Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Title: Sisters
Series: Smile (#2)
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic
Release Date: September 1st, 2014
Source: ARC received for an honest review

My Rating: 4/5

Raina can't wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren't quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she's also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn't improve much over the years, but when a baby brother enters the picture and later, something doesn't seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all.

Raina uses her signature humor and charm in both present-day narrative and perfectly placed flashbacks to tell the story of her relationship with her sister, which unfolds during the course of a road trip from their home in San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado. (Summary from Goodreads)

I first heard about Raina Telgemeier when I started working for Chapters almost two years ago. My coworkers mentioned Smile and Drama, highlighting them as one of the top graphic novels in middle grade. I was very curious! So, when I spotted a copy of Smile at the thrift store, I snatched it up immediately. I actually read it that day (in one sitting!) and loved every little bit of it. Fast-forward almost a year and I'm back at work. I noticed that my manager had an ARC of Sisters sitting on her desk. Oh so casually, I asked her if she was liking it. She said yes and asked if I wanted it, citing her busy schedule as a reason she couldn't finish it in time. I practically leaped on her to take it and read it the very next day. Sisters was the perfect follow up to Telgemeier's fabulous Smile and I loved every panel of it!

I've mentioned it before, but my only child status makes me constantly curious about sibling relationships. It was really interesting to get to dive right into the ups and downs of these two siblings. Raina and Amara bickered and fought and teased and yelled but they clearly cared about each other so much. Even when they were fighting, there was this connection between the two of them that was so easy to see. I loved the flashbacks of their life growing up, the little anecdotes that gave snapshots of their relationship. It really added an extra layer to the story and gave that overall look at how these two girls got to grow up together.

Although I don't have any siblings, I definitely can relate to the stress and insanity of a long distance family road trip, and wondering where you fit in within your extended family. Just like Raina, I felt out of place within my own family. I have a lot of older cousins (I'm the youngest by five/six years) and that age gap really affected me when I was a young teen. That age is just so rough in general, and I totally sympathized with Raina and how lost she felt. I think a lot of people, young and old, will be able to read Sisters and see bits of their own childhood in it.

Sisters was just such fun. I couldn't wait to read it and didn't want to stop once I'd started. Raina Telgemeier weaves such an enjoyable story with lovable characters; the illustrations are so well done and the dialogue is realistic, combining to create a great graphic novel. Sisters explores family dynamics, growing up, and those painful-but-hilarious childhood road trips with humor and heart and ugh, I can't wait for more from her.

Sisters is a quick read, lots of fun, and book I recommend you read. Get ready to laugh aloud and have your heart warmed, because Raina Telgemeier has crafted one great story.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

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