One by Sarah Crossan

Challenge 39 ~ “A previous suggestion that did not make it into the list.”

(A book with a number in the title.)


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Crossan’s works have appeared several times on the Carnegie shortlist, both as verse and prose, yet I feel this the most deserving to date. There are certain medical anomalies, diseases and illnesses that are regularly explored in fiction (cancer, for example), and those that are not. Personally this is the first about conjoined twins I have come across, and it was well dealt with. One explores a whole variety of basic everyday issues and larger circumstances (such as romance), whilst continuing to portray a realistic few months in a teenager’s life.

It is clear throughout the novel that the topic is well-researched, and Crossan handles it sensitively, yet realistically. Although the novel is presented from the perspective of just one of the twins, the other’s opinions, actions and thoughts are portrayed well through the verse, and this single-voice allows the reader a deeper engagement with a twin’s individual experience.

What kept this novel, for me, from being a five-star read, was the brevity. Being written in verse, I found that many of the issues were only covered quickly and lightly, leaving much to the reader to research outside of the novel. Whilst I have nothing against verse novels, especially Crossan’s verse, I don’t feel this was the right format for the novel – Apple and Rain proves that in prose she is an equally talented author, and with such a complex and publically-unknown topic to explore, verse just didn’t provide the adequate depth.

Nevertheless, One is a well-written and thought-provoking read that explores a largely unfamiliar topic for most. Told through verse, the novel provides a strong personal perspective on adolescence and life at large for a teenaged conjoined twin, from romance to school to health complications. Not the strongest contender for this year’s Carnegie award, but certainly not the weakest, either. A great, thought-provoking read.

Recommended for fans of:

  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  • Red Sky in the Morning by Elizabeth Laird

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