Mukherjee, Sonya. Gemini. NY: Simon & Schuster, c2016. 324 pages.
Clara and Haley are conjoined twins. Their parents have consciously isolated themselves in a small town where they are known and while they may still have people who stare, no one is shocked by them. They are joined at the midsection and both have separate limbs and most organs except those in the abdomen. Whatever feelings occur below the waist, they can both feel. Their mother is obsessed with reading about parents who had their twins separated and one or both of them died, probably as a justification for leaving them joined in infancy.
Clara wants to stay in their town and avoid being noticed. Haley wants to leave town and explore the world. When romantic interests enter the scene, they seriously consider looking into the possibilities of being separated. In the end, they figure out how to move forward.One of the elements in the story is the emotional bullying they suffer when in junior high a classmate purposely opens the bathroom door at school and sees them trying to pee. It is a very awkward moment and one which has consequences for both the twins and the perpetrator.
Although there is dating content, it is tastefully handled and I think junior high students would find it interesting to compare how their lives would be different if they had a sibling joined to their hip 24/7.
Recommended for junior high and above.
Review by Mrs. Belknap