Monday, 20 June 2016

'One' book with the heart of two: 'One' book review

'One' by Sarah Crossan
Review by Christopher Moore


Grace and Tippi are twins - conjoined twins. And their lives are about to change. No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world - a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love? But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined...From Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, 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? Winner of The CILIP Carnegie Medal in 2016.


The first book I ever read by Sarah Crossan was Apple and Rain. Apple and Rain stuck to me like glue so I knew One was a winner from the start. I love that it’s written in verse; firstly, because it is beautiful and the poetic nature adds layers of meaning to the little complexities of Tippi’s and Grace’s stories and secondly, because this style and the white space makes it easier for those with reading difficulties to enjoy.

It’s hard to say what my favourite part of this book was. Let’s start with the cover and remark on how beautiful the new jacket is. Tippi and Grace – there’s too much to say. They are beautiful human beings. The meaning behind their names, their passion and support for each other is emotional in small gestures and in key scenes, heart-shattering.
My favourite character though, is probably Dragon. I love how she supports her sisters. She never complains that their parents’ attention is focused on them. She doesn’t protest when she is denied the opportunity to travel to Russia and dance. The scene where she helps Tippi and Grace climb a tree was probably one of my favourites. I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone.

Crossan infuses other issues into the story to create a multi-faceted narrative that ticks all my boxes and ones I never even knew existed. Alcoholism, financial constraint, family, friendship, love; One has it all but none of this overshadows Tippi’s and Grace’s incredible bond. The panoramic scenes are as short as a few words and as long as six pages but this episodic scenes knit together to create the seamless, over-arching story. I don’t know how to sum up how I feel articulately because One has left me feeling rather emotional, grasping at oxygen atoms like they might somehow lend me the words I need to describe what is a story that draws tears, induces laughter and brings an eye-crinkling smile that touches your eyes.

Sarah Crossan’s One is sadder than:
  • Titanic
  • My Dog Skip (this movie devastated me as a child)
  • Marley & Me (beginning to see a trend?)
  • Stay by the Shakespeare Sisters
  • Paris Hilton’s attempts at a pop career
But it was like: 
  • Your first kiss that fizzles through your body and sends hundreds of fireworks firing off in your head
  • That rush of adrenaline you get right before a big race
  • The feeling you get when someone smiles at you and it makes you smile from the inside out
  • The feeling you get when you see tragedy on the news and while you send out prayers into the universe, it brings your family closer together, making you cherish every hug, kiss breath and step.
Nothing I ever say about One will ever do it justice. It’s refreshing and poignant and it touched my heart in ways I never thought possible. It very nearly brought me to tears but it made me want to reach into the book and hold Tippi and Grace so tight that I’d never let them go. It made me laugh and opened up the corners of my world to be a little kinder, a little gentler and to never be afraid to love and live who and how I want.
I can't do a giveaway for this book because between these pages is a story and each word is perfectly placed and that placement and the sheer weight of those words creates what can only be described as perfection. It would have been a grave injustice if Sarah Crossan didn't win the Carnegie Medal 2016. Congratulations, Sarah!

Rating: 5/5 Stars ★ ★ ★ ★

Christopher Moore:


Christopher is a co-founder of the YAfictionados blog and is best known as the YAblooker. He is a twenty-five year old book blogger who has previously worked in marketing and consumer insight for various publishing houses and writes in his spare time. He loves to travel and will read anything YA-related and some general fiction and fantasy.

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