Then I Met My Sister Review

Monday, May 2, 2011

Title: Then I Met My Sister
Author: Christine Hurley Deriso
Publisher: Flux
Published: April 8, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Publisher

Summer Stetson lives inside a shrine to her dead sister. Eclipsed by Shannon's greatness, Summer feels like she's a constant disappointment to her controlling, Type A momzilla and her all-too-quiet dad. Her best friend Gibson believes Summer's C average has more to do with rebelliousness than smarts, but she knows she can never measure up—academically or otherwise.

On her birthday, Summer receives a secret gift from her aunt: Shannon's diary. Suddenly, the one-dimensional vision of her sister becomes all too solid. Is this love-struck, mom-bashing badass the same Shannon everyone raves about? Determined to understand her troubled sister, Summer dives headfirst down a dark rabbit hole and unearths painful family secrets. Each revelation brings Summer closer to the mysterious and liberating truth about her family—and herself.
Summer lives in Shannon's shadow. She always has, and as far as she's concerned, she always will. She never met her sister, but there is a darkness surrounding her sister's death that's shrouded in an almost ethereal way that everyone views her. Shannon was perfection, and next to her and Summer will always fall short. On her 17th birthday, Summer's aunt gives her Shannon's diary, giving her a unique glimpse into the final year of the sister she never knew, but it holds clues to her family's dark secret and her sister's last days. With the help of her friend, Gibs, Summer must find herself as she finally meets her sister.

Continuing on my contemporary kick, I have been dying to read Then I Met My Sister from the first time I read the premise. I wasn't sure it was the most original premise, per se, but there are a million different ways an author can spin the same basic elements and make an entirely new story. Christine Hurley Deriso presented your average teenager in Summer, allowing you to access all the angst a teenage girl feels, but threw in an element of familial tension and secrets that added a layer of darkness and depth. Haunting, mesmerizing and twisty, Then I Met My Sister takes you on a journey to self-discovery and acceptance in the midst of tragedy.

I have to admit that I wasn't so sure how I felt about Then I Met My Sister a few chapters in. Summer was the epitome of angst. I'm pretty sure every teenage girl has tiffs with her mom, but it almost seemed like Summer sought them out. She felt like the whole world was against her, and she felt like she could never live up to what people expected of her. Then I realized that this is very much how the vast majority of teenagers feel. Gibs provided balance in those few chapters. He was a bit of sanity in the midst of her internal dilemmas. Once Shannon's diary came into play, it was like a lightbulb went on in Summer's head, and she began to see what her family was really like and who her sister was. I wasn't always on the same page with her emotions, but I could definitely feel for her throughout Then I Met My Sister. It wasn't, however, a book filled with riveting action, which made me a little bored at times. It was full of internal reflection.

All in all, Then I Met My Sister is a deep and thought-provoking read, but it's not one packed with action and face-to-face drama, so it wasn't a must-read-the-next-page-now kind of read for me. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

22 comments:

  1. Great review Melissa. I have to admit the cover never appealed to me. But your review has made me interested. It sounds like a interesting character driven novel :)

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  2. I was immediately interested in this title. To my regret, I didn't preorder, but it'll remain in my top-wishlist so I'll probably read it eventually. Great review. :)

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  3. I am surprised that the whole teen angst didn't turn you off. I have seen this title and was a bit unsure, but knowing how you feel about Contemps I think after reading your review, I might just have to give this one a try.

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  4. I honestly haven't heard of this one, but your review is amazing. I'll definitely keep an eye out for this book! :)

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  5. I don't think this one's for me. I like the sound of it, but these days I need a book with a lot of action in it. ;)

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  6. It sounds pretty good, but the pace does sound a bit too slow...Wonderful review, Melissa :)

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  7. What a great review Melissa - it feels good catching up again. Hope you had a fantastic time in South Africa. Pity we couldn't meet, but I'm sure we may get the opportunity some day. :)

    I must admit that I wasn't to sure what to think when I first stumbled across this book, but I do love a good contemporary novel and yours being the first review I've seen of this book, makes me want to give it a try. Not usually a fan of books that aren't all that action-filled, but I reckon I could make an exception for this one. :)

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  8. I love your reviews, you always make the book sound so much better than the synopsis..:)

    I saw this awhile back and thought the cover was so freaky, Im still looking forward to reading it.

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  9. I do have this one on my TBR, but I hadn't heard anything about it so it really hasn't popped up on my radar. I don't mind slow books, but I don't know how I feel about this one. I'm not into anything too depressing. Not because they aren't good, just because I like to be cheered. I may put this one back for a bit. Thanks for the review! How was Africa?? Hope you had fun! I'm so jealous, it's my dream to go to South Africa and play.

    Jen
    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

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  10. Then I Met My Sister sounds really interesting! Summer's argumentative personality will probably bug me, but otherwise the book sounds great! Thanks for the review! :)

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  11. I think Summer may bug me a little, but I really like the sound of this one! Great review! :)

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  12. I guess I was the rarity in that as a teenager I got along really well with my mom...having now raised a daughter, tho, I can definitely relate to the "teenage angst" thing :)
    Your review makes it clear, tho, that there are several layers to this story that make it somewhat unique. Great review Melissa!

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  13. Great review, the book does sounds original and refreshing!

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  14. I hope you had a lovely time Mel, it's awesome to have you back chick. I haven't heard of the book, but you have peaked my interest xD

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  15. Hm, the cover looks messy, I would like the heart to be in another place..anyway
    Sounds gooD .D

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  16. Sounds like one I'd definitely enjoy.

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  17. Hm... I really need to get into some contemps. Thanks!

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  18. I'm not really a fan of teen angst but I also know you're extremely picky about your contemps and so will add this one to my wishlist since you rated it so highly. Great review, Melissa!

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  19. The cover looks gorgeous and the plot sounds good !! I'd really like to read this one ..thanks for the honnest review Melissa ;)

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  20. This sounds like a good book. I'm not much of a contemporary book reader, either. I might check this one out at the library. I like that you said you weren't sure about it a few chapter in and that you explain why you continued reading it. Lovely cover!

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  21. A beautiful book it seems. I'm not sure how dark it gets, but there seems to be some undercurrent. Even the cover suggests some secrets!

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  22. I recently bought this one (don't know when I'll get around to reading it) and I've been looking forward to it forever. Even though it wasn't a need-to-turn-the-page-now kind of book for you, I have a feeling I'll love it. I'm a little surprised with how well you've stuck to reading more contemporary books, but I'm happy about it. Whenever I see that you enjoy one, I know that I'll probably love it! Thanks :)

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