Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

One

Crossan, Sarah (Author)
HarperCollins 2015. 394 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9780062118752 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, figurative language, language conventions, point of view

Award

Carnegie Medal – 2016

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Tippi and Grace are 16 year-old conjoined twins who are “literally attached at the hip.” While their lives are not easy, they like being together. Initially homeschooled, the twins later attend a private school where they have their first experiences with peers. They make two close friends and together they explore the world of adolescence – drinking, staying up all night, even falling in love. But their body is failing them and they are confronted with a difficult choice that will separate them forever.

Written as a free verse novel from Grace’s point of view, the story is told in chapters that carry this captivating and moving tale to its tragic conclusion. Written with a deft hand and firmly planted in realism, this coming-of-age narrative imbues the poetic form with direct language and a believable teenage voice. In the poem entitled, “Eyes” we learn how Grace feels about being different: “Me?/It’s eyes I despise./Eyes,/eyes,/eyes/everywhere,/and the probability that I’m/another person’s nightmare.”

This well-researched volume is surprisingly accessible. When the twins go through separation surgery we are confronted with our own deepest humanity and mortality, making the unique subject matter universal. At heart, this compelling narrative is about what it means to truly love, how to live with difference and, ultimately, with loss.

  •  

    The verse novel is a modern means of delivering a series of monologues that combine elements of drama, poetry and the traditional novel. The single voice verse novel offers the viewpoint of a single, often conflicted, character. Here the voice is that of two characters, sometimes presented as one voice.

  •  

    In a small group, discuss the information Grace provides the reader about her experience and that of her sister. How does learning about Tippi through Grace’s eyes affect the reading experience?

  •  

    Use as one of a text set (for book clubs or research projects) that focuses on young adult topics and themes such as sibling relationships, adolescents with medical conditions, or tragic deaths.

  •  There are various book covers available for this verse novel. Study only one of them and write predictions about the plot, audience and main characters. Compare predictions with a partner who worked with a different cover. How do they differ and why?
  •  Scan the chapter and poem titles as far as page 348. With a partner, use the poem titles to create a story map.
  •  Stop reading at the poem, “Code Red.” Write a plot-based poem for this title, then a few more, resulting in your own version of the ending. Share your work at a slam poetry event. Now finish reading the novel. How were your endings different or similar?
  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use creativity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Personal Development