Author: Christine Hurley Deriso
Published: April 8, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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.