Thursday, September 29, 2011

Spotlight List: Sisters


I have a younger sister and I love her to pieces, so that may be the root of my love of sister books. My favorite sister stories are the type that show an endearing relationship that, while there may be realistic bumps and sister-fights, the strength of their relationship always shines through in the end.

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Release Date: August 15, 2004
Publisher: Yearling
Pages: 272
Goodreads Page

I always describe this book like this: If Little Women and Anne of Green Gables had a baby of a book and set it in modern times, the result would be The Penderwicks. The sisters here have all the spunk of Anne with all the sisterly camraderie of the March household. I love the way they bicker and gripe--just like real sisters--but at the same time it's clear how much they love one another.

If you liked the family conventions and labels for Events in Heather Dixon's Entwined, then I think you'll love the sisterly relations and cute phrases (like OAP, which is "Oldest Available Penderwick") found in The Penderwicks.

My review of The Penderwicks

Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle
Release Date: April 29, 2008
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 352
Goodreads Page

Set in a magical version of Regency England, Bewitching Season follows the delightful Leland sisters (and their adorable brother) as they practice magic, tangle with the queen, save their kidnapped governess, and fall in love.

It is the strength of their relationship that carries this story, as they team up together to solve the mystery. The way they tease and support one another adds levity and heart to this whimsical adventure of manners and mystery.

The Truth-Teller's Tale by Sharon Shinn
Release Date: July 21, 2005
Publisher: Viking Children's Books
Pages: 256
Goodreads Page

I know the cover is pretty awful, but this is one case where you'd be very wrong to judge the book by its cover. I adore this book! It's a quieter tale, having none of the rapid-fire action I usually look for in a story. The focus is instead on the relationships between the characters, with the relationship between the sisters at the very heart of the tale.

I was completely absorbed in their relationship. Their triumphs and loves, sorrows and fears all impacted me as if these were my own sisters. The subtle ways the sisters showed they cared for one another--tender embraces in times of need, quiet understanding, and fierce protectiveness--touched my heart.

Where I Want to Be by Adele Griffin
Release Date: April 21, 2005
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Pages: 160
Goodreads Page

You could call this an "issues" book (and you know how I usually feel about issues books), but for me this book is much more about the relationship between the two sisters. Each sister is going through something totally different, but I was equally absorbed in both of their struggles.

I'm giving you the "Don't read this book in public" warning for tears of sadness. There might only be 160 pages to this book, but those are powerful pages. Each sister works her way through traumas filled with grief, confusion, anger, and, ultimately, acceptance.

My review of Where I Want to Be

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson
Release Date: March 30, 2010
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 288
Goodreads Page

This is a fairy tale retelling based on a French tale of the same name, reset here in a fictional historical India. The change of setting is beyond perfect, but one of my favorite parts of this story is the sister relationship.

Diribani is gifted with precious jewels that fall from her mouth as she speaks while her half-sister Tana is given snakes and toads. The sisters are parted early on as a result of their gifts, but their bond cannot be broken by distance. As Dribani travels far away from her home to a kingdom that follows a wildly different culture, her memory of Tana gives her strength in this foreign land. Tana's gift leads her on a path of exile, disease, and rebirth, but her relationship with Dribani guides her through.

My review of Toads and Diamonds.

Honorable Mention:
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Release Date: August 25, 2009
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 402
Goodreads Page

Ok, so Astrid and Phil are cousins, not sisters, but their relationship is so sisterly that I'm including Rampant as an honorable mention. Astrid's mother is in-freakin-sane, so Phil often steps into the "guiding older sister" role. Their relationship is fun and light, but it's also fiercely protective. I was so happy Astrid had someone like Phil looking out for her, especially with all the crazy unicorn killing going on.

What are some of your favorite books about sisters? Have you read any of these books? Feel free to add links to your reviews!

Want more books about sisters? Check out Alex's list at A Girl, Books and Other Things!

Want to see more Spotlight Lists?
Not Your Typical Vampire Book
Time Travel
More lists


  1. Woot-sister books-only one of my favorite things! I really like Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford and The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway for YA. But my tops are Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility (I'm kind of an Elinor to my younger sister's Marianne).

  2. I can't believe I haven't read any of these!! I love sister books!

    I really like the sound of Where I Want to Be and the Truth Teller's Tales. Also, the Penderwicks sound like Tons of fun.

  3. I have got to read Toad and Diamonds! Your review of it had me drooling.
    Must admit, other than Rampant, haven't heard of any of these, but that doesn't surprise me with your vast library. I should really get to our library! But you know what I'm going through with J. Today was worse!!!


  4. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce is one of my favorites! :)

  5. I haven't read any of these books, but they sound interesting. Great post. I don't have a sister, only one brother. I always wanted a sister.

  6. You know, I can't think of a single book in which a sister relationship is prominent. Sadness!

    But weird that I can think of one for a really deep brother/sister love... Forbidden.


    Looked back to your post on Issues, and it made me laugh all over again! Thanks for the link, Smalls.

  7. I recently read The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown and LOVED it. This one is a contemporary about 3 sisters and if you are a fan of Shakespeare I think you'll like it.I don't have any sisters but I adored this book:)

  8. The Rampant series is one I really want to read, I can't say I've ever read a book with killer unicorns:) I'm straining my brain to think of other books I've read recently that feature sisters and the only ones I can come up with are the River of Time books, love Gabi and Lia! As soon as I hit "submit" on this comment I'm going to come up with a bunch more:)

  9. Great post! There are a few here that I really want to read!!

  10. In a similar way, I don't have a sister so I think I don't notice when there are strong sister relationships in a story at least I don't explicitly remember that aspect.

  11. Fabulous list! I love how you showed a lot of books I'm not familiar with. Other than the Penderwicks - I love the Penderwicks. I'll have to look more into these.

  12. Sometimes, reading books about sibling relationships makes me sad because I always wanted a sibling. When I can get past my bitterness, I do enjoy the relationship quite a bit! Out of all these, I want to read The Penderwicks most. The "sisterly camaraderie" sounds realistic (not that I would really know, of course, having never had a sister...).

  13. I have 5 sisters and also love them to pieces. It's one of the reasons I adore sister books and think there should be more of them. It's also one of the reasons I so loved the River of Time series by Lisa Tawn Bergren. I'm so excited to pick these books up, Small. I really think there should be more sister books. My sisters are my best friends...even if they are a little crazy. :D

  14. I enjoy reading your Spotlight posts. They always introduce me to new books within a special classification. I like lists, I like to classify, maybe that's why I have so much fun reading them.

    Anyways, I wanted to give you a few future suggestions:

    1. Mermaid Tales
    2. Third Person Narratives
    3. Series Books
    4. Middle Grade Fiction for Boys
    5. Male Author Books or Male Main Character books

  15. I haven't read any of these but The Penderwicks is on my wishlist thanks to you.

    Two other books with sisters that I can think of right away:
    1) The River of Time series
    2) Sisters Red (which I need to read)

  16. I couldn't not mention The Girls, by Lori Lansens. Conjoined twins....

  17. Can't say i have read any of those. And the only books with sister that come to mind are Austen's books, Little Ladies from the old ones.
    Then the Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June which is one of my favorite books ever and then Cinder & Ella which i found an average book.

  18. Small and all-

    I saw Rampant and The Bewitching Season on Amazon's Bargain Books list really cheap. If you're thinking of getting them.


  19. Bookworm1858, :) I know (this list is for you). I haven't read either of those YA suggestions, but both are on my TBR. I had zero interest in April, May, June because for the longest time I thought it was a contemporary about grief. I don't know why I thought that!

    Alex, I tried to make sure we didn't post any of the same titles! I can see you really liking The Penderwicks and the other two you mentioned. I hope you do!

    Heather, Toads and Diamonds is SUCH a pretty book. You know, it's funny, the library I work in is super tiny (it's one room), but luckily I can order from other libraries. I would be lost without inter-library loan!

    Melissa, Oh good call! I really liked how that book had the alternating POVs between both sisters.

    Mrs. Q, Thanks! I always wanted a brother :)

    Missie, Hah, well, there's none of THAT going on in any of these sister books! Thanks for laughing with me!

    Heather@ The Flyleaf Review, I was wondering about that book! A few of my library patrons ordered it a couple of months ago and it looked interesting. Thanks for reminding me of it!

    Jenny, You totally need to read the killer unicorns books! I love the way she describes the unicorns (and Diana Peterfreund gets my award for best use of the word "gored"). I love Gabi and Lia too! I really wanted to add them to the list, but I thought I might be talking about them a bit much. :P

    Jana, Thanks!

    Sniffly Kitty, It's fun to see how our personal experiences shape what we focus on in books. :)

    Alison, The Penderwicks are so great :) I still need to read the newest one. I hope you like the others if you read them!

    Aylee, Aw, I feel like that about brother books. Especially older brothers. I always wanted one. It took me a really long time to realize that no matter how much I hoped my parents would give me a new sibling, I would never get an older brother :( The Penderwicks are so awesome! I hope you like them :)

    Jen, Wow 5?! That's a lot! It must have been so much fun growing up with all those sisters. I really love the relationship between the sisters in The River of Time. It's one of my (many) favorite parts of the series.

    Gina, I'm so glad you do! We are kindred spirits when it comes to lists :) Thank you so much for those suggestions! I think I can do those :)

    A Canadian Girl, Oooh The Penderwicks is the book I want to give to people as a gift. It's so sweet and funny and filled with AWWW. I almost mentioned The River of Time, but then I thought, "Small, you need to talk about other books!" :P I started Sisters Red but put it off for some reason I can't remember anymore. I liked what I had read.

    Annette, Oh that sounds interesting! I hadn't heard of it before, thanks!

    Yiota, You know, I hadn't thought of Jane Austen, but I totally should have because she writes awesome sister books. You're the second person to recommend the Extraordinary Secrets... in this thread. I really need to read that one!

    Heather, Awesome! Thank you so much for the heads up. Those prices are great!

  20. I've gotta put in a vote for the classics, I Capture the Castle and Ballet Shoes. Great children's books with sister relationship as the heart.


It's all about friendly conversation here at Small Review :) I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Be sure to check back again because I do make every effort to reply to your comments here.

Because I am absolutely terrible about following through with blog awards, I can't in good conscience accept any more. Thank you very much for thinking of me though!

Spam WILL be deleted. Attacks on myself or other comments WILL be deleted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...