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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.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published July 26, 2016

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About the author

Sonya Mukherjee

1 book113 followers
I grew up in California’s Gold Country, where I spent a lot of time sitting in trees, reading books and writing stories in my head. Now I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I spend a lot of time sitting in coffee shops, reading books and writing stories on my laptop. I like to play board games with my husband and kids, watch the kids' soccer games, and scare them with my terrible dancing.

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5 stars
255 (20%)
4 stars
440 (34%)
3 stars
407 (32%)
2 stars
128 (10%)
1 star
36 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 265 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,945 reviews292k followers
August 1, 2016
He was Cute with a capital C. Cute in a sweet-looking, gangly, 97-percent-grown-but-still-3-percent-boy kind of way, with deep blue eyes like the sky before sunset, when it’s just about to throw itself open and let in the stars.

This was not what I'd hoped for. Despite featuring rarely-seen characters and subjects, Gemini manages to feel all too familiar. If you're looking to read a thoughtful, moving book about conjoined twins with distinct personalities, try One by Sarah Crossan. Because Gemini is not that book.

If, however, you want to see what crushes on boys, art ambitions and girl chats look like through the eyes of conjoined twins - this is the book for you. Unfortunately, I’ve read this story a million times and the unique perspective of conjoined twins did not breathe new life into it like I’d hoped it would.

I'm surprised to see so many high ratings and starred reviews. If you take out the conjoined twins aspect, this is an average, tropey high school drama. Add the twins back in and you have the average, tropey high school drama with two perspectives that sound exactly the same. It really wasn't even about conjoined twins - it was cute boys, checklist diversity and two small town girls living in a lonely world.

When the book does broach the subject of the girls being conjoined, it's through the eyes of their overbearing mother, who watches documentaries and reads books about separation to prove that it is not the best way - the subject felt lacking in personal or emotional depth, instead feeling merely didactic when it did step into the spotlight.

Gemini starts slow and, to be honest, it was quite boring. Clara and Hailey somehow have fairly average, uninspiring lives of going to school, crushing on boys, chatting with their friends, and having hopes and fears for the future. The sisters' “voices” sounded identical - a big NO in a book about conjoined twins. We were told the ways in which they were different, but never shown it. I had to look for names to remember whose chapter we were on.

As I mentioned, there's a high school full of tropes. The usual, undeveloped cliques, a Sadie Hawkins dance, the standard trampy girl, and a cute new boy. All the secondary characters were flat, characterized by their diversity alone. And I can still see no point whatsoever to Max's character. He's introduced like he has an important part to play and then kind of fades out of the story.

A pretty cover and the intriguing promise of "conjoined twins" will undoubtedly lure many readers into Gemini, but this book does not break any new ground. The too neat and overly sweet ending just solidified my disappointment.

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Profile Image for Laurie Flynn.
Author 9 books1,066 followers
February 16, 2016
I was gripped the instant I heard the premise for this book. As someone with a sister, I know how difficult it is to put words to the special bond siblings share when they’re incredibly close. I’m talking emotional closeness, mental closeness, the kind where you can practically read each other’s minds and show up to an event dressed the same by accident. But in GEMINI, Sonya Mukherjee tackles all of this and so much more. Because the main characters in her book, Hailey and Clara, aren’t just sisters—they’re twins, and they’re conjoined at the base of their spinal columns.

Hailey and Clara are in their senior year of high school in tiny Bear Pass, where they don’t have to endure too many stares because everyone knows them. Their parents expect them to attend Sutter College nearby, the same school at which both parents teach, for more reasons than free tuition. The adjustment from high school to college will be hard enough for the girls to handle—the idea of going elsewhere is out of the question.

Or so everybody thinks. Even Hailey and Clara think this, at the beginning of the story. They have managed to live without much scrutiny or ridicule, and they have friends who care about them. But is that really the definition of living, or are they closing doors on opportunities because people think they can’t thrive outside of their small town?

Despite the fact that they’re conjoined, Hailey and Clara are wildly different. Hailey is an artist who dreams of learning at a real art school and traveling the world, savoring new experiences. Clara’s dreams are, in a way, even bigger—an astronomy buff, she knows just about everything about the stars and planets and doesn’t as much want to travel everywhere as travel somewhere the most distant and unattainable of all—outer space, where she could see what Earth looks like.

I found the dichotomy between the sisters to be so powerful, and the exploration of limitations here—both physical and emotional—is brilliant and insightful. Hailey and Clara have to figure out how much of what they’re not doing is because they can’t, and how much is because they haven’t yet found a way to make it happen. Are they limiting each other, or can they find a way to work together and forge a new path? At times, Hailey and Clara think of dreams as a dangerous thing, because they’ll only lead to inevitable disappointment. But dreams are also what ignites a whole realm of excitement and possibility within each girl. Dreams give strength, which comes in different sizes. Strength to ask a boy to the dance. Strength to consider other schools and other life experiences. Dancing. Kissing. Living in dorm rooms.

Clara wants to know what Earth looks like from another planet. She wants a new perspective. In this book, told in alternating POVs, we get two unique perspectives, and two new voices in Young Adult literature that are bound to imprint on readers.

Sonya Mukherjee’s writing is insanely beautiful and profound. She raises so many questions in such a sensitive, nuanced way. This is, unquestionably, a story that the world needs, and I’m so happy that the world will soon receive it.
758 reviews2,350 followers
Shelved as 'd-n-f'
December 8, 2016
Yeah, this ain't working out.

I just can't finish this book. I'm not feeling anything and I'm not really grasping the whole idea of the conjoined twins.

It's a DNF.
Profile Image for Jay G.
1,207 reviews465 followers
September 24, 2017
Want to see more bookish things from me ?Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

VIDEO REVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhzuJ...

*Thank you to Sonya for sending me a copy of her book to review!!*

Hailey and Clara are 17 year old conjoined twins. They're very different from each other. Clara is more reserved and loves the stars. She dreams of one day going into space. Hailey is more outspoken, with pink hair, who dreams of art school. They've spent their whole lives in a tiny town called Bear Pass, where they've been told their whole lives that they are normal, that they will grow up and go to the nearby college together. They've never considered life where they weren't conjoined, until a boy named Max comes to town and they begin to wonder what it would be like not to be connected.

This was on my most anticipated reads list when it first came out so I was beyond excited when I was offered a copy to read! I knew right from the first few chapters that I was going to love this book!

I really enjoyed both Hailey and Clara as characters. The story is told in dual perspective between the twins and I found it interesting to hear from both of their minds. I really liked seeing how each twin viewed and thought in each situation they were faced with. It was interesting to see how typical problems that teenagers face were almost doubled under their circumstances. They're both very unique from each other but still understood the other completely. I found both twins to be very relateable and loved reading about their decisions and how they came to them. The relationship between Clara and Hailey was really heartwarming and I loved reading about them.

The secondary characters were also a great addition to the story. The twins parents were both really well-developed characters. Although I wanted to hate the mom, you couldn't help but sympathize with her. Obviously, you want to protect your children from harm so it is not surprising that she acts the way she does, although overbearing most of the time. Dad was amazing, I loved how supportive of the girls he was, wanting them to try new things and explore the world around them.

The topics, such as bullying, friendship and family, explored in the book are really well done and I think that it will help a lot of young reader going through the same things that the twins are during the time of their lives. I love the overall message of self-acceptance and following your dreams, even when there may be some obstacles in your way. The writing style flowed so nicely and was incredibly easy to read. The plot and concepts were intriguing and kept me interested through out the entire book. The book is an extremely quick read and I recommend it if you're looking for something cute and heart warming while still getting you to think about some interesting topics!
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,115 reviews1,010 followers
July 21, 2016
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight
True story, conjoined twins are something I enjoy reading about a lot. There are such a finite number of people on earth who can ever understand what it is like sharing a body with another human being, and I find it incredibly impressive when authors manage to get into this headspace. Obviously I can't say for sure, but Sonya's portrayal of both girls felt incredibly authentic.

I really enjoyed both Clara and Hailey as characters. Sure, they were sisters and had stuff in common, but they were also definitely their own people- in a realistic way. They were, aside from being conjoined, teenaged girls who faced a lot of the same decisions and apprehensions that every other teen faces. Yes, their struggles were amplified by the fact that they shared one body. But the heart of the story was really all about two young women trying to find their places in the world, making plans for their futures, and the apprehension and worry that often accompanies it.

Clearly, this is a very character driven book, but the girls are so relatable that it works well. We get to see the girls' hopes and dreams, their relationships with each other as well as friends, family, and yes, even some boys. And while the town they've spent their whole lives in is completely used to their presence (there's no awkward gawking or anything- nor is there really any special treatment, which I thought was pretty awesome), the author makes it clear that the whole world doesn't react the same way.

My only minor qualm would probably be that I may have wanted a bit more from the ending? It wasn't bad by any means- I just think that I was expecting a few more tugs at my heartstrings. Maybe I am just a masochist, I don't know.

Bottom Line: I adored this story, and cared deeply for both Clara and Hailey. While I certainly can't relate to being a conjoined twin, I can absolutely relate to them trying to figure out who they were and what they wanted to be in life, and it was a lovely journey to take!
Profile Image for Morris.
964 reviews160 followers
August 17, 2016
Actual rating: 3 1/5 stars

“Gemini” is a groundbreaking ya novel about conjoined twins. It was an interesting read that took me beyond my preconceived notions.

Clara and Hailey are conjoined but as different as two people can be. One is an artist and one is an astronomy genius. Told in alternating viewpoints, it highlights how differently they think and see their situation. Topics such as relationships and bullying are tackled, as well as the more mundane tasks in life that are more difficult for them, such as the act of sitting down. One of my favorite aspects of the characters was that they were unapologetically presented as capable of being assholes at times. Too many people think disabled people can’t be like that. The angel phenomenon was nice to see broken.

I will say that the story seemed more suited to upper middle graders than older teens. There is very little objectionable material and some of the situations can be ridiculous. The ending is a good example of that. That being said, it is still a fun read.

I can recommend “Gemini” to those looking for books about uncommon disabilities, somewhat light reads, and older middle graders.

This honest review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Profile Image for Jenn Bishop.
Author 5 books214 followers
March 21, 2016
Shy Clara yearns to see what Earth looks like from outer space. Pink-haired in-your-face Hailey wants to further explore her artistic side. But the two sisters face limitations that none (or very, very few) of this book's readers ever will. They're conjoined twins. Their parents made careful choices early in their lives, before either of them could make them for themselves--not electing to perform surgery that could have significantly lessened their quality of life, moving to middle of nowhere Bear Pass, CA, where the media was less likely to ever intrude -- but now in their senior year, Hailey and Clara are facing their future head-on.

Looming college applications, a cute new boy in town, and a Sadie Hawkins dance start to bring up questions the girls never had, and yearnings they'd ignored or suppressed -- yearnings that only become more powerful, more palpable. Their connection to each other is strong, but is it enough to sustain a life--a full life?

As I read Mukherjee's captivating debut novel, I quickly realized I had to reframe my expectations. After a few pages in, I realized I had *no idea* what it would mean to be a conjoined twin. And admittedly, I found my mind running through the logistics-- all of which Mukherjee covers in the first person POV. Simply put, I can't imagine forgetting these characters anytime soon. The questions they grapple with are timeless questions that all teens face, except in this case, they are magnified a thousand fold. A most impressive, gripping story about sisterhood and life-altering decisions.
Profile Image for Emily Mead.
569 reviews
August 23, 2016
I mean it was okay. Nothing on ONE by Sarah Crossan.

But Hailey and Clara felt very similar in terms of voice - I struggled keeping up with whose POV it was. And it was not exactly an exciting plot. Just didn't feel very much connection to the story or the characters (ESPECIALLY the mum who was over-the-top controlling - like not in a protective way but in an awful, hurtful way).

Disappointed TBH but I still did like the ending.
Profile Image for Moon Stream.
167 reviews67 followers
April 14, 2022
Bu kitabı oxuyana qədər varlıqlarını bildiyim halda heç vaxtı yapışıq əkizlərin əslində həyatda nə kimi çətinliklərlə qarşılaşa biləcəklərinə dair dərin bir şəkildə düşünməmişdim. İndiyə kimi bizə göstərilənlər onların həyatla necə barışıq olması, bir-birlərini necə sevmələri və birlikdə hər şeyə rəğmən xoşbəxt həyat yaşadıqları ilə əlaqədar idi.

Lakin bu kitabdan sonra, hətta ordakı obrazlar real olmasa belə onların nələr düşünə və hiss edə biləcəklərinə dair mənə bir çox şey demiş oldu.Onların da nə vaxtsa bir gənc, bir yetişkin olacaqları və ayrılıqda özlərinə dair xəyalları ola biləcəklərini xatırlatdı əsər mənə. Lakin bitişik olduqlarından bu xəyalları ayrı-ayrı həysta keçirmək onlar üçün az qala imkansız olur. Digər tərəfdən birini sevib, onunla birlikdə olmaq düşüncəsi belə imkansız görünür.

Kitabı oxuyarkən görəsən bu qədər şeyin öhdəsindən necə gələcəklər, bütün bunlar sonda hara bağlanacaq deyə düşünürdüm, qızların ayrılıqda yaşamaq istədiyi o qədər şey var ikən, bütün bunları necə aşacaqlar? Sonuna dair tam əmin ola bilmədiyim halda sonu əslində məni elə də şok etmədi. Başqa cür bir son da ola bilərdi, amma bəlkə də ən yaxşısı budur deyə hiss edirəm.

Əkizlərlə birlikdə onların ailələrinin yaşadığı çətinliklər, fədakarlıq da insana təsir edir. Bir çox valideyn uşaqları bu və ya digər şəkildə sağlam doğulsa belə onlar üçün çox şeyləri fəda edirlər. Məncə ən doğrusu, bir yerdə onların da övladlarının özlərindən ayrılaraq fərd olmağına icazə verməsi və daha sonra da yalnız öz həyatlarını yaşamağa baxmaqları olar.

Məncə yazar əkizləri olduqca səmimi və hərəsini öz dilindən anlatmağı çox gözəl bacarıb. Qarşımda real insanlar dururmuş kimi hiss edirdim. Clara nisbətən daha çəkingən, təmkinli, məntiqli, eyni zamanda aqressiv bir obraz ikən, Hailey daha çox duyğuları ilə hərəkət edən, daha pozitiv və sözü üzə deyən biridir. Bacıların bir-birlərinin tam ziddi olmalarına baxmayaraq aralarındakı o bağ hər şeydən güclü olduğundan, bir yerdə bir-birlərini çox yaxşı anlayır və digərinə uyum sağlayırlar.

Məncə, bacıların emosiya və düşüncələri olduqca yaxşı çatdırılmışdı və zaman-zaman duyğulandığım, hətta bəzən gülümsəyərək, ya da gülərək oxuduğum yerləri oldu kitabın. Amma bəzi səhnələrin məni çox hiddətləndirdiyini də deməliyəm. İnsanların bəzən nə qədər acımasız ola biləcəklərini unuduram sanki. Kitabın bir yeri var idi ki, o qismi oxuduqdan sonra şok içində qalmışdım və doğrudanmı insanlar belə şeylər düşünə bilirlər deyə qəzəblənmişdim.

Son olaraq, olduqca yaxşı gənclik romanı və bitişik əkizlərin həyatına dair uğurlu bir hekayə olduğunu deməliyəm. Sevərək oxudum, daha yaxşı ola biləcək qisimləri var idimi? Bəli, lakin yenə də oxumağa dəyər əsərdir deyə düşünürəm. Bu aralar yaxşı gənclik romanları aclığı çəkirəm və bu kitab məni olduqca qane etdi👌🏻❤️📚

"Sırf çok iyi göründüğü için, içinin de aşırı iyi olması gerektiğini farz ederek bunu hayal etmiştim. Gördüğünüz gibi türümüzün eğilimi böyle. Görünüş ve kişilik arasındakı farkı az çok ayırt edebiliyoruz ama yalnızca az çok. Doğrusunu bildiğimizde bile, ikisini kafamızda her zaman karıştırıyoruz."

"Bu korkaklık mıydı? Belki. Fakat ben bunu sadece sahip olduğuma minnet duymak olarak düşünmek istiyordum. Çünkü kopmayan sevgiyi kim istemezdi?"

"Kendimizi görme biçimimiz diğer insanların gözlerinde gördüğümüz yansımadan değil, içimizden gelmeliydi."
Profile Image for Karen Fortunati.
Author 1 book103 followers
May 9, 2016
The relationship of two sisters who are conjoined twins is the heart of this beautiful debut by Sonya Mukherjee. High school is hard enough - navigating academic demands, college/career decisions, relationship and friend drama and the independence that growing older achieves. But all that is complicated tenfold by the physical tethering of sisters Clara and Hailey to each other. Mukherjee's characters are rich and nuanced and completely individual. I especially loved the family dynamic and how the parents were portrayed. This is a moving, sensitive and uplifting story that examines the emotional and physical ties that bind and the expectations, whether self-imposed or placed by others, that constrain. A unique story told with grace and humor!
Profile Image for Sarah Glenn Marsh.
Author 19 books768 followers
July 3, 2016

This book had me hooked from page 1, even though I don't normally read contemporaries; a big reason for that was the sheer level of emotion, the connection I felt with the book's two main characters/narrators, Clara and Hailey. Even though I don't share their circumstances, Sonya Mukherjee makes it easy to empathize with both girls through her stellar writing. Each girl's POV is distinct and important. Even the side characters in this book are fully realized and have back stories that lend them depth--you won't find any stock characters here.

This isn't just a favorite read of 2016, but a favorite read, period. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone!!!
Profile Image for Amirah I..
116 reviews31 followers
Want to read
March 5, 2016
Marking this as "to-read" just bc I'm a gemini lol
Profile Image for Parker Peevyhouse.
Author 3 books168 followers
February 27, 2016
Totally engrossing--I couldn't stop reading. The storyline mostly involves conjoined twins Hailey and Clara figuring out what to do when they graduate from high school. They've spent their whole lives in a tiny town where everyone knows them, but they both have big dreams (art school, astronomy) that would take them into the larger world, where people aren't always kind to them. They're both also having their first romantic experiences--a really complicated thing to maneuver when you can't exactly be alone with the boy you like.

I was fascinated not only by the complications Clara and Hailey had to work through as conjoined twins, but also with each girl's exploration of her sense of identity. Clara is trying to decide if she wants to keep embracing the comfort of small-town life or if she should try new experiences. And Hailey is considering whether she has the possibility of becoming a true artist or if she's just a poseur. Add to that the considerations each girl must make for the other, and you have a lot of interesting questions to work through. How will each help the other achieve her goals? What kind of compromises should they make for each other? And all of the practical details: How will they find transportation and a big enough dorm room for them to sleep in, and how will they have time to earn school credits for two different majors? Really, these characters are facing the same challenges all teens face, but they have a lot of extra things to take into consideration.

The most interesting aspect of the book are the romantic relationships. The book did a great job of exploring everything Clara and Hailey had to take into consideration while dating. Just as the two girls were figuring out how to date, so were the boys they dated. Sometimes their relationships were simple--they hung out at parties and talked about their shared interests. And sometimes they were complicated... but I'll let you discover that on your own.

I really liked both Hailey and Clara, and I found myself rooting for them and hurting for them with all the ups and downs of the plot. I can't imagine that any reader won't be fully engaged with this book!
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,286 reviews216 followers
August 2, 2016
Grade: D

One Word: disappointing

Conjoined twins Hailey and Clara enter their senior year of school and for the first time, begin thinking about their independence, dating and perhaps even separation, much to the chagrin of thrift overprotective mother.

Who isn't fascinated by conjoined twins and how they live their lives? GEMINI is a glimpse into two lives. Sonya Mukherjee did her homework researching the experiences she brought to life in Hailey and Clara. The down side was that GEMINI contained too much telling and not enough showing in what felt like info dumps.

The voices of the twins were indistinguishable, and I often forgot whose POV I was reading. I suppose one could call GEMINI a coming of age story, it was definitely character and not plot driven. Not much happened and at times I was bored. I didn't feel immersed in Hailey and Clara's lives and couldn't connect with their feelings. The ending was just plain corny and felt more like a Disney movie than reality.

I really wanted to enjoy GEMINI, but I can't think of a reason to recommend.
Profile Image for Rahul Kanakia.
Author 30 books194 followers
June 8, 2019
I tore through the book this morning after getting it on my Kindle a week ago. From the very beginning I was hooked by the voice of the book: it's really fresh and down-to-earth. These are two girls who are exceptional in their situation, but they're still just like anybody else: raised in a small town in California, they have their own unique (and individual) dreams and desires.

Where the book shone, I think, was in the depiction of the town. It didn't go for the easy hooks and the easy plot points. There weren't mean girls and soul-crushing embarrassment. The characters didn't feel by-the-numbers, and the conflict felt like it arose from their individual desires and circumstances. And, in the end, there weren't easy answers, especially when it came to romance, but there was also plenty of hope, which is exactly, I think, why you read a book like this: in order to experience faith in other people and hope for our futures.
Profile Image for tracy thai.
138 reviews26 followers
December 8, 2016
(Ah! I hadn't been posting my reviews on here for so long! Sorry, sorry!)

This book was honestly really cute. And interesting. And really mind-blowing because how couldn't there be more books about this topic? I had this copy for a few weeks now, and I've been on this huge book hangover for some strange reason. But the moment I picked up this book, I was literally addicted. It was really good! I have no other words to describe it cause the topic, the situation, in this book is pretty hard to try to imagine. I never even realize situations like this book happens in real life, and just reading this book seems to just expand my view. Who knew? I know creating a child with two heads/body is incredibly rare, and I always believed the whole thing is false, but it's actually true!

This book is incredible! Yes, there are some things that sorta caught me off throughout this book. But that BOND between the two main characters are just...
Profile Image for Rachel Reeves.
354 reviews6 followers
July 23, 2016
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

As a mother of teenage twin girls, I was very intrigued by the premise of this book. Thinking about how different my girls are, how they don't always get along so well, how they have such different passions, etc., made me curious to read this story about conjoined twin girls. I came in with many questions about their relationship and how life worked for them day in and day out, and Mukherjee did an amazing job of writing a story that answered all of those questions and did so beautifully. With any set of twins, it is often rare for people to see them as individuals; they're "the twins". I imagine with conjoined twins that is so much more the case because they physically seem to be a single unit to people. Clara and Hailey are written as two distinctive personalities, with separate hopes and dreams, unique strengths and passions, etc. Mukherjee gave each girl a voice her own and allows readers to get to know each of the girls as an individual. This book is so beautifully written and appears to be very well-researched. This is very unique coming of age story and one that I highly recommend. I look forward to reading more from this talented author.
Profile Image for Kat Helgeson.
Author 5 books38 followers
April 24, 2016
Oh. Oh. Oh wow.

To begin with, a book about conjoined twin sisters was not something I expected to see this year. Even when I picked up GEMINI, I was thinking, okay, it's probably about stargazing! So wow. Amazed me right out of the gate.

What impressed me even more was the way Mukherjee constantly made me feel like I was reading a story about two sisters. Which, of course, is exactly what I was reading. But the fact of being conjoined was so natural and so everyday for protagonists Clara and Hailey that, even though it came up on almost every page, most of the time it was very practical. The girls navigate everyday situations and, for the most part, new situations, with the same blend of ease and insecurity that a lot of teenage girls might feel. It's really really good, guys.

At the end of the book, Hailey and Clara are forced to make some big decisions about the future, and while I won't give anything away, I will say that Mukherjee doesn't pull any punches here. I think it was handled absolutely perfectly.

I recommend this book to everyone with a sister, and really, everyone else too. Five stars.
Profile Image for Janet McNally.
Author 8 books144 followers
May 27, 2016
This is a beautiful book that is written with both deep empathy and great imagination. I love sister stories, but I've never read one like this before, because no matter what Hailey and Clara do, they can't have separate lives. Their sisterly bond is physical instead of emotional, and the story that follows feels utterly real but also absolutely surprising. It's such a fresh take on the teenage desire for identity, and the language is gorgeous. We get to hear from both sisters, and their voices are so well-developed that I always knew which one I was reading, even if I set the book down and picked it up again. There are no easy fixes in Hailey and Clara's world, though there's a lot of hope and love. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Adriana Mather.
Author 6 books2,328 followers
April 6, 2016
Humor, drama, and beautiful writing!

The two protagonists, Hailey and Clara, in GEMINI are both clever and hilariously funny girls! They are also conjoined twins. This makes this coming of age story especially poignant. Mukherjee has done an amazing job addressing issues like dating, future hopes and dreams, and privacy in the face of the constant presence of another person, even if that other person is a beloved twin.

This book was gripping. And it asked all of the hard questions. Bravo!
Profile Image for mad mags.
1,107 reviews81 followers
May 6, 2016
Two Paws Up!

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Edelweiss. This review contains minor/vague spoilers!)

When I was younger, if I couldn’t sleep, I would mentally trace the stars of the Gemini constellation. Dad had taught us to find it when we were as young as six or seven, keeping us up late on certain clear winter nights, when Gemini would be easiest to spot. He didn’t know that much about constellations, but for some reason he needed us to memorize every part of those glittering, dazzling twins, so close to each other that they formed a single constellation. So we would bundle up in sweaters and jackets and follow him outside with our kid-size astronomy books and the star maps that he’d printed out. We would find Orion or the Big Dipper and use them to trace our way over to the bright stars Castor and Pollux, and from there we’d find the rest of Gemini.

For Dad it was all about the timeless beauty of those twins and their love for each other, which was more important to them than life itself. He couldn’t have known how for me it would be just the starting point to falling in love with all the stars. [...]

But at some point I started worrying about Gemini, the celestial twins. Were they glad to spend billions of years together in the sky, always on display, or would they rather wander apart and explore?


“You keep saying ‘we,’” Clara said sharply. “You know, you don’t always have to speak in the first person plural. Some of us have to. But you don’t.”


“Don’t you ever want to be free of me?” I asked. There was a long silence, filled with nothing but the sounds of our almost-synchronized breathing. Almost synchronized, but not quite. “I want to be free,” she said finally. “But not free of you.”


Seventeen-year-old Clara and Hailey are conjoined twins: pygopagus, like Violet and Daisy Hilton, who were also joined at the back. (Or, more accurately, the butt.) They have completely separate upper halves, as well as two pairs of legs and feet, but share the lower half of a spinal column. When Clara kicks an oversharing Hailey in the shin, she feels the pain too.

In many ways, Clara and Hailey are like any other high school girls. Raised in Bear Pass - a tiny rural town in the California mountains - Hailey longs to travel the world. She wants to gaze out on Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower; spend hours contemplating art at the Louvre; and show her paintings at big city galleries. She wants more than her tiny little hometown can possibly give her. As lovely as it may be, who is Hailey to judge when she's nothing to compare it to?

The more anxiety-prone of the two, Clara finds the familiarity and security of Bear Pass more comforting than stifling. She's accepted her mother's plan for her life: four years at nearby Sutter College, where Dad's tenured professorship will score the twins free tuition. Yet the closest Sutter comes to meeting her academic interests is environmental sciences - a far cry from physics and astronomy - and their film program isn't exactly a great match for Hailey's painting, either. And every now and again, as she gazes up at the stars, Clara also feels the pull of the universe, so wide and vast. The arrival of Max, the capital-C-Cute new guy from LA, doesn't exactly help either.

With graduation barreling down on them, which path will Clara and Hailey choose? And in the meantime, who on earth will they ask to the Sadie Hawkins dance?

Gemini is a coming-of-age story that's both all too familiar - and also quite unique. It's about first loves and the pain of rejection; leaving the nest (or being pushed out) to find your way in a sometimes cruel and uncaring world; being comfortable with who you are and finding a few special people who like you for you, too.

Though the stakes are raised for Clara and Hailey - whose disability rests at the nexus of extremely rare + and very visible, and thus okay to gawk at - I think we're all meant to see a little of ourselves in them: a point underscored by the presence of Max, a stutterer who did a three-year stint in "special ed." back in LA; Alek, who is rumored to have murdered his parents (but who really lost his dad to cancer); and Dan, a bright guy who has little interest in school thanks to his ADHD.

Of course, it probably goes without saying that I'm not a conjoined twin; nor do I struggle with a physical disability, visible or otherwise. So I'm hardly an authority on this, grain of salt, etc. That said, Mukherjee's depiction of Clara and Hailey is simply lovely: compassionate, nuanced, and insightful. The author imbues each girl with her own unique voice; I never had trouble telling the narrators apart, not once. (The chapters alternate between Clara and Hailey's POVs.) Mukherjee navigates sensitive issues with grace and ease, providing a window into Clara and Hailey's day-to-day life without becoming one of those looky loos that Mom's always stressing over.

Additionally, Mukherjee populates her 'verse with complex, multi-layered characters; I pretty much loved everyone, or at least found them interesting. I'm relieved that she didn't reduce Lindsey to a Mean Girl stereotype - though, I'll admit, I had trouble coming around after viewing her for so long through the twins' eyes. Hailey's potential love interest, Alek, is intriguing enough on his own, yet I did appreciate the juxtaposition of Alek with Max. Both boys have so much in common, but also not. (I think you can guess who I prefer!)

Mom and Dad, though. They nearly stole the show for me.

Liza is like a double-headed Hydra, where one half is competing for the title BEST MOM EVER! and the other's in the running for WORST MOM OF THE YEAR! From the time Clara and Hailey were born, their parents - but mom especially - rearranged their lives around their daughters. They gave up more lucrative teaching jobs to move to Bear Pass, a town small and isolated enough that everyone could get to know Clara and Hailey - and, hopefully, come to think of them as just two more girls. Liza shuttled them to childhood physical therapy appointments; arranged play dates and Q&A sessions; and met with teachers and administrators to ensure that their needs would be met. She's their chauffeur, their cook, their seamstress, their secretary, their interior designer. Liza's done everything in her power to ensure that her girls live "normal" lives.

Yet in her determination to be "normal," Liza consistently steamrolls over Clara and Hailey's feelings; dismisses their wants and desires; and denies their agency and budding independence. The whole Sutter College thing is a perfect example of this. Liza arranged their attendance long ago - probably even before either girl had any idea what she might want to study in college. Now Mom refuses to revisit these plans, even though it's clear that the college isn't a good fit, academically speaking, for either girl. Next to "everything is normal," "we decided" is Liza's favorite mantra - never mind that she made these decisions for her daughters unilaterally.

Dad, on the other hand. DAD. I love this guy. I think he's way underrated - at least by Hailey, who interprets his quiet, laid-back demeanor as going along with whatever Mom says. But where Hailey sees a pushover, I see a guy who's picking his battles and playing the long game: encouraging his daughters to try new things as opposed to pushing them into uncomfortable situations. It's a tightrope, and Dad traverses it beautifully.

My absolutely favorite Dad moment is after the Sadie Hawkins dance, on the ride home:

"Someone had a good time,” was all he’d said, but it had been there in his tone, and in his quiet smile. He had known that we’d had more than just an ordinary good time. He had probably known that it had to do with me, and with Alek. And he’d been happy about it. He’d smiled to himself the whole way home.

Whereas Mom forbade Hailey to go to the dance with "that boy" - who she dismissed on the basis of one meeting - Dad's actually happy that they hooked up. A dad who's comfortable with his daughter's sexuality: do you realize how rare and subversive this is? In a culture rife with jokes about fathers threatening their daughters' dates with physical violence, and real-world expectations that it's up to Dad to protect his "little girl's" virtue? Honestly, I can count the number of times I've seen a Sex Positive Dad in literature on one hand. Right this moment, only one recent example comes to mind: Sigrud and his (adult) daughter Signe, from Robert Jackson Bennett's fantasy novel, City of Blades .

The ending is pretty great too. Normally I find choreographed high school dance sequences realistic to the degree of hell no!, but this one? I could kind of sort of see it!

(On that note, I wonder whether anyone sent a copy of this book to Lady Gaga? I bet she'd love it. How could she not?)

The story begins softly, almost like a whisper - but by the end I was sobbing into a family-sized bag of potato chips. It's hopeful and (tentatively) happy, but not unbelievably so.

So yes, definitely give Gemini a try, whether contemporary/"issues" YA is your bag or not. There's so much to love here, starting (but not ending) with Clara and Hailey. Clara, whose talk of the stars captured my heart; and Hailey, whose pink dagger hair damn near severed it.

Read it with: Sarah Crossan's One - but preferably after, as a slightly bubblier chaser.

P.S. Hailey, if you were real I'd totally buy you a Kindle.

Unfortunately, Hailey loved the observatory about as much as I loved art class. And at the observatory it was too dark for her to bring a book.

Yes, this part made me giggle as I read and highlighted it on my e-reader.

Profile Image for Ashley.
1,356 reviews31 followers
September 20, 2016
3.5 stars, but I'll round up because it was cute. I mean, it was your typical teen book about high school and what happens after, boys, friends, and not really knowing your place in the universe. Just this book happened to be about conjoined twins, which was neat, but I did kind of have a hard time picturing how they looked. I even Googled to see how they'd be joined, but it didn't help my imagination. Also, I found both Clara and Hailey's voices and characteristics to be identical, so it was a little hard to follow along - I often got confused as to who's chapter I was reading.

But this book was still cute, I liked the girls, I liked their friends and their dad, and I liked the boys. I wish the book were longer, because I'd like to read more about the girls!
Profile Image for Rosalyn Eves.
Author 9 books648 followers
March 27, 2016
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, who finds expression through her art. 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.
Profile Image for Naaz.
293 reviews9 followers
February 16, 2018
2.5 stars


- Representation of conjoined twins. I don't think I've read a book with conjoined twins as the main characters and I thought that it was great that this was represented in fiction. I can't say how accurate the representation was, as I have no personal experience with this, but just the fact that it was represented was awesome in my book.


- The characters. Unfortunately, I found nearly every single character unlikeable, especially Hailey and the twins' mother. Far from dislike, I think the mum's controlling behaviour was downright damaging at certain bits. Meanwhile, Hailey and Clara at times used their disability as an excuse to be nasty to other people, especially this girl called Lindsey (I think) who they were horrible to for six whole years for pretty much no reason at all. The only character who was mildly okay was the twins' father and he wasn't around for much of the book anyway.

- The writing. I thought that the writing and dialogue was really weak in parts. The story was repetitive as well as the conversations that Hailey and Clara had with each other. I understand that they were struggling with this one main problem that they were facing but after a certain point, I kept feeling like I'd already read certain passages before even though I hadn't.

- The plot. I thought this book may have worked better as a short story or even a novella rather than a full-blown book, simply because there wasn't enough of a plot line to keep my interest piqued for the duration of the book. It took me a long time to get through this, simply because I hardly ever felt like picking it back up. It felt as though the story had been unnecessarily stretched just to make it longer and I really feel that it would have been a lot stronger if it were to be much shorter than it is.
320 reviews42 followers
August 3, 2016
Wow, I've never read anything like this before.

I honestly want to reach through the pages and give both twins a huge hug, and high five. And then reach through the internet and hug the author.

Because this book got it. It got what it's like to be a teen, for everyone you meet to feel awkward around you. It got how people value you for the story of struggle you apparently bring, rather than your abilities. In short, it got what my life was like as a teen, and in many ways still is.

“Yes,” I said, exasperated, “I suppose I would be interested in meeting someone like that.”

Judith cocked her head to one side and narrowed her eyes at me.

“Of course,” I added, “I probably wouldn’t even ask them about their uncommon struggles, unless they were the ones to bring it up, because they would probably be so sick of talking about it, they would be like, ‘Oh please, can we just talk about anything else? I would rather talk about the molecular structure of table salt than talk any more about my uncommon struggles.’”

Judith’s mouth was open now. And not just a little bit.

Clara held her face in her hands.

“I mean,” I clarified—briefly deluding myself that this was a gesture toward politeness—“that’s how I imagine that person would feel. I have no way of actually knowing.”

I could see what I was doing, how I was trashing this interview, throwing it away and stomping all over it, but I couldn’t bring myself to care. I’d had so little hope of really coming for the summer anyway. And now I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. If they wanted me this badly, and if the reason they wanted me was not so they could teach me about art but so I could teach others about courage and leadership, then what was the point?

All of this, so, so much.
Profile Image for Heather Meloche.
Author 1 book60 followers
March 11, 2016
Hailey and Clara are conjoined twins, attached at the lower spine. Historically, people like them have been turned into circus acts or freak shows, and these girls, who in every other way are normal teenagers in their senior year, have to overcome all the fear, curiosity, and disgust that surrounds them. I think one of the best things I can say about Sonya Mukherjee's amazing work is that often, I forgot the characters were conjoined twins. The author dragged me right into Clara and Hailey's heads as they discussed liking boys and thinking of college, and then, over and over, it felt like a shock when I was reminded how they shared blood, body parts, and could never be in a different place without the other. This book beautifully explores what it means to be an individual, and for these girls, who contemplate the possibly deadly choice to surgically separate, the novel questions the most important things about being human -- marriage, having children, selfish pursuits vs. sacrificing for others -- and how these aspects of the human experience differ for those who are born single and those who are conjoined.
Profile Image for Jamie.
98 reviews
June 24, 2019
Minor spoilers in the first paragraph, skip that if you want to.

I am a little disappointed... everything in this book was leading up to the surgery to split (unconjoin...?) Clara and Hailey, but then they never had the surgery. And I know that it’s dangerous, and it’s probably best they didn’t, and this probably makes me seem like a horrible person, but I was looking forward to the surgery the most. It just added some spice and some risk to the story, and then it never happened. It also says in the blurb something about the surgery possibly being the best thing for them, making it seem like that’s what the book was about. And sure, they discussed it for a few chapters, but that doesn’t make it all that important to me.

Apart from that, this book was your classic boy drama and thick-headed girl high school book. It was alright, as the fact that the main characters are conjoined twins made it different to other books like that, but it nothing really special. If you want a good book about conjoined twins, read One by Sarah Crossan. I highly recommend that book.
Profile Image for Terri Robinette.
163 reviews16 followers
April 10, 2016
I began this book with trepidation. The challenges the two sisters faced were beyond my comprehension. Their love for each other exuded off the pages. Each wanting the best for the other. Yet, how could that be accomplished when one would not exist without the other? One wanting to fade into the background, "be normal", stay at home, fall in love and study the stars. The other wanting to embrace everything life had to offer, to @#$ with "normal", live in a large city, fall in love and become an artist. The best for each other clashed with the best for the other. I fell in love with these two rich, vibrant and alive characters. Their challenges, their heartbreaks, their budding romance, their relationship with each other... it grabbed my attention and would not allow me to put the book down until I hit the end with soft tears rolling down my face.
Profile Image for Kathleen Glasgow.
Author 13 books5,500 followers
April 19, 2016
Gemini is a touching, sweet, and ultimately heartfelt story of sisters, love, and realizing maybe the best place for you is right where you are--with family. Hailey and Clara are smart, funny, creative, thoughtful--and conjoined twins. Mukherjee does a bang-up job describing the day to day rituals that make up being physically tethered to your sister--their lives are difficult, but caring parents have made things easy and stable. I loved that the POV switches from sister to sister--this gave the story a beautiful gravity. Add in some high school romantic tension, dreams of the future, and normal teenage angst and you have a great book about growing up and feeling comfortable in your own body.
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