and Jon. They are misfits themselves, and teach the girls what it means to be normal teenagers in the school environment. Grace’s relationship with Jon goes a little deeper, and she finds herself falling for him; not the easiest situation when two of you have to make the decision about what happens to your body.
My favourite section from the story was this, when Jon and Grace are discussing Ulysses:
‘I have no idea what James Joyce
is rambling on about,’ he admits.
‘Me neither,’ I say.
‘But I love it anyway.’
‘Yes,’ he says.
‘Isn’t it funny how something
so abstract can still speak to us?
It’s very self-aware, as the book itself is rather abstract!
The girls’ body begins to fail, unable to support both of them. Grace’s heart is failing, and Tippi’s is working overtime. They have to make the heart-wrenching decision to be separated, despite knowing that both may not survive. Their decision is difficult, and it is intriguing to read their thought processes through Grace’s poetry.
The last sentence in the book is absolutely devastating, but perfect anyway. It is a sad story, but told with such eloquence and beauty that you can’t help falling in love with the story. A strongly recommended YA novel, dealing with illness, sisters, family, love, life and death.