The best and most kickass sisters in fiction

As chosen by Sarah Crossan, author of award-winning ONE

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EVERYONE is talking about Sarah Crossan's ONE. It's been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards, theCBI Book of the Year Award, the IBW Award and theYA Book Prize. Phew.

Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins. And their lives are about to change. No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers andcruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love?

The book everyone's talking about: Read a free extract from One by Sarah Crossan
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But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined, and leave them asking what it really means to want and have a soulmate.

Seeing as ONE is all about the power and struggles of sisterhood, we figured that author Sarah Crossan would be the perfect gal to give us a rundown of the ultimate sisters in fiction. Over to you, Sarah.

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Sarah Crossan's top sisters in fiction...

I have three siblings – all brothers – and they're perfectly lovely (most of the time), but still, I've always longed for a sister. Someone to be a ready-made best friend, to share secrets with and… shoes. And what better sort of sister than a twin? 

I'm a bit addicted to the idea of this actually, though I fear my retired and divorced parents are no longer in a position to oblige my desires. Ahem. This is partly why I wrote ONE, to explore the idea of sisterhood, albeit sisters living with unusual anatomies. And I've always loved reading books on the topic. 

Here are my top five books about sisters…

1. Little Women by Louise May Alcott

It's a classic that's been made into several films, inspired other novels, and a novel that even Joey from Friends couldn't resist falling in love with. The story of the four very different March sisters follows their lives over many years, through birth, death and marriage. Despite having been written in the 1800s, it still reads as a feminist novel where the girls, typically expected simply to marry, have other desires and pursue lots of non-traditional roles.

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2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I understand that all anyone reading the series wanted to know was whether Katniss would choose Peeta or Gale. I never cared. The relationship that had the greatest emotional punch for me in the trilogy was the one between Katniss and her little sister Prim. It's the relationship the book opens with, a very tender moment between Katniss and Prim in bed, and the relationship which rings most true in terms of giving Katniss the motivation to win the games and subsequently revolt.

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3. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

Not the most cheerful or realistic of novels, yet beautifully written and completely magical. It's about the lives (and suicides) of the Lisbon sisters as narrated by neighbourhood boys telling the tale many years on and claiming to still love the girls. It's a must read crossover novel.

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4. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

What's brilliant about this novel isn't just the emphasis Walker puts on literal sisterhood but also on comradeship between women in general. Women are so often pitted against one another, I love reading about women joining together to overcome oppression.

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5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

How could I possibly mention sisterhood without giving a shout-out to Austen's famous classic novel about the lives and loves of the Bennet sisters? Austen's treatment of these relationships, particularly between Elizabeth and Jane, is so elegantly and realistically handled, I seriously pine for an Elizabeth of my own every time I read it. 

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