“The Girls ” by Lori Lansens
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
Meet Rose and Ruby: sisters, best friends, confidantes, and conjoined twins.
Since their birth, Rose and Ruby Darlen have been known simply as “the girls.” They make friends, fall in love, have jobs, love their parents, and follow their dreams. But the Darlens are special. Now nearing their 30th birthday, they are history’s oldest craniopagus twins, joined at the head by a spot the size of a bread plate.
When Rose, the bookish sister, sets out to write her autobiography, it inevitably becomes the story of her short but extraordinary life with Ruby, the beautiful one. From their awkward first steps–Ruby’s arm curled around Rose’s neck, her foreshortened legs wrapped around Rose’s hips–to the friendships they gradually build for themselves in the small town of Leaford, this is the profoundly affecting chronicle of an incomparable life journey.
As Rose and Ruby’s story builds to an unforgettable conclusion, Lansens aims at the heart of human experience–the hardship of loss and struggles for independence, and the fundamental joy of simply living a life. This is a breathtaking novel, one that no reader will soon forget, a heartrending story of love between sisters.
The story itself is sweet. Rose tells the reader everything about her life: how her aunt and uncle (who raised them) met to the fact that she will likely die soon because of a brain aneurysm. Over the course of the book, I felt like I really got to know Rose and Ruby because of how much of their life I knew (even the horrible things that they don’t talk about with other people). Ruby pipes in with her perspective on some of what Rose is talking about and some things she remembers from growing up.
The story telling is all over the place and isn’t in chronological order. It’s a bit difficult to keep a timeline of the story straight. One of my biggest pet peeves about the book was how one sister would drop a bombshell on the reader because she thought the other sister had already mentioned the issue and then they wouldn’t speak of the issue again or they would bring it up pages later. SO annoying!!
If I had been better in science I might have gone on to study medicine. Since I’m not strong in sciences and yet still love medical ‘stuff’, I love watching medical shows. This book was right up my alley. I guess it’s technically more human interest than medical but it was still very interesting to read. The author did a great job of making it very clear that Ruby and Rose are two different people with two different personalities. Even ‘their’ writing styles were very different.
One interesting thing to note is I came across this book because is was on the ALA’s best books for Young Adults list so I assumed it would be a YA book. I guess it could technically be considered YA but it seemed more of an ‘adult’ book because the protagonists were adults. When I think of YA, I think of protagonists being like 12-19 years old. I really can’t think of many YA books that don’t meet that criteria.
It was a sweet story that kept me reading but it wasn’t anything that totally rocked my world. I recommend it if you’re looking for something light and a fairly quick read.