Thursday, 13 August 2015

Review: One by Sarah Crossan

Publication Date: August 27th 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Length: 448 pages

Huge thanks to Netgalley & Bloomsbury for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins.
And their lives are about to change.
No longer able to afford home-schooling, 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?

Sometimes a book comes along that is so incredibly written with such a beautiful story contained within its pages, that it is almost impossible to write a review that does more than say ‘read this, you must read this’. ‘One’ is one of those books.

It’s written in free-verse, an art that I have never seen used so well and to such great effect. Crossan is a master of the simplistic prose, writing a tale that is pared down to the very bare bones. It is raw, it is eloquent and it is beautiful – unencumbered by the usual padding and backstory. She allows the story to breathe, allows the emotion and elegant prose to do all the hard work and it pays off beautifully.

The writing is lyrical, sure and resolute with a crisp precision that is utterly captivating to read. Crossan captures the feelings and emotions, the humanity and characters with a handful of words and spins an utterly engrossing story filled with love, beauty, desperation and heartbreak.

I was sucked into Grace’s head, her narrative, her hopes and dreams and fears. She was such an engaging character and I loved seeing the world through her eyes. The picture she paints of life with Tippi is fascinating. It is both extraordinary and completely ordinary. It is everything she has ever known and so different to how almost all readers will live, and yet she makes it accessible. Her thoughts and feelings are easy to relate to. She helps us to understand and to see both her and Tippi as individuals as well as a unit.

This is a gorgeous book. I cannot recommend it enough. Fans of Sarah’s other works will know what an extraordinarily beautiful story they will find within the pages, and for those who haven’t yet picked up one of her books, start with ‘One’. Let Grace inside your head to tell her story. It’s one of love and joy, sadness and grief, and above all else, hope.

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