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The Girls

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  20,658 ratings  ·  2,326 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 10th 2007 by Back Bay Books (first published 2005)
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Cecilia I loved Rose but Ruby could have been more developed (pun intended). I thought the ending was beautiful and the plot original. I was sorry to say good…moreI loved Rose but Ruby could have been more developed (pun intended). I thought the ending was beautiful and the plot original. I was sorry to say good bye to all of them, Aunt Lovey, Uncle Stash, Nick and even Mr. Merckel. (less)
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Monica Because it would prolong the drowning. She wanted their death to be quick.

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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  20,658 ratings  ·  2,326 reviews

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Aug 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
“I have never looked into my sisters eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to the beguiling moon. I’ve never used an airplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that. I’ve never driven a car. Or slept through the night. Never a private talk. Or a solo walk. I’ve never climbed a tree. Or faded into a crowd. So many things I’ve never done, but oh, how I’ve been loved. And, if such things were to be, I’d live a thousand lives as me, t ...more
Oct 12, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

In what has to be the best blend of heartbreaking sadness and unbelievable joy, author Lori Lansens has managed to write a novel about two girls that you will not soon forget -- if ever. After I finished THE GIRLS, I felt many emotions, but the strongest was that I had just read the story of two of my best and dearest friends. And even though I know that this story is fiction, I can't help but think that somewhere, two girls share a life that is a lot like that
Dec 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jennifer by: Erica Hernandez (her review )
Shelves: my_favorites
I love when I finish a book and it stays with me for days afterward as I continue to wonder about the characters and what may still be happening even though the story in the book has ended. This is going to be one of those books. I can't think of one negative thing to say about any aspect of this book. I loved the characters, ALL of them. I loved that the author told the story as if Rose and Ruby were writing an autobiography (I had to remind myself it was fiction numerous times).Simply an amazi ...more
Dec 06, 2009 rated it did not like it
I won't be finishing this, life is too short. A character (and someone on greads) said it best - it doesn't matter if the book is well written, it will sell because it's about conjoined twins. Yep.
This story is unique in its premise - a back and forth of two conjoined twins who have learned that they are dying - but the execution was a real disappointment. The actual complicated layers of such a situation (never being alone, never being able to fully choose for you, never being perceived as your
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medical, twins
(3.5) Believe it or not, this is the third novel I’ve now read about conjoined twins, after Chang and Eng by Darin Strauss (about the Bunkers, the original “Siamese twins”) and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Like Marion and Shiva from the latter, Rose and Ruby Darlen are craniopagus twins, joined at the head. Unlike the Stone brothers, though, they are linked by such major veins that they can never be separated. Ruby, the “parasitic” twin in old-fashioned (offensive) terminology, rests o ...more
Apr 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people
Recommended to Tortla by: John Green via his weird obsession with conjoined-twin-books
The cover reminded me vaguely of the cover of The God of Small Things (they're both pretty/artsy flowers-on-the-water things) but there's really very little that's similar about the two books, except that they're good. And they have twins in them.

The Girls is amazing. The edition I bought has a little reader's guide questions-section at the end, which I started to read because I kind of didn't want the book to end (seriously, it was really good) and one of the questions was something to the eff
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008, fiction
One of the least engaging books I have read in a very long time. I found the main characters of Rosie and Ruby to be exceptionally boring and slightly annoying. It literally felt as though I was reading someone's mundane diary, dreary boring details that may make up a good diary for the writer however do nothing for an outside reader. ...more
May 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written story of two sisters who are conjoined. They live in a small town, where everyone knows them as "The Girls". As with any other sisters, they are very different people but unlike every other set of sisters, they are often viewed as "one".

The author has done an amazing job of creating two completely seperate voices and manages to weave a haunting story based on two characters' perspectives who are literally at the same place, at the same time--always.

Rose, Ruby and their fami
May 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
I admit I was attracted to this book because it was about conjoined twins. But, the fascination quickly wore off and I was left wondering when the characters were going to come to life and become compelling beyond their conjoinment. The story never came to life for me.
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-harder-2020
The plot summaries I read of this novel made it sound really twee, heavy on the use of “heartwarming” which always irritates me. These descriptions don’t do this novel justice, particularly in terms of the thoughtful insight of Lansen’s observations of human experience. It would be easy for conjoined twins to be a gimmick, but in The Girls Ruby and Rose are the foundation for a broader exploration of human connection, othering, and social isolation in a range of forms. This story was much more b ...more
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: can-con, 2015
We've been called many things: freaks, horrors, monsters, devils, witches, retards, wonders, marvels. To most, we're a curiosity. In small-town Leaford, where we live and work, we're just “The Girls”.

Rose and Ruby Darlen are 29, and the world's oldest surviving craniopagus (conjoined at the head) twins. When an aneurysm in Rose's brain provides the sisters with a deadline, Rose decides to finally write her autobiography, and although Ruby has never been interested in writing, she is cajoled
Sharon Huether
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Girls ( Ruby and Rose). are conjoined twins. They each have their individual personalities, with their own likes and beliefs.
The book is touched with their humor and their adoptive parents who were so selfless in their love and care for the Girls.
Each chapter is filled with events in the Girls lives with parents and friends.
It was a real page turner.
What a moving book. Completely worthwhile, with characters you really love (Uncle Stash and Aunt Lovey) and wisdom and humor. Surprising and unlike anything I've read before. (And there's even a little Eastern European section that I didn't expect--hooray.)

What is it about sadness that can be so fulfilling? (p.30)

Funny how you can measure time by pets that were not even your own. (p. 40)

It was Aunt Lovey's belief that all ordinary people led extraordinary lives, but just didn't notice. (p. 102)

Marianne Perry
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I finished this astounding book a week ago and wanted to comment as to how the characters and their story have lingered. The Girls is about Rose and Ruby; twenty-nine year old craniopagus twins. Fused at the skulls with their heads facing slightly different directions, they have separate bodies. The novel chronicles their attempt to forge ordinary lives despite extraordinary circumstances. Lori Lansens excels at personifying their different personalities and their individual and collective react ...more
Mar 10, 2009 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Mary McTernan
Shelves: chocolate-club
I read this concurrently with Jane Hamilton's A Map of the World and, although they are completely different books, found the settings so powerfully similar that I kept getting the books confused. The same kids detassling corn in the summer holidays, the same orange-red carpet in the same early 19th century decrepit farmhouse, the same neighbors with tragically dead kids--it wasn't a bad thing, it was just *weird*, as though I were reading two different news stories from the same local newspaper ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was a bit slow to get into this book, but once Ruby's contributions began I was hooked! I LOVED the side-by-side descriptions from each sister about the events of their life (their often contradicting accounts were quite hilarious too). This story is one of Love, Family, and overcoming adversity and I enjoyed it so much that I can confidently say this is one of my favourite books of my life thus far! I thoroughly enjoyed Lori Lansens book "A Mountain Story" as well. Her characters are very rel ...more
Alice 🌙
4/5 ⭐️
I’ve never read anything about conjoined twins but this was fascinating! I’ve read stuff online and such, but this is definitely better.
Sarah B.
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone starved for Canlit!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Greta is Erikasbuddy
I never expected to like this book as much as I did. I thought that I'd probably get frustrated and maybe stop at 100 pages in.

MAN!! Was I wrong!!

This book was fantastic!! Read like gossip and as though it was true.

"The Girls" is written as an autobiography but it's totally fiction. A story of conjoined twins who try to live their lives in the most ordinary way as possible.

Can you imagine being attached to your sister when she gets in trouble?
When you're mad at her?
When you are trying to plan a
Elizabeth Fagin
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I found this book while browsing through my public libraries download section. I was looking for a book to try out on my new Nook (LOVE my Nook). I didn't really need a book i wanted to read - it was just a learning exercise. But this one look somewhat interesting so I gave it a try. I can only say WOW! I love love love this book. I still have about 10 pages left to read - and I am taking it really slow because I do not want it to end.

All of the characters are terrifically drawn. Lansens' descr
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rose and Ruby are twin sisters. Craniopagus sisters. This is Rose's autobiography and Ruby's by default. It is the story of their incredible lives that are so simply lived. It is the story of their aunt and uncle (again by default) that raised them, and loved them, and loved each other.
I truly enjoyed the simplicity of their stories that showed compassion, compromise, longing, hope and forgiveness.
This book. I love love loved it. It will stay with me for a long time. Such fabulous and memorable characters. Highly recommend.
Oct 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "Middlesex" fans; book clubs
Recommended to K by: TABBIEs book club
Who would have thought of writing a novel about Siamese twins?

Lori Lansens takes the unlikely premise of twin girls joined at the head and manages to create a well-written novel so believable that I never once questioned its verisimilitude (which is saying a lot for a detail-oriented cynic like me). Rose and Ruby are the world's oldest living craniopagus twins, joined at the skull. Their lives are inevitably intertwined -- they can't even go to the bathroom alone -- and yet, they are fiercely se
Ruby and Rose are identical twin girls born conjoined at the head. Their birth mother flees from them after they are born, and they are taken in by the attending nurse, Lovey and her husband, Stash, a native Slovak. The girls grow up in a small Canadian border town, and as they learn that they are dying, they decide to write their autobiography. The story spans their growing up and their life together, as well as Lovey and Stash's lives together.

I really, really enjoyed this book, it was probab
Mark Victor Young
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
A brilliant portrait of two conjoined twins penning "their" autobiography, with two such distinct yet tentative voices. The story of Rose and Ruby and their life with adoptive parents Stash and Lovey Darlen is a tale of ordinary small town life but also of this extraordinary pair of people who share a connection bordering on the mystical. Joined at the head, they share a critical vein common to both their brains which connects them in every way.

Maybe their ability to read each other's mind and
Though I hesitate to say that the content of The Girls will stay with me for years to come, the premise surely will, and that's definitely saying something. A novel about conjoined twins in Northern Ontario, writing a joint memoir—a written account of their lives, alternating voices and periods in time—knowing that their death is imminent? There's certainly a hook there.

While there are revelations along the way, both big and small, the novel has a calm composure to it. Where most books have plo
May 16, 2007 rated it liked it
This is an intriguing look at what life would be like for two people with distinct personalities living inseparable lives.

My favorite quote from the book is regarding Aunt Lovey. “It was Aunt Lovey’s belief that all ordinary people led extraordinary lives, but just didn’t notice.” Think of how profound that is! I think applies particularly well to the story of these girls. Although they had a very unusual medical condition (joined at the head from birth), Ruby and Rose led ordinary lives. They
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-author
This is a fictional account of conjoined twins written as if it was a non=fiction autobiography written by primarily Rose, with some chapters written by Rudy.

This is the second book I have read by Lori Lansens, and she is a great story teller, who makes it seem like you are being told a story by a good friend. The author did a great job of separating the two characters and letting each tell of their own experiences as individuals. Although they live a very unique life, they have the same dreams
Aug 30, 2007 rated it it was ok
This is the fictional memoir of conjoined twins. I became bored with the gimmick. Half-way through I had to toss it. I kept hearing reviewers glow about how the author had "humanized" these girls. As opposed to??? They were human, what was she supposed to do? It seemed to me that nothing of great interest happened other than the fact that they were conjoined. The prose was competent but not particularly delightful. It's a pass-time but little else. ...more
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Lori Lansens was born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, a small Canadian town with a remarkable history as a terminus on the Underground Railroad, which became the setting for her first three bestselling novels. After living in downtown Toronto most of her adult life, she moved with her family to the Santa Monica mountains near Los Angeles in 2006. A couple of years ago she relocated with her famil ...more

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