Twins Clara and Hailey, 17, are as close as it gets—conjoined at the lower back, entangled internally, sharing lower body sensations—but each harbors different dreams.
Their parents, teachers at a local college, have raised and sheltered them from unwanted publicity in tiny, largely white Bear Pass, California, where the twins are expected to live out their lives. Rebel Hailey, with dyed pink hair and a butterfly tattoo (placed where Clara couldn’t feel it), dreams of art school, travel, and fellow artist Alek. Fearful Clara’s stifled her longing to study the vast universe and accepted their foreclosed future until a new student, Max, arrives to awaken new longings. Is surgical separation possible? While leavened with comfortable teen-literature tropes, this debut isn’t high-concept–fueled candy floss. The twins’ distance from “normal,” all that circumscribes their conjoined world, is ever present, and the struggle to sustain their senses of self is visceral. Profound disabilities and exceptional gifts can be two sides of a single coin. Even if the twins survive separation, the benefits and gifts attachment has given them will be lost, with no guarantee of healthy life thereafter. Readers who’ve wondered why some choose to live with a disability that might be “cured” will find plenty to ponder here. As developments in genetics reshape the medical landscape, these questions will only resonate further.
Compelling and suspenseful from Page 1; Clara and Hailey pull readers into their unique world and don’t let go. (Fiction. 13-18)