Edition: Hardcover, 448 pages
Published by: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Genre: Children’s, Disability, Family, Fiction, Poetry, Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Completed: 18th June 2016
Grace and Tippi don’t like being stared and sneered at, but they’re used to it. They’re conjoined twins – united in blood and bone.
What they want is to be looked at in turn, like they truly are two people. They want real friends. And what about love?
But a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead for Tippi and Grace. One that could change their lives more than they ever asked for…
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?
One tells a unique story about conjoined twins, Grace and Tippy. They have both have a pair of arms, hearts and lungs but they are joined at the waist, thus only having one body – so the coordination seems like a big mystery. The story begins with Grace and Tippy’s parents struggling to afford home schooling fees because their dad has been laid off. As a result, they are forced to attend an actual public school for the first time.
I’ve never read a book that’s written in free verse before, so this was definitely a unique way of storytelling through Grace’s eyes. I wasn’t so sure about the writing style before I got into reading it but I gradually found myself flying through the pages and being quite invested in the twin’s emotional story. It is essentially a collection of beautiful short poems.
The story follows Grace and Tippy’s everyday lives, the difficulties of being scrutinised by strangers in public, but it also shows them making great friends for the first time and also having their first crush. I liked that this book wasn’t all perfect, like most YA tends to be. The twins have problems of their own such as their laid-off alcoholic dad, their parents struggling to keep up with the on-going bills, whilst their little sister Dragon who is a ballerina but also an anorexic.
This book is clearly very well researched and I felt like it did open my eyes to the lives of conjoined twins that I’m not fully aware of. I could tell that it was written with such sensitivity and compassion; every word and sentence was chosen with care.
The only problem with free verse is the writing isn’t as detailed as a normal full-page text book would be. It creates a kind of distance and barrier from the reader, as we don’t get to know Grace and Tippy that well, so it’s a little harder to connect with them. I’ve always appreciated how authors write the hospital stuff but given the writing style, it’s not as detailed as it could have been. However, as I enjoy the story so much, the writing style makes it work.
From reading the reviews, I already predicted what would happen in the end. Once you realise where the story is heading, you’ll kind of anticipate what will be the outcome of the story. I would say that it is predictable.
As well as winning the Carnegie Medal, the YA Book Prize and many other awards, One is definite the one (no pun intended) to read if you’re interested in reading more diverse YA. The cover of One is also very eye-catching and stunning. Highly recommend!
4 stars out of 5