Review: One by Sarah Crossan

Told in short verse, One makes for compelling reading. Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins, fused at the hip. They want what all teenagers want--to be loved and accepted. In some ways, they've become used to being stared at, though they wish that people wouldn't. But most of all, this past year has brought some huge challenges their way. Their father is unemployed and has developed a serious problem with alcohol abuse. Their mother is struggling to keep up with their medical expenses. Meanwhile, their younger sister, a talented ballerina, may be developing anorexia, and she might be missing out on a great number of opportunities because of a lack of family funds. Grace and Tippi know what they need to do to help out with their family's financial situation. But do they really want to sell their story and expose their lives to the world? 

This is the first time that I have read a YA novel told totally in verse and it made for a refreshing change. The story is told from the perspective of Grace, the quieter and more introspective of the pair, who often finds herself having to go along with what Tippi wants. And now that the pair are teenagers and are attending high school (the family situation means that they are no longer able to be home schooled, and they are offered a free education at a private school,) Grace begins to fall in love for the first time, something that Tippi objects to. As the end of the novel loomed, I found myself a little bit heartbroken as they bravely went about making a heart wrenching decision. The ending was quite different to what I expected, though it was handled realistically.

It's not difficult to understand why this novel won the Carnegie Medal. It's innovative and provides insight into the lives of two young women who are both ordinary and extraordinary.

Highly recommended.


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