Saturday, 23 April 2016

Carnegie 2016 Shadowing: Review - One - Sarah Crossan

Spring time is here, and that means it's the season for awards, most notably the CLIP Carnegie Award, and so we commence our annual shadowing of the shortlist.

Our first Carnegie shortlist reviews is the adptly name ONE by Sarah Crossan. I’ve been a fan of Sarah Crossan’s work since I reviewed ‘The Weight of Water’ for our 2013 Carnegie coverage [to read press here]. I’m not the only one, as she made it on to the Carnegie shortlist again this year with Apple and Rain which Claire reviewed a few weeks ago [press here to read].

One of the things I love about Sarah’s work is that she tells her story through verse, initially I was concerned that it may make the novels stodgy and difficult to read but I could not be more wrong. As the poems are short they minimise description therefore getting to the action, story and emotional heart of book without long wordy passages making them easy to read.  Each poem tells an extract of the story, together building up to deliver the whole story. Using this unique form of storytelling, Sarah Crossan tackles subjects which become dark and gritty in a little and engaging way.
Sarah’s latest book, ‘One’ is told in this way, it brings you into the mind of teenager Grace, displaying her insecurities and all her teenage anxieties  as she deals with her complicated family life and her twin sister Tippi. Being sisters and twins, Grace and Tippi have a strong bond, they have all the issues any other siblings face, and a good few more besides as they are conjoined. One, shows Graces inner feelings as she and Tippi venture to school for the first time, and as her family’s situation spirals when her mum is made redundant, and with medical bills piling up her Dads drinking problem worsens, even their younger sister Dragon has to work.

Seeing her family struggle, Grace persuades Tippi to allow a journalist to make a documentary about them, but as the camera’s begin to roll Graces secret is unveiled, and her health begins to fail, jeopardising both her and Tippi’s life.

One, is a moving story, it depicts the complications that life brings being conjoined, but it also explores the themes of family, love and individuality.

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