Sixteen-year-old conjoined twins Grace and Tippi of New Jersey live together as one in One, a moving free-verse novel by Dublin-born author Sarah Crossan. It's astonishing that the two sisters live at all--they have two heads, two hearts, four arms and are joined at the hip, so they lumber along on one set of legs. They dodge some of the horror of public scrutiny through homeschooling, but when donations from well-wishers dry up, state funding dictates that their parents send them to Montclair's Hornbeacon High instead. Grace, the novel's narrator, listens to the news and nods, but Tippi shouts, "Are you kidding me? Have you both lost your minds?"
"It's going to be fabulous!" Mom says,
pretending we aren't being
thrown into a ring of lions
without a weapon,
and Dad smiles

At school, the pretty, pixie-nosed twins don't want to be "amazing," as their well-meaning helpmate Yasmeen calls them: "Normal is the Holy Grail/ and only those without it/ know its value." Fortunately, Yasmeen soon befriends them, as does Jon, who makes Grace's pulse quicken with his texts, tattoos and nut-brown eyes. The story deepens when it's discovered that Grace's heart is failing... and she and Tippi grimly navigate the impossible decisions they are forced to make. The clear, spare free verse breathes air into the story of the sisters' starkly intractable struggles.

One is an exploration of intimacy. Crossan's examination of the daily reality of being physically attached to someone else gives readers another way to look at what it means to be human, to love, and to share a life. --Karin Snelson, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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