Deeply affecting story of conjoined twins Grace and Tippy, told through Grace’s point of view in beautifully constructed free verse. No poet I – but the short lines and poetical layout, worked perfectly to emphasize and clarify. No excessive metaphor or flowery over-writing, quite the opposite. This is a sensitive, empathetic and deeply insightful portrait of two young women joined since birth; and though Grace can be often irritated by the incessant company of her more outspoken, tempestuous, even bitchy twin, ultimately she cannot imagine life alone. The unthinking cruelty of others – such as people who think it’s okay just to film them on the subway, like exhibits without personhood or dignity – is much outweighed by the two unexpected friends the twins make when going to school for the first time. Jon and Yasmeen are also both outcasts in their own way, for different reasons, but the friendship they offer is honest and judgment-free. Grace falls in love, knowing very well that this is the one thing Tippy and she had determined they could never do. Their story is for a while one of unexpected happiness, despite the financial difficulties at home caused by their huge medical insurance and father’s unemployment, amongst other problems.
But then, having beaten the odds against their survival since they were two years old, Grace and Tippy catch the flu, with terrible repercussions and an impossible decision follows.
This is a profoundly emotional and powerful read, but also one which genuinely challenges our beliefs about ourselves. Would I be a Yasmeen, or the embarrassed girl by the lockers trying not to get too close and accidentally touch? Would I have seen Grace and Tippy truly, as individuals with individual identities – or as scarily freakish and people to avoid? It is a real achievement to allow us to see the world as Grace, a gentle, beautiful, sensitive and deeply loving person, who happens to be also a conjoined twin.
Great writing, and a book which needs to be read.
What Works And Why?
We read to escape, enjoy, engage, and find out more about our world. So reading is great - but what makes a great read? A page dedicated to short analyses of how writers engage readers.