I read Apple and Rain, my first novel by Sarah Crossan, last year. It was then that I discovered she had a knack for beautiful contemporary writing. I was particularly excited about reading One, although I wasn’t prepared for how amazing it actually was. I may have been a little apprehensive had I known that it was written in free verse, but it would have been a tragedy if I decided not to read it. Although One is written as a collection of short poems, you can read it either as poetry or as a standard novel, with each poem acting as a new chapter. This is how I read it. I found myself going back to certain passages and re-reading them because they were so poignant.
But let me start from the beginning. One is the wonderful story of sixteen-year-old twins, Grace and Tippi. They’re best friends as well as sisters – and they’re conjoined. As if life isn’t difficult enough, they must leave their sheltered homeschooled world and step into a school full of curious students and constant stares and whispers. It is difficult not to become emotionally invested in the twins as soon as we meet them; we want to protect them from everyone else. And yet it’s a joy to see them make new friends – especially fellow students Yasmeen and Jon – and discover who they are, not just as twins, but as individual girls.
One only takes a few hours to read and in that time you’ll come to know both Grace and Tippi well – and watch them as they make the most difficult decision of their lives. But they don’t just have each other to think about because their younger sister Dragon has her own struggles, too. Sarah Crossan’s intense story is relatable and heartbreaking. It is elevated by her sensational writing, where every word is carefully considered and owns its place on the page. It’s like nothing you’ve ever read before.
One is a wonderfully moving and breathtaking story of love, identity and sisterhood – this is one young adult contemporary novel you need to read this year!
Published: 26th August 2015 (UK) 15th September 2015 (US)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (UK) Greenwillow Books (US)