When I was little, I really, really, really wanted a sister. When I was four and my Mom was pregnant, I knew it was a girl. I wanted a sister so badly, so how could it not be? And then the doctor told us we were getting a little boy. I started bawling.
Looking back at it now, I think it’s probably a good thing I never got that sister. After all, those relationships look difficult and I’m the type of person who is cut out to grow up playing LEGOs and playing catch with brothers.
So, when I started reading Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, I couldn’t help but chuckled at and sympathize with the main character: A girl who wished and wished for a sister, finally got one…and then realized that maybe having a sister isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Sisters is interesting in that it is a graphic novel, a true story, and auto-biographical. It’s also a middle-grade book that manages to be heartfelt, honest, and not dumbed down. Count me a new fan of Raina Telgemeier. By the end of writing this post, I think I’ll even be able to spell her last name correctly without having to double-check. That’s a sign of dedication right there.
Raina has been looking forward to being a big sister for quite some time. But when Amara is born, things don’t go according to plan. This baby sister isn’t what she’s supposed to be: She’s cranky and prefers to be left alone.
As they grow older, their relationship does not strengthen. Adding a little brother to the mix certainly doesn’t help. When their mom suggests a road trip, Raina isn’t too thrilled. Who wants to spend that much time in a car with their siblings?
A family being in that close of a proximity makes keeping secrets hard, and Raina and Amara soon catch wind of something they weren’t supposed to know: Something isn’t right between their parents. That’s a scary realization. Who exactly is Raina supposed to turn to with something like that looming over her?
Maybe having a sister has it’s upsides, after all.
This was a story I really, really enjoyed. It was funny enough to make me chuckle several times while reading it, but also serious and heartfelt enough to get me thinking about the importance of family. This graphic novel is a fairly quick read, but I could feel the love and hard work that Telgemeier put into it. The sibling relationships were spot on, as was the interactions between the family as a whole. I also thought the cartoonish artwork went really well with the mood of the story: funny and sincere.
Telgemeier’s heartfelt depiction of her family is one that I think a lot of people can relate to and learn from. As somebody who grew up going on 30-day road trips with my parents and two brothers, reading the car scenes brought back a lot of good (and funny) memories. It takes a special kind of writer to be able to reach into a complete stranger’s life and connect with them through a story. Amazing job.
I appreciated the fact that this is a wholesome middle-grade book. This is something I would feel comfortable recommending to younger girls (and guys). It’s also one that I can see parents sitting down and reading with their kids.
Sisters holds a little bit of something for everyone. People of all ages can enjoy it and, I think, be touched by it. We need more stories like this one.
Raina Telgemeier has several other stories: Smile, Ghosts, Drama. They’re all technically middle-grade, but I intend to read them anyway. After all, good middle-grade (like pretty much all good books targeted at a specific age group) can be enjoyed by anyone.
Have you read anything by Telgemeier? What is your favorite story by her? I would love to hear your thoughts! If you haven’t read her, then put her on you list of must-read authors. Trust me. Her work is the kind that you want on your shelf.