Author: Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Publication date: 27 August 2015
Genre: YA Contemporary
Written in free verse, One is like nothing I’ve ever read before. It tells the story of sixteen-year-old Tippi and Grace, who are Ischiopagus Tripus conjoined twins. This means that they have two heads, two hearts, two sets of lungs and kidneys, and four arms, but are one from the waist down.
One provides an enlightening insight into what it means to live your life never alone, always alongside your twin. It is well-researched and I loved how it highlighted that, for many conjoined twins, separation is not something they would ever want to consider. They can live full and happy lives – showing that separation at a young age isn’t always the best option, especially when it may put their lives at risk. We see Tippi and Grace move from being homeschooled to joining a local school, where they make friends and discover who they are in this new context – not just as twins, but as individuals too.
At the same time, the book gives a realistic view of the associated health problems and risks, the financial pressures of constant psychological and medical care, the reactions others have to the twins (from “why don’t you go back to the zoo?” to “being a Siamese twin must be The Worst Thing Ever”), and the effect it can have on the rest of the family.
Winning both the Carnegie Medal and the YA Book Prize in 2016, this book is well worth your time. Towards the end of the book, as they come to make their biggest life decision yet, I realised how invested I had become in Tippi and Grace’s story and their future. It left me stunned and emotional, and Sarah Crossan’s incredibly effective writing will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend it.