Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Gemini ~ Sonya Mukherjee (earc) review [@simonteen @sonyamukherjee]

Gemini
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
July 26, 2016
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

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.

As conjoined twins, Clara and Hailey experience life quite differently than most everyone else. Yet, in how author Sonya Mukherjee the two girls, they are two teenage girls the reader can easily identify with and relate to.

In their senior year of high school, Hailey and Clara are dealing with their friends applying ot and going away to (or not, as the case may be) college, with looking at their own future, what it holds and what they think of that. They have a mother who wants thigns just so, who does all she can to protect them and keep them safe. They've lived in the same small town, with the same people for nearly all of their lives. For a long as they can remember.

It's always been the two of them, forever together, in little Bear Pass, California and that's been good. It is good. But is it enough?

Gemini alternates between being told form Hailey's perspective and Clara's and I really loved how this was done. With them being conjoined twins, you wouldn't expect their experiences to vary much - the how, sure, but not the what - but the author really does a great job using the dual narration to its full potential. While we do still get each girl's feelings on things that happen, what people say or do, much of Hailey's chapters are about Clara and what she's experiencing and/or what Hailey thinks she feels or thinks. And the Clara's chapters give us the same for Hailey.

Especially when you realize that the two girls technically cannot see each other face to face (as they're connect at their back), this way of seeing each one, so much, through her sister's eyes is really special.

I enjoyed that these were two teenage girls, two sisters, twins, who were dealing with much of what most deal with as they near the end of high school. There were the questions of what they want from life, what htey expect, what they're willing to put up with to get it, how to make it all happen and if they even should. The added element of them being conjoined twins was something that made the story unique and made them a bit more different, yet just as that's only a part of who they were, it's only a part of Gemini.

Gemini truly is the 'unconventional coming-of-age tale' it claims to be and one that is well written and really makes full use of the alternating perspectives,







review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

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