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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Medical facts about conjoined twins and historical information on the lives of famous conjoined twins. Saint Catherine of Siena and Plato discussed. Two characters love to read, including the books The Grapes of Wrath, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Orlando, Jane Eyre, and Ulysses. Other cultural touchstones include the painting "Friendship" by Pablo Picasso, the ballets Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet, the films of Alfred Hitchcock, and various New York City landmarks. The book is written in free verse, so readers will get a good dose of storytelling through poetry.
What some people might consider a tragedy, such as being conjoined twins, can end up being a beautiful, unique thing. Sometimes you have to make a difficult choice if it's the best thing for all involved. Embrace what makes you different, rather than trying to be like everyone else. Be a compassionate person.
Positive Role Models
Tippi and Grace often put the feelings of other people first. They deal with their medical condition well, without a lot of self-pity. They are kind, considerate, and loving to their friends and family. Their sister Dragon is compassionate and helpful toward Grace and Tippi. The girls' parents are dealing with a lot of serious issues, but they do their best to care for their kids, and one gets some much-needed help. Jon and Yasmeen are caring, nonjudgmental friends to the twins. Friend Caroline puts the girls' mental and physical health above documenting their lives.
Violence & Scariness
There's a risky surgery, not described graphically.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
French kissing, cuddling.
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Infrequent use of profanity: "a--hole," "s--t" and its variations, "f--k" and its variations, "hell," "piss," "God," "bastard," "bulls--t," and "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult character is an alcoholic and shown drinking and drunk several times. Teens smoke cigarettes and get drunk on beer, cider, and hard alcohol on a few occasions. Teens skip class to drink and smoke. Teens stay out all night drinking and eating hash brownies. A teen drinks a beer in a car on a road trip.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sarah Crossan's One is an arresting free-verse novel about seven months in the lives of conjoined twins Tippi and Grace. The girls have been homeschooled their whole lives, but a family financial crisis means they need to start attending a high school. The twins are not depicted as freaks or played for shock value. In fact, they're smart, compassionate, interesting characters, facing many troubles other teens do, with the added complication of being conjoined twins. Teens smoke cigarettes and drink on a few occasions and eat hash brownies once. Two characters kiss and cuddle, but that's about it for sex. Profanity is infrequent (includes "s--t" and its variations, "f--k" and its variations, and "a--hole"). The free-verse style is accessible and could excite readers about storytelling though poetry.
Is It Any Good?
This lyrical, moving story of conjoined twins is told in free verse and packs a surprising emotional punch. The storytelling style adds to rather than detracts from the plot and character development. Tippi and Grace take on typical teen issues, but these issues are magnified because of their medical condition. Author Sarah Crossan successfully strikes a balance between keeping the story light when needed and not veering too far into pathos and melodrama when the story takes more serious turns. Sometimes the twins' problems are amusing; for example, Tippi likes coffee and Grace doesn't, but she still has to deal with the buzz. Other concerns that are serious enough for regular teens are harder on them, such as dating, making choices about drinking and smoking, and making some important medical decisions.
They also grapple with a fair bit of guilt over their family's money troubles, their parents' problems, and their younger sister often getting ignored. Their feelings about these problems are deep and often heartrending. This could have been a cloying or shock-driven novel, but it's not. Tippi and Grace are wonderfully developed, engaging characters, and none of the other characters is one-dimensional. The free-verse approach lets the story flow and adds detail in a beautiful way, offering up snippets that speak volumes.
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Our Editors Recommend
Books with Characters Who Have Physical Disabilities or Chronic Illnesses
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