Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
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In a powerful and daring debut novel, Sonya Mukherjee shares the story of sisters Clara and Hailey, conjoined twins who are learning what it means to be truly extraordinary.
Seventeen-year-old conjoined twins Clara and Hailey have lived in the same small town their entire lives—no one stares at them anymore. But there are cracks in their quiet existence, and they’re slowly becoming more apparent. Clara and Hailey are at a crossroads. Clara wants to stay close to home, avoid all attention, and study the night sky. Hailey wants to travel the world, learn from great artists, and dance with mysterious boys. As high school graduation approaches, each twin must untangle her dreams from her sister’s, and figure out what it means to be her own person.
Told in alternating perspectives, this unconventional coming-of-age tale shows how dreams can break your heart—but the love between sisters can mend it.
Top 10 Books & Videos About Real Conjoined Twins
One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal, by Alice Domurat Dreger
Dreger discusses the lives of many real conjoined twins throughout history, how they were viewed by the public and by doctors, and most importantly, how they talked about their own lives. The book is psychological, philosophical, and practical, with important ideas about what it means to be normal and what it means to live a good life.
Daisy and Violet Hilton were conjoined at the lower back, and they were popular vaudeville performers in the early twentieth century. In this biography’s telling, they were controlled by abusive managers during childhood and adolescence, but as adults, they took control of their careers—and, yes, their love affairs.
Abigail and Brittany Hensel – The Twins Who Share a Body
Abigail and Brittany Hensel are dicephalic twins – joined side by side, and essentially sharing one body – and this documentary was made when they were in high school. They do a great job conveying just how normal their lives are and how capable they are.
Millie-Christine: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Joanne Martell
Millie and Christine McCoy were pygopagus twins, joined back to back. They were born into slavery in the nineteenth century, and they traveled widely as stage performers. They said that they viewed themselves as one person, and they sometimes used the name Millie-Christine to convey their unity.
Bound by Flesh
This documentary about Daisy and Violet Hilton covers much of the same territory as the biography above, but adds some in-person interviews with people who knew the twins or wrote about them, as well as visuals from their performances.
The Lives of Chang and Eng: Siam’s Twins in Nineteenth-Century America by Joseph Andrew Orser
Chang and Eng were famous conjoined twins from Siam (now known as Thailand), and so they gave rise to the term “Siamese twins.” They eventually settled in North Carolina and married two sisters, with whom they had several children.
Abby and Brittany, Joined for Life, Episode 5
This TLC series followed up with Abby and Brittany Hensel when they were about to graduate from college. Their capability, fearlessness, and essential normalcy are emphasized throughout the show. As a viewer, you really get the sense that these are happy young women, and also that being conjoined is an essential part of who they are.
When Hearts Conjoin by Erin Marie Herrin
Herrin gave birth to conjoined twins in 2002, and they were successfully separated in 2006. Her memoir lets you into the difficult and often frightening experience of being a mother to young conjoined twins, whose health was initially uncertain.
Story time with my bff Heather, by Carmen and Lupita
Carmen and Lupita are teenaged conjoined twins who have their own YouTube channel, where they talk about their lives. Any of these videos will give you a sense of them as very normal teenage girls, but I especially like the energy in this one.
Conjoined Twins: An Historical, Biological and Ethical Issues Encyclopedia by Christine Quigley
This covers all kinds of facts and issues about conjoined twins of the past and present.
About the Author
I grew up in California’s Gold Country, where I spent a lot of time sitting in trees, reading books and writing stories in my head. Now I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I spend a lot of time sitting in coffee shops, reading books and writing stories on my laptop. I like to play board games with my husband and kids, watch the kids’ soccer games, and scare them with my terrible dancing.