Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Review: The September Sisters

The September Sisters
Jillian Cantor
2009; HarperTeen; 978-0-06-168648-1
Copy provided by Blue Slip Media

Summary: Abby and Becky were both born in the same month, two years and a day apart. Their mom calls them the September sisters and thinks they should be best friends. But in reality, Abby and Becky fight all the time over anything and everything. To Abby, the idea that she'll be friends with her sister seems impossible. And then, Becky disappears from their house. As her family falls apart, Abby tries to keep them together--as well as herself.

Three Things to Know About The September Sisters

#1: There's no relationship like the one between sisters.

No matter how much sisters fight, there's still a bond that exists between them. Abby and Becky have a history together, but at the ages of 12 and 10, the tensions of oncoming puberty probably ramped up their conflicts. It's likely that as they grew older, their childhood disagreements would mellow, allowing them to become the friends that their mother believes they are. With Becky's disappearance, though, she is crystallized as a bratty ten-year-old showoff for Abby. Abby can grow and change; Becky can't. But that doesn't mean Abby won't be able to have a relationship with Becky, as she discovers at the end of the novel.

#2: Tragedy affects people in different ways.

The disappearance of one family member has a profound affect on the rest of the family. In this case, the family falls apart and then reforms in a new way. The frailties in Abby's mother become even more evident, as she sinks into a deep depression and then falls into a relationship with a man who had lost his daughter as well. Her father becomes fixated on getting results in the search for Becky, all the while trying to stay strong for Abby. And as far as Abby goes, she buries herself in books and slowly finds a new place for herself, a place where she's not "the girl whose sister got kidnapped."

#3: Young love isn't a cure-all.

Not long after Becky disappears, a new boy named Tommy moves in next door. Thrown together, Tommy and Abby slowly grow closer than friends. They explore first love together, but even more important, Tommy acts as the support that Abby needs. Tommy is truly a perfect first boyfriend, but even more, he's her friend. He helps Abby deal with the time she spends adjusting to the absence of Becky. As Abby gets stronger, Tommy drifts away and eventually moves back to Florida, severing their relationship. But by that time, Abby has become strong enough to handle the discovery of Becky's fate.

An intense novel, The September Sisters lets readers follow Abby's recovery from her sister's disappearance. Part of a recent spate of abducted girl novels, such as and The Missing GirlLiving Dead Girl, this novel is different from those by its focus on those left behind. Abby's family won't ever be what it was before Becky's abduction,. But we feel that Abby has discovered that she is grateful for her sister, even if her sister's not really there. The September Sisters is an honest, intimate novel of one girl's development amidst a series of upheavals and heartbreaks. Pass this one along to those who want a sad novel with a hopeful ending.

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