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One Two Three (2021)

by Laurie Frankel

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16821130,923 (3.97)13
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Thanks to Henry for providing this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

I won this book back in early November but didn't receive it until Feb 22. This delay built a sense of anticipation and I was looking forward to reading after a rough week at work. This novel was a good story with an interesting premise and memorable characters which moved at a leisurely pace. I gave up around page 70, then decided to pick it up again to see why it was getting such good reviews. The pace of the story picked up improving it. I felt the ending was a bit rushed, but was glad to get a glimpse of the girls' future. ( )
  gmtilotta | Nov 28, 2021 |
Really enjoyed this book. I think it is a YA book? A appreciated the three different viewpoints, one from each sister. Soon I could identify which sister was narrating just by the difference in the writing style. ( )
  benismydog | Nov 22, 2021 |
(60) Not sure how I got sucked into a rare hard cover newer release, but I did. I have read short stories by this author and really enjoyed them, so succumbed to an impulse buy. Triplet teenaged girls cope with a crisis in their small town. A chemical company has polluted their river knowingly and townspeople are born with birth defects or die premature deaths from cancer. For years the town has tried unsuccessfully to seek legal retribution from the company. Now, the company is back and the CEO has brought his wife and teenaged son (oddly named River, himself) to town to sell the re-opening. Mab, Monday, and Mirabel is the name of this odd trio - Mab is the only 'normal' girl while Monday seems to be autistic and Mirabel, physically disabled confined to a wheelchair without the ability to speak. If this sounds weird and slightly fairy-taleish, maybe YA - that's because it is.

The writing is just OK and the plotting is jejune. I think this book would appeal to a YA audience for sure, but it didn't do it for me. The charm and oddness of the girls and the town seemed a bit contrived and it was hard for me to generate any real emotion regarding the fates of the characters.

It was an easy read, mildly entertaining - so I will say that. Nothing particularly objectionable and the story moves along; keeps you guessing and reading - but I would only recommend for lovers of the YA genre and not for readers who are looking for serious or literary fiction. ( )
  jhowell | Nov 13, 2021 |
Partway through reading I stopped to look at the spine, assuring myself the library had put this book in the adult collection and not young adult. Honestly, with the excision of one already tame sex scene and a handful of paragraphs here and there, I think it would be most comfortable lodged somewhere near the Nancy Drew or Mysterious Benedict Society books in juvenile fiction.

The strictly rotating narrator structure results in a lot of repetition and spelling out of developments and themes. The ending (omitting it’s tired literary trope which is one step removed from a dream sequence) is simultaneously simplistic, over the top and pulled out of a hat. Which all works fine in a children’s book.

Regardless, I did like the characters’ voices and relationships even as their story devolved into Scooby-Doo “I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids” antics. ( )
1 vote villemezbrown | Oct 17, 2021 |
Seventeen years ago, Belsum Chemical set up shop in Bourne and turned its water green. Since then, most of Bourne’s residents have come down with or been born with health problems, including the Mitchell triplets, who refer to themselves in birth order number, which also corresponds to the number of syllables in their names. Mab, or One, is a “normal” sixteen-year-old girl. She’s on the track for high-achieving kids at school. Monday, or Two, is on the autism spectrum. When the town library closed, she took custody of the books, which are now crammed in every nook and cranny of their house. She knows the exact location of every single one though. Mirabel, or Three, has what appears to be cerebral palsy, although I don’t think it’s ever specifically stated. She is in a wheelchair and has the use of just one arm and hand. She uses a voice machine to communicate.

The triplets’ father, who worked in the chemical plant, died of cancer before they were born. Their mother Nora has been trying to get a class-action lawsuit going against Belsum ever since. Then one day, Nathan Templeton, the son of Belsum’s founder, comes to town promising a new beginning. But can he and Belsum be trusted?

One Two Three alternates between the first-person perspectives of the three girls. Each has a distinctive voice and their own fully developed personality. It’s a heavy story but there is some humor as well. Especially from Monday, who is endearing, yet frustrating in the way that overly literal people often are. Mirabel, because she has been an observer of people for her whole life, is wise beyond her years. My favorite line from her is:

“There are two kinds of people in this world: the ones who split the world into two kinds of people, and the ones who know that’s reductive and conversationally lazy.”

I enjoyed One Two Three quite a bit. I like books that are about the people in small towns or communities pulling together to help each other out, as long as they don’t get too cheesy. One Two Three certainly doesn’t. If anything, it’s a little on the darker side, but not in a bad way. This is the third book of Laurie Frankel’s that I’ve read and loved – she’s officially going on my list of favorite authors! ( )
  mcelhra | Aug 5, 2021 |
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Epigraph
The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.

---JAMES BALDWIN, "IN SEARCH OF A MAJORITY"
Dedication
For Erin Trendler, my sister
For Lisa Corr, my cousin who is like a sister
And for Larry Hess, my cousin who would be like a sister if only he weren't a boy
First words
My first memory is of the three of us, still inside, impatient to be born.
Quotations
"Sometimes it's important to remember things the way someone worked really hard for you to remember them," Apple says, "rather than the way they actually were."
...for I have learned that home is not just where you live. Home is also where you want and need and are meant to live. Home is also the people who are there with you, who are the people who will help you live, who are the people who will do the best they can, not just for themselves, but for you, their neighbors and friends, as well.
...sometimes you have to destroy--or destory--something in order to save it.
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How do you let go of the past when the past won't let go of you?

Everyone knows everyone in the tiny town of Bourne, but the Mitchell triplets are especially beloved. Mirabel is the smartest person anyone knows, and no one doubts it just because she can’t speak. Monday is the town’s purveyor of books now that the library’s closed—tell her the book you think you want, and she’ll pull the one you actually do from the microwave or her underwear drawer. Mab’s job is hardest of all: get good grades, get into college, get out of Bourne.

For a few weeks seventeen years ago, Bourne was national news when its water turned green and was declared unfit for use, but it was too late for its residents, and the girls have come of age watching their mother’s endless fight for justice. But just when it seems life might go on the same forever, the first moving truck anyone’s seen in years pulls up and unloads new residents and old secrets. Soon, the Mitchell sisters are uncovering mysteries buried longer than they’ve been alive and taking on a system stacked against them. And in a town where nothing ever changes, suddenly everything does.

Three unforgettable narrators join together here to tell a spellbinding story with wit, wonder, and deep affection. As she did in This Is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel has written a laugh-out-loud-on-one-page-grab-a-tissue-the-next novel, as only she can, about how expanding our notions of normal makes the world a better place for everyone and how when days are darkest, it’s our daughters who will save us all.
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