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 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.
Told in alternating perspectives, this unconventional coming-of-age tale shows how dreams can break your heart—but the love between sisters can mend it.
ABOUT SONYA MUKHERJEE:
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.
3 Finished Copies of GEMINI (US Only)
Read below for an author interview with Sonya:
YA Reads – Q&A
Can you tell us about your debut, Gemini, in 45 words or less?
Gemini is the story of conjoined twin sisters who have always happily shared their lives, despite having contrasting personalities, interests, and dreams. But as high school graduation approaches, their separate desires for the future—and for romance—begin to drive a wedge between them.
What was your favorite scene to write?
Probably the final scene of the book. I wrote several different versions of it as I revised the novel, and a lot of important elements kept changing, but the final paragraphs always stayed the same. I always knew that part felt exactly right to me. And in the version of the scene that I ended up keeping, I had a lot of fun bringing back some elements from earlier in the book, and sort of turning them on their heads a little bit.
It’s a standalone.
What theme song would you give Gemini?
It kind of has a secret theme song that might be a little bit of a spoiler to mention. I think people who have read the book will know what I mean. But my backup theme song is “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons. I like to deliberately misinterpret the lyrics a little bit, so I can hear them as a kind of dialogue between the two sisters.
How difficult was it to write this story in alternating perspectives?
It was definitely a challenge! Hailey and Clara are very different from each other in some obvious ways, but as I worked to make their voices and perspectives distinct, I realized how much they also have in common. It’s hard not to when you share both identical genes and a virtually identical set of experiences. It took some time to get that balance right.
What do you want readers to take away from Gemini?
I really hope that people enjoy reading this book and feel some connection with the characters. Beyond that, I feel like what each person takes away from a book, or doesn’t, is so personal. I guess I feel like my job is just to put the story out there, and let the readers decide what they want to take from it.
Are you working on anything else?
I’m working on a YA novel about a girl who lives in a partially secluded place, with a small group of people who have a very unusual belief system. When things start to go wrong, she’s eventually forced to grapple with the possibility that everything she believes in might be wrong.
What has been your most favorite part of being a 2016 debut author?
Sharing the experience with other writers! Whoever thought of creating debut groups for new authors deserves some kind of prize, because I can’t imagine how different this experience would be without that supportive community. Also, because I want to read a lot of debut books, I’ve been reading a greater variety of YA fiction than I typically would. That’s been really fun.
What 2016 debut are you most looking forward to (or have you loved the most if it’s already released)?
I’ve seriously read such a wide variety of amazing debuts, it would be impossible to pick a favorite. One that I’m especially looking forward to, which I haven’t read yet, is Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh. The book’s description sounds absolutely haunting, the cover alone is enough to give me chills, and I’ve been hearing incredible things about it from friends.
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