I devoured Sonya Mukherjee's debut, GEMINI, in an afternoon--it's a compulsively readable book that made me laugh, made me cry, and ultimately, made me glad to live in a beautiful, complicated world full of possibilities.
The story follows the dual POVs of Clara and Hailey--twins who share almost everything but their own interior world, thanks to a posterior conjoinment. Their shared lower nervous system means they can even feel through the other's legs. Despite their closeness, the twins are distinct: Clara is quiet and reserved, saving her enthusiasm for her close friends and the stars she loves (and her secret, impossible dream of seeing the earth from space). Hailey is blunter, with an in-your-face style of vivid clothes, heavy make-up and pink hair. The twins have been raised in a small, close community where their conjoined state is no longer a wonder--everyone knows them. And they've mostly been happy, until the arrival of a new boy serves to disrupt their world and make them question all the things they thought they wanted.
There were so many things I loved about this story. First, I loved the sensitive portrayal of the twins: the book made the challenges of conjoinment clear, but it also presented some of the beauties of it, like a life where you are never lonely because someone you love is always by your side. Clara and Hailey were each so distinct, but lovable in their own way. Sometimes dual POVs suffer from one overpowering voice, but these were so perfectly balanced, trading off insights and pivotal moments and emotional highlights. The story consistently surprised me, alternating moments of transcendence with moments of tragedy in a way that felt very real.
A definite must-read--not only for the subject matter, but because Mukherjee has a gift for creating characters and a story that will stay with you long after you've closed the book.