Sunday, September 13, 2015

[Review] One by Sarah Crossan

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 27/05/2011
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 270
Source: Bought
Genre: YA - Contemporary (16+)

Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity
My Rating: 

A special, heartbreaking story

My thoughts

Wow. This was such a beautiful story, and I an not ashamed to admit that the ending brought me to tears.

'One' is a young adult novel, written in verse, told in the perspective of conjoined twins, Grace and Tippi. So many thanks goes to Allen and Unwin for the opportunity to read this important book. For the short time I have spent with these characters between the covers I will take to heart the lovely messages and lessons Crossan has imbued in me with her storytelling. For me this is such a special book, as are all contemporary/realistic fiction... because it is just about people- their fictionalisation is merely an aside.

Grace and Tippi are fourteen when they are forced out of homeschooling. At Hornbeacon High, they are, unsurprisingly, subject to much scrutiny and hostility by the school body. However, they find friends in eccentric I-don't-give-a-damn Yasmeen and cool, not-so-perfect Jon, with whom Grace quickly becomes smitten. There are issues in their family as well. Their normal sister, Dragon, aspires towards ballet and will make any sacrifice to get there. Their dad is fueled by booze, unable to secure a job. And mum is placed in the middle of it all, a heavy burden to bear.

I loved the formatting of this book. Verse is generally hit or miss for me. The lesser time spent immersed within the pages before the story ends proves to be either a blessing or a curse. What I found in 'One' that I rarely find in other verse novels is connection. I felt connected to these characters, ESPECIALLY Grace. I loved her quiet soul, and my heart ached for her and everyone involved in her life. She and Tippi are seemingly different as can be, but ultimately their bond and love for one another is simply beautiful and a powerful thing to behold. At its core it has allowed me to re-evaluate the sanctity of the relationship shared among sisters: for all the disagreements in the end we are bound together, until death may tear us apart.

Crossan explores the many facets of life as one of conjoined twins, and it is clear that some research took place. She addresses love, image, future, death, and the effects it may have on the family as a whole. I have never really thought about how life must be like for them. Essentially they are just people, but things that we give no thought to in our daily lives are a major feat to them. I like that psychologists and doctors were involved, as well as the press in Caroline.

As expressed already at the beginning of this review, the ending broke me. I don't want to get into it because anything I say will be spoilerific, but man... Reading this book has been a truly unique experience. It is for these kinds of books that I read for, the kinds of books that leave you not as you were, but as a person changed for having read something so special. This is the first book I've read by Crossan, but after this I will definitely seek out more of her stuff (I have Apple and Rain...)


"But when I read,
     I am completely alone.
I have privacy from her
    and from everyone.
And yet,
knowing that Jon has run his eyes
along these pages
and digested the very same words
I am devouring,
makes me feel like
     I am tasting him, too. (160-1)


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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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