‘One’ was definitely an interesting and enlightening read. It’s about conjoined twins, Tippi and Grace and their lives. Being a twin myself, I love reading about twins, to see how authors deal with the relationship, as it’s definitely different from older-younger sibling relationships. Crossan did a great job in portraying the emotional closeness of the pair, and the strength they found in each other really shone through the novel. Before I get on with the review, I think anyone and everyone should read this, whether it’s their type of book or not, just because it’s different and eye-opening, regardless of ratings others give it!
The book is told from Grace’s perspective, who’s more demure than Tippi and a little more reserved. They had very distinct personalities, but remained similar at the same time, which is important! In reality, twins are never good or bad, sporty or girly, and I think that’s where some books or TV shows can fall down in the portrayal of twins. Think of Fred and George Weasley. They share a lot of hobbies, and that almost makes their characterisation closest to the truth.
I really loved Grace and Tippi’s friends, Yasmeen and John. They were understanding, but not in a patronising way and treated the girls with respect. A real strength of this novel of showing how hard it is to live in a world of cruelty and unwarranted nastiness, while still showing how little rays of light, in the form of friends, can make things a lot better.
A big plot point was that Grace fell in love with John, which the girls thought would never work. But, anything is possible. I guess another message of the story was overcoming obstacles, because Grace was able to love and be loved, despite her situation. And the romance was totally genuine, not because Grace and Tippi were a commodity, and John wanted to be part of it, but because he cared.
I don’t know if it was just the formatting of the ARC, but One seemed to be told in a series of non-rhyming poems, which was really beautiful. I loved the titles and the length of each, which made the book a really fast and absorbing read. It made everything a little bit more extraordinary.
I can’t really pick any faults with this book. It was just good, showing the struggles of family life and being a teenager, with non-conventional YA protagonists. But it wasn’t romanticised either. Tippi and Grace were not the stars of some reality TV program where everything ends happily. The book doesn’t end happily, and I think readers should be prepared for that. At the back of the book, Crossan cites some of the research she did, and you can tell she was really invested in writing a story about conjoined twins that was as realistic as possible.
So, to round off, I’m not going to rate this book. I know, it’s weird. But, I think it just transgresses the star rating system. It wasn’t my favourite book, so I can’t give it 4 or 5 stars, but to give it 3 does it an injustice. I recommend just reading it, and seeing for yourself how you feel about the girls’ story!