Saturday, 26 September 2015

Book Review | One by Sarah Crossan

Released: 27th August 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 448 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary

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…
From Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this moving and beautifully crafted novel about identity, sisterhood and love ultimately asks one question: what does it mean to want and have a soulmate?

To be perfectly honest I randomly picked this book up because of the super pretty cover while I was in the bookstore. After reading the blurb and the first few pages I was completely engrossed in the story and finished the whole thing in one sitting. Sarah Crossan has written One in free verse so it is technically quite a short book even with 400+ pages but it was an absolutely wonderful read from start to finish. I am nowhere near an expert in poetry/free verse or anything of the sort but really enjoyed this style of writing. The free verse helped to draw attention to certain dramatic moments and made the main character Grace's emotions that much more real and helped me to sympathize with her.

“I read all these books,

so many words,

but I don't own any.

I don't know what's happening

inside me.

I can't get it out.” 

The focus of this book is on family, friendship and love and it explored all these themes really carefully in a limited amount of words. Our main characters Grace and Tippi have their own set of struggles of living having to basically share a life being joined together. There were some small details about the lives of conjoined twins that are included (which I won't go into because they might be mini spoilers) and these made it feels as though the author really cared about the topic and put a lot of research into writing this book.

Something that I also really appreciated about this book was how the author also went into how the secondary characters had their own problems as well; their alcoholic dad and overachieving sister Dragon, their friends Yasmeen who had to live with HIV her whole life and Jon with his own dysfunctional family. Reading the book you do realize that apart from the challenges they face with their body, Grace and her twin Tippi are not that different from other people but this is also shown throughout the story.

At some points I did wish that there were also chapters from Tippi's point of view and not only Grace's. The relationships the twins had with their family and friends were described quite well and the chapters where they talk to their psychologist were really interesting to read. Each twin gets their own time to speak while the other has to have headphones on and music up quite loud since they aren't allowed to listen to each other. I felt that we got a really good understanding of Grace as a character through these scenes with the psychologist and if we had gotten to read Tippi's conversation as well it would have helped us understand her side of the story as well.

Overall I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read an emotional and realistic story about sisterhood and love. The book might seem a teeny bit predictable however the writing and well rounded characters more than made up for it and the ending is in fact quite surprising and powerful.


Have you read One? What were your thoughts?

And if you've read any other free verse books that you enjoyed, comment down below because I'd love to read more books in this style :)

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