by Raina Telgemeier (August 26th 2014, Scholastic)
Sisters follows fourteen year- old Raina as she, her brother, sister, and mother go on a road trip from California to Colorado.
Stuck in a van for a whole week with her hyperactive brother and bratty sister, Raina is trying her best to shut them out and survive the trip, but things don’t go as planned.
Alternating between past and present, the narration mainly focuses on the relationship between Raina and her sister, Amara.
There is no stand-out this-is-amazing! moment in Sisters. Rather, it is a simple tale told with humor, wisdom, and intelligence.
Despite the small amount of text, there are no cardboard characters here. Everyone from Raina to her family is individual and well-constructed.
The drawing style is clean and streamlined and the few colored illustrations I saw were very well done. But Telegmeier’s real gift is in smart, funny dialogue and the ability to convey so much with so little.
Many topics are touched upon, from Raina’s love of drawing to feelings of not fitting in, to the complexity of family dynamics. The best part though is none of it feels rushed or shoehorned in. Everything is seamlessly intrigued.
Raina herself is a complex and relatable character: artistic, empathic, and sometimes timid, I think many readers can easily see themselves in her. Amara, her sister, is also artistic and despite her love of animals, doesn’t share Raina’s more gentle qualities.
Their relationship is the beating heart of Sisters. They understand each other, annoy each other, but always love each other. And this is where Sisters shines brightest, capturing the small and the big moments of a relationship that is always more than the sum of its parts.
Honestly, aside from the fact that I couldn’t enjoy the full effect of the color illustrations (because I got an ARC), Sisters was pretty much pitch-perfect. The only drawback I can think of is that it may not appeal to readers who prefer more action.
Deceptively simple, Sisters is story full of heart, humor, and fun that will please anyone willing to give it a chance.
Get it on Book Depository
For more excellent MG book recommendations, go to Shannon Messenger's blog.
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