The shortlist for the 2016 Scottish Children’s Book Award has been announced. The awards go to books in three categories that are specific to age ranges:
Bookbug Readers (ages 3-7)
Mouse’s First Night at Moonlight School by Simon Puttock and Ali Pye
Never Tickle a Tiger by Pamela Butchart and Marc Boutavant
Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit Book Burglar by Emily MacKenzie
Younger Readers (ages 8-11)
The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird
The Mysteries of Ravenstorm Island: The Lost Children by Gillian Philip
The Nowhere Emporium by Ross Mackenzie
Older Readers (ages 12-16)
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
The Piper by Danny Weston
Trouble on Cable Street by Joan Lingard
One by Sarah Crossan (InfoSoup)
Tippi and Grace are conjoined twins. They have two arms each, but share two legs together. They have spent their childhood being homeschooled, but now the money has run out and they have to start school. It’s a private school, but still much more exposed than they have been before. The two of them literally do everything together. They go to therapy where one twin wears headphones while the other has private time with the doctor. They share dinner with one another but never desserts. Still, there are things you want to be private about, like what boys you like and how sick you are feeling. And Tippi and Grace are feeling sicker and sicker, leading to a decision that is impossible to make.
Told in verse, this novel is compellingly written entirely in Grace’s voice. She clearly tells a story of being an individual and a separate person, but also the meaning of being that close to someone your entire life. The book celebrates the closeness of these sisters and their battles with one another but also their care too. While they are unique from one another, they are also a single one being too. This will resonate with teens growing up themselves and experiencing new things away from close family.
In the end though, this is Grace’s story and it is made fascinating by the details of being conjoined and the unique way that this impacts every day life. Grace’s voice is clear and vivid. She has a specific point of view that is all about the way she lives with Tippi alongside her. Crossan embraces the necessary optimism of a conjoined twin but also offer Grace skepticism and a healthy sense of humor that gets her through the day. Crossan is also not afraid to let these two twins be teenagers, giving them opportunity to drink and smoke with the friends they make. It’s touches like that that make this book really work.
An honest and awe-inspiring look at being a conjoined twin and also a devastating decision, this book is impossible to put down. Appropriate for ages 14-16.
Reviewed from ARC received from Greenwillow Books.