Carnegie Longlist 2016 · Carnegie Nominations 2016 · Carnegie Shortlist 2016

One by Sarah Crossan

I was initially drawn to the lovely cover of this book, but was quickly disappointed when I opened it and discovered …

… poetry.  I put it to the side and read something else.  For reasons I no longer can remember, I picked it up again weeks later and read the first page, and then the first chapter.  I was captivated.

Apple and Rain showcased Crossan’s insight into family relationships and One also perfectly illustrates the complexity of the family unit.  Crossan’s writing beautifully highlights the conflicting emotions that are common within parental and sibling relationships; tension, hostility, fragility, resentment, duty, responsibility, reliance, tolerance, belonging, affection and love, both conditional and unconditional.

One is the story of teenager Grace.  It is in many ways is a typical coming of age story.  We follow Grace, and twin sister Tippi, as they experience starting school, making friends, struggling with serious illness, coping with dysfunctional family members and falling in love.  What sets this book apart from so many others is the beautiful portrayal of the twins’ relationship.  Their love for each other feels so powerful and intense – an unbreakable bond, they are inseparable.  Aren’t they?

I have found this review difficult to write as I wanted to give One the justice that it deserves.  I find poetry hard to access so I decided to read this book simply as a story.  An incredible, heart wrenching story, I would definitely include it in my top ten of fiction books.   One is my winner of this years shortlist.


Review by Lucy

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