Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on 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 livesÂ—no one stares at them anymore. But there are cracks in their quiet existence and theyÂ’re slowing 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 sisterÂ’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 heartÂ—but the love between sisters can mend it.
I’m so excited to welcome Clara and Hailey today! They are characters from one on my most anticipated 2016 releases. I’m 100% sure that once you read this interview, you will want this book just as much as I do. Clara and Hailey have such original voices and I simply can’t wait to get to know them better.
Q: Clara and Hailey, I’m so glad to have the chance to interview you today. Can you please tell me a littleÂ about yourselves? How would your sister describe you?
Clara: Hailey is creative and artistic, and sheÂ’s an optimist to the point of being delusional. She dreamsÂ about traveling the world and doesnÂ’t seem to think anything could possibly go wrong with that.
Hailey: Whereas Clara would prefer to spend her whole life at the local observatory, looking so far outÂ into the galaxy that she totally misses the whole world thatÂ’s right in front of her.
Q: I understand you both have a unique bond, can you tell us a little about that?
Clara: WeÂ’re joined at the lower back, including the base of our spinal column.
Hailey: If you touch ClaraÂ’s foot, I can feel it.
Clara: But we canÂ’t read each otherÂ’s thoughts or anything.
Hailey: Except that weÂ’re identical twins who have never spent a moment apart from each other, so ifÂ you ever felt like there was someone who you knew so well that you could guess what they wereÂ thinking? Well, youÂ’ve got nothing on us.
Clara: But thatÂ’s not to say that I can understand half of whatÂ’s going on in my sisterÂ’s crazy head.
Q: How do you deal with the lack of privacy that your situation creates?
Hailey: How do you deal with the loneliness that your situation creates?
Clara: Hailey, youÂ’re being rude.
Hailey: IÂ’m not trying to be. I know lots of people manage to get through life as singletons. ItÂ’s just hardÂ for me to imagine what that would be like. Having times when thereÂ’s no one with you. And not havingÂ anyone who shares all of your experiences. It just sounds really lonely to me.
Clara: IÂ’m honestly not sure whether Hailey is being 100 percent serious or not.
Q: What is the best and worst part about having such a close relationship with your sister?
Hailey: The best part is knowing that she really does understand me, even if she says she doesnÂ’t. AndÂ even when we fight, itÂ’s not like it can really last that long, because what are you going to do? You canÂ’tÂ even walk across the room without the other person being part of that decision. So you know youÂ’reÂ always going to have to work things out.
Clara: And the worst thing is that I can never get anything by her. Even things that I might not want toÂ admit to myself. SheÂ’ll see it, and sheÂ’ll say something.
Q: What do each of you want for your future?
Clara: IÂ’m not sure yet.
Hailey: I want to keep learning more and more about painting and other visual arts. And I think ClaraÂ wants to work for SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.
Clara: What makes you think that?
Hailey: I have my ways of reading your mind.