Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BEA Middle Grade Reviews: Sisters

The four great early reader and middle grade books I got at BEA 2014. 

So, I decided to try and review my BEA books in some kind of order that actually made a little sense... both to me and hopefully to all of you! Since I've covered my picture books, the next few blog posts will all be about the early reader and middle grade books that I received at BEA, then we'll move on to some of the YA and adult titles. Enjoy!

by Raina Telgemeier 
Companion to Smile

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.
(Description from

I was so excited to read this follow-up book to Smile.  It once again showcases Raina's ability to recapture her youth in a fun and engaging way.  I'm sure that lots of readers will connect with this book, though it was not my favorite of hers.  I liked it, don't get me wrong, but I felt that both Smile and Drama were perhaps a little stronger.  

Raina does a wonderful job capturing the relationship between growing siblings, though. I had to laugh when I realized that Raina, her sister Amara, and her baby brother were almost exactly the same ages apart as myself, my brother, and my baby sister are respectively.  I have recollections of very similar moments with my brother stealing my toys, feeling left out when I didn't want to talk to him, and fighting...sometimes it felt like all the time!   I can remember, too,not feeling like I could relate to my little sister because she was SO much younger than me. I'm sure anyone with brothers or sisters will have some portion of this book that they can relate to directly.  

In the end, I liked how the sisters banded together again and found common ground.  Even though their family wasn't perfect, Raina's family obviously cared hugely about one another and I love seeing strong families in books.  All in all a good, quick, entertaining read. 

Full disclosure: Received from publisher at BEA 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment