One by Sarah Crossan

Grace and Tippi. Two sisters. Two hearts. Two lives. One body. Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins, joined at the waist, defying the odds of survival for sixteen years. They share everything, and they are everything to each other. They would never imagine being apart. For them, that would be the real tragedy. 

But something is happening to them. Something they hoped would never happen. And Grace doesn't want to admit it. Not even to Tippi.

How long can they hide from the truth - how long before they must face the most impossible choice of their lives? (from Goodreads). 

Rating: ★

Having heard great things about One, and knowing it has won a number of awards, I was expecting something heartbreaking about this book. I was disappointed this book wasn't quite as raw as promised, nor as engaging. 

Grace is the voice of our book, and I have to say I didn't really engage much with her. I didn't really engage with anyone, actually. The book moved far too quickly from each moment that could have really forged a connection between book and reader, so I didn't feel like I knew anyone the way you should at the end of a book. 

The style of the book is different, to say the least. Told in what I would describe as short poems, it's a strange style. I can appreciate the novelty of it, as I don't think I've read a book written this way, but I didn't like it. It was probably due to this aspect the book moved so quickly. 

What I didn't like was that the book was solely focused on Grace and Tippi. I understand they're the main characters, but there is an array of other characters who could have been fleshed out better. But again, the story moved too quickly and too aloofly for the rest of the family to have their moment, even though there was so much going on with them; their sister Dragon's anorexia, their dad's alcoholism and their mum losing her job. Each of these problems that could have rounded out the book to encompass the family dynamic were brushed over in a few sentences here and there, because Grace's infatuation with Jon from her school. I would have liked to have read more about Dragon - she had a lot of potential to add another layer to Grace and Tippi, to show how they interacted as siblings. 

The ending was expected and yet unexpected. The topic of the book, the ominous tone of the blurb, tells you something is going to go badly wrong. All through the book Grace reminds us that everyone says they shouldn't have survived this long. But what does happen is just over so fast, and the explanation is just a bit empty. It did make me cry but it was very abrupt. Had the prose been traditional, I think the ending would have carried much more weight. 

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