“Here we are. And we are living. Isn’t that amazing? How we manage to be at all.”
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…
I’ll admit when I first picked up this book I was sceptical. Being written entirely in free verse I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get involved enough with the story and that the style would be so alien to me that it would create a barrier between me and the characters. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I devoured this book in less then a day, I was completely sucked in to Tippi and Grace’s world to the point where when I closed the book I found myself a little bit lost for an hour or so.
Grace and Tippi are conjoined from the lower body, their upper bodies are seperate but they begin to merge at the intestines so they share a pair of legs between them. We follow the story looking through Grace’s eyes, the quieter of the two twins. We hear her desires for love and her frustrations when Tippi over eats and they both put on weight. It is like sitting in the corner of Grace’s mind, witnessing every conflict. When Grace has the flu we listen to her guilt at the sight of Tippi stuck next to her despite feeling perfectly healthy. It’s moments like this that opened my eyes to the world of Tippi and Grace.
Although there were moments where I felt sad for Tippi and Grace, Sarah Crossan skillfully stopped this story from becoming a pity party at any point. The sad moments were balanced beautifully by the characters strength, we hear so much about Tippi and Grace’s seperate dreams, seperate personalities and seperate opinions that there were moments when I forgot they shared a pair of legs.
As we follow the pair on their journey to starting school we are introduced to their two new friends Yasmeen and Jon. The outsiders of the class. Yasmeen because she’s HIV positive and Jon because he’s a scholarship kid in a private school. They show Tippi and Grace the wonders of smoking, skipping class, drinking and in Grace’s case first kisses.
This story is completely unique. Although at first the free verse may seem like a deterrent it is beautifully done, keeping it accessible while still pulling you deep into Grace’s thoughts. Sarah Crossan delves deep into the topics of life, family and mortality using two incredible but rare characters to do it.
If you’re looking for a story that helps you see the world from a different perspective and isn’t afraid of the scary emotions I thoroughly recommend One by Sarah Crossan.