The story starts in a town called Hornbeacon, where they are conjoined twins. Their names are Tippi and Grace. They have been conjoined all their lives, but their lives are always on the line because of their conjoinment. "...it's all the wondering about our bodies that bother us. Tippi and I are of the ischiopagus tripus variety. We have two heads, two hearts, two sets of lungs and kidneys. We have four arms as well, and a pair of fully functioning legs now that the vestigal leg has be docked like a shows dog's tail. Our intestines begin apart then merge. And below that we are one."(8-9)
Because their parents can't pay for homeschooling, they have to go to a school for the first time as juniors. They go to Hornbeacon High School. At the school they meet Yasmeen and Jon, who later become good friends of theirs. But they never went to school because they are conjoined. Many people are either mean or in awe when they see them. "We are literally joined at the hip-united in blood and bone. And this is why we never went to school...But now there's no getting out of it; we are going to school." (4)
Hornbeacon High School
During school as Grace and Tippi are walking to French, Tippi falls. Previously, Grace had fallen a couple times and they have both become out of breath more easily. Their directer of their show sees this happen because she is making a documentary on them and recording their lives. They head to the hospital where they hear grave news. "Tippi who collapses, hitting the gravel hard and I spill right on top of her. Caroline gasps and Paul drops the camera which cracks against the ground. I wait a few seconds. I wait for Tippi's eyes to open... But those words do not come."(250)
I can't find her pulse. Why can't I feel her bloody heart beating? ...Someone call an ambulance.
Before starting high school the girls had the flu, which later caused them many problems. They learn from the doctors that they only have a few months to live. They could have a chance to live if they were separated. They are now faced with this impossible decision of being separated. "I suspect it was the flu that did it. A viral infection is often to blame for cardiomyopathy. It's just terrible luck that Grace's heart reacted as it did...Left alone as it is, they'll both die."(262-2630) "...Our decision, and what might be the last few months of our lives."(275)
Left as it is they'll both die.
Give me numbers, I want to know what happens if we do nothing.
Grace and Tippi decide to be separated; even though, there are high risks of either of them surviving. The night before, they spend the night hugging each other because they know that this could be the last time they see each other. They go into the room where their surgery is taking place. Before the surgery starts, Grace and Tippi say that they will see each other soon. Doctor Derrick says that he will do his best to keep them together. " We are nudged onto the operating table like meat onto a chopping block...I squeeze Tippi's hand and she rolls her head to the side to look at me squarely. "See you soon, sister," she says."(357)