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Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters

4.2 32
by Natalie Standiford

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The Sullivan sisters have a big problem. On Christmas Day their rich and imperious grandmother gathers the family and announces that she will soon die . . .and has cut the entire family out of her will. Since she is the source of almost all their income, this means they will soon be penniless.

Someone in the family has offended her deeply. If that person comes


The Sullivan sisters have a big problem. On Christmas Day their rich and imperious grandmother gathers the family and announces that she will soon die . . .and has cut the entire family out of her will. Since she is the source of almost all their income, this means they will soon be penniless.

Someone in the family has offended her deeply. If that person comes forward with a confession of her (or his) crime, submitted in writing to her lawyer by New Year's Day, she will reinstate the family in her will. Or at least consider it.

And so the confessions begin....

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Standiford (How to Say Goodbye in Robot) sets up an enticing premise: the Sullivans' über-rich grandmother, Almighty, has written the entire family out of her inheritance because one of the eight-member clan has offended her. Unless the guilty party confesses satisfactorily, her millions will go to charity (and not just any charity: Puppy Ponchos, which "provided rain ponchos for the dogs of people too poor to buy dog raincoats for themselves"). Thus begins a delightful tale in which the three Sullivan sisters pour their hearts, souls, and deepest secrets into letters to Almighty. Written in first person, each letter traverses the same time period, yet the girls' unique voices and perspectives shine through: wholesome Sassy, who thinks she's un-killable; spitfire, nonconformist Jane, who riles everyone up with her dirt-dishing blog, www.myevilfamily.com (a real site); and do-gooder Norrie, who falls in love with the wrong guy. Standiford makes reading about Baltimore high society and the flawed, pampered, but likable Sullivans feel like a wickedly guilty pleasure. By the time Standiford reveals Almighty's real beef, readers will wish that more family members had confessions to make. Ages 13�up. (Sept.)
VOYA - Jennifer M. Miskec
When Almighty, matriarch of Baltimore's old-money Sullivan family, feels she has been wronged by one of her six grandchildren, she threatens to cut the entire family from her will. Unless she gets an apology from the guilty party, she warns, she will donate her millions to her favorite charity, Puppy Ponchos. What follows are the stories of the three Sullivan sisters, seventeen-year-old Norrie, sixteen-year-old Jane, and fifteen-year-old Sassy, each confessing to save the family, each ultimately sorry to have hurt her grandmother, but none really so contrite as to feel earnestly apologetic. The sisters' very different, but equally compelling, stories cross over one another, offering multiple perspectives on single events as they forge their own identities against a family steeped in tradition and controlled by Almighty. Told in three parts, giving a distinct voice to each of the three Sullivan sisters, this novel is about finding love, caring for family, and gaining perspective, yet it avoids the didacticism common to the YA genre—and some of Standiford's other novels. Standiford's sense of humor and charm are more obvious here than in her The Dating Game series, for example. Despite the almost fantasy setting of the uber wealthy socialite family, the female protagonists are deeper and more complicated than expected, and not just in a "poor little rich girl" kind of way. Simultaneously over the top and grounded, the Sullivan sisters and their lifestyle of freedom, excess, and tradition might feel a little familiar to the rest of us, too. While still light fare, there is a kindness in the construction of the sisters that makes this a sweet and charming new novel. Reviewer: Jennifer M. Miskec
Children's Literature - Cynthia Levinson
The premise for this gossipy novel is that Almighty, the three Sullivan sisters' wealthy grandmother, threatens, on Christmas Day, to exclude their parents, and their three brothers from her will by New Year's Day, unless the unidentified heir who has offended her confesses. Otherwise, she will donate her money to a charity that provides rain ponchos to dogs from poor families. The entire family immediately agrees that one of the sisters is the guilty party. Unlike stories in which secrets are slowly revealed, in this one, previously unexpressed sins, from bloopers to shockers, pour forth from the outset. High-school senior Norrie has two boyfriends. Brooks is the proper one whom one everyone expects to be her escort at her debut, but she deserts him for Robbie, a film-school graduate student. Jane, the smoking, swearing mischief-maker, reveals all, including embarrassing ancient family history, such as their associations with the Confederate Army, through her blog, called myevilfamily. The youngest sister, Sassie, confesses that she believes she killed Wallace, Almighty's chauffeur. Ironically, the truly guilty party, in Almighty's eyes, is their six-year-old brother, Takey, who abused her dog. Meanwhile, having revealed the worst about themselves to her and each other, the girls are forever changed. The premise of this novel is undermined by the premise that each sister can recall events and write dialog on par with a seasoned trade-press author. Readers who revel in petty adolescent true confessions by unappealing people inhabiting a wealthy wonderland may enjoy these shenanigans and the characters' supposedly growing self-awareness. Reviewer: Cynthia Levinson
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—The Sullivan sisters have some explaining to do. Their grandmother, known as Almighty, has taken offense at someone's poor judgment. So much so that she has given the entire Sullivan family an ultimatum: each member must write a confession to her or they will all be left penniless. Penniless? The girls know this cannot come to pass. How would they all adjust to life without the wealth and privilege their family has been steeped in for generations? Everyone assumes that it's one of them who has so offended Almighty, so Norrie, Sassy, and Jane reveal everything from love to disdain to murder in their letters to her. But is it enough to save themselves from the wrath of Almighty? Stories of teens with money to burn and all the trappings are popular, but this novel offers something more. The substance of the characters drives the plot. Readers will eagerly flip pages to hear the sins of the Sullivan sisters and love the tale each one spins. This book has a long shelf life ahead of it, and can be easily offered to any teen as an excellent read.—Robbie L. Flowers, Detroit Public Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
A wealthy family is desperate to be reinstated in the good graces of its matriarch in this often funny but uneven family drama. At the novel's opening, Almighty Lou, the severe and dominating grandmother of Baltimore's eccentric Sullivan clan, threatens to strike her son and his family from her will due to an unspecified offense one of her grandchildren has committed against her. In response, the three teen sisters, Norrie, Jane and Sassy, pen confessions of their misdeeds for her and beg forgiveness. Each girl narrates a section in turn, and humor abounds in the inner workings of this interesting and unusual family. The girls' voices are easy to distinguish from one another, nicely reflecting the differences in their personalities. However, bad girl Jane's section relies heavily on pat examples of teenage angst that make her seem less real than the others. Further, the conclusion seems rushed, and there are some loose ends that remain, but readers may not be bothered—there is still plenty in this light read to enjoy. (Fiction. 12 & up)
From the Publisher

Praise for Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters:

* "This book has a long shelf life ahead of it, and can be easily offered to any teen as an excellent read." - School Library Journal, starred review

"[H]umor abounds in the inner workings of this interesting and unusual family." - Kirkus Reviews

"Standiford makes reading about Baltimore high society and the flawed, pampered, but likable Sullivans feel like a wickedly guilty pleasure....Readers will wish that more family members had confessions to make." - Publishers Weekly

"[A] sweet and charming new novel." - VOYA

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
HL660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Natalie Standiford is the author of HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT, CONFESSIONS OF THE SULLIVAN SISTERS, and THE SECRET TREE. She is originally from Maryland, but now lives in New York City and plays in the all-YA-author band Tiger Beat.

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Confessions Of The Sullivan Sisters 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a fantastic read for lovers of any genre.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
The Sullivan family's Christmas began in the traditional way that year. The six Sullivan siblings opened their gifts. Daddy-o made pancakes for breakfast and Ginger contributed her signature dish to the feast (sliced grapefruit halves sprinkled with Splenda). Christmas would take an unexpected turn at the Sullivan's annual holiday dinner with the family matriarch--unaffectionately known by family, friends, enemies, and most of Baltimore as "Almighty Lou." One of the Sullivans has deeply offended Almighty. Subsequently the entire family has been cut out of her will unless the offending person comes forward with a full confession by New Year's Day. If not, their share of the fortune will be donated to Puppy Ponchos--a charity providing rain ponchos for dogs in need of raincoats. No one knows for sure what drove Almighty to this extreme. Could it have been seventeen-year-old Norrie and her completely unsuitable romance? Did sixteen-year-old Jane's airing the family's dirty laundry on [...] seal the family's fate? Or does it have something to do with fifteen-year-old Sassy maybe, possibly, sort of having something to do with the death of Almighty's fifth husband Wallace? The girls dutifully write their confessions hoping to appease their grandmother. If they can appease her their lives can go on as before. But once the confessions are written and the secrets revealed, nothing will be the same in Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters (2010) by Natalie Standiford. Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters is an interesting blend of romance, humor, elements of the magical and a classic coming-of-age story all rolled into one. Broken into three parts, each sister has a chance to tell her own part of the story. Except all of their stories occur over the same period of time. This fact creates an interesting narrative with overlapping events, blended narrations, and multiple viewpoints used to flesh out certain aspects of the story. Standiford also provides a surprising amount of suspense for a story that is decidedly not an adventure. Will the Sullivans be disinherited? Is Norrie's romance going to end horribly? Is Jane's family really evil? What is going on with Sassy? There are so many juicy questions to be answered that Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters quickly becomes equal parts page turner and Bildungsroman. Some aspects of the story are bizarre and almost out of place--the whole novel is actually very reminiscent of the blend of everyday and surreal elements commonly found in magical realism--but by the end of the story it all kind of works. Standiford has once again taken a unique premise and made it something really special with winsome characters and clever prose. Possible Pairings: Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron, King of the Screwups, Girl Overboard by K. L. Going, by Justina Chen Headley, Confessions of a Not It Girl by Melissa Kantor, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Jadesbooks More than 1 year ago
This is a story about three sisters who have led a pretty charmed life because of Almighty's, a/k/a Grandma's, money, but then so have their parents and brothers. All seems to be going pretty good, the girls are figuring out who they are, by falling in love, rebelling against authority, and feeling like they are invincible. But girl has done something to upset Almighty, and now they must confess their sins - in writting - or all the money and the only life they have ever known is over, not just for them but for the rest of their family as well. The book starts out with Norrie, the oldest, explaining her actions - about how she fell in love and how that led to the decisions she has been making recently. Next we get to hear from Jane and how she's been rebelling against authority and causing trouble in the family by telling the true history of her family to the world on her blog. Last we get to hear from Sassy, and how she thinks that she's invincible and can not be hurt - until she realizes otherwise and what the outcome of her actions are. This was a fun book, I really enjoyed how the sisters had overlapping stories of themselves together and the conversations they had.. and the differences in how they each remembered that instance. I know that by the end of the book, I wanted more. It was a whole lot of fun to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
On the cover The middle girl is The only girl with Her fingers crossed! Hmmmmm...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a fun, quick read that will have you on the edge of your seat with all the family drama and gossip! Go read it already!
Alison Bevard More than 1 year ago
amazing story that takes you on a journey! A book that you cant put down
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
The Sullivans are in for quite a shock. Their normally joyous Christmas holiday is tarnished when the family matriarch, known to everyone as Almighty, announces she is dying and threatens to write the whole family out of her will unless the family member who committed some unimaginable sin confesses. She wants their confessions in writing by New Year's Day. The three Sullivan girls immediately assume they have committed whatever crime has offended their dear, controlling grandmother. Each sister begins writing her confession. Norrie, the eldest, is certain that she offended Almighty at her debutante ball. Almighty had such specific plans and wishes for Norrie's special day, and Norrie knows her behavior was not at all up to her grandmother's rigid standards. Middle sister, Jane, has never really conformed to Almighty's ideal of a perfect granddaughter, so it is not a huge leap for her to imagine she is the guilty party. It is also fairly easy to guess that her offense is the creation of a blog called myevilfamily dot com. Oh, the things Jane has revealed about everyone in her prestigious Baltimore family. Sassy, the youngest, has been riddled with guilt long before Almighty threatened to write them all out of inheriting her millions. Sassy is convinced that she is guilty of murdering someone near and dear to her grandmother's heart. Her confession will hopefully restore the family honor, but will most likely result in her own imprisonment. Author Natalie Standiford takes readers on a wild ride as each sister recounts recent scandalous events in an effort to soothe their grandmother's ruffled feathers. The novel is filled with pleas for forgiveness, some motivated by honest feelings and regret, and others not. The results of everyone's soul searching turn out to reveal some surprising information about everyone in the family. Fans of Standiford's HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT will want to check this one out.
ReadingAngel002 More than 1 year ago
Simply Scandalous! Norrie, Jane and Sassy Sullivan are about to spill all. After their grandmother, Almighty, told everyone that unless the person who gravely offended her confesses in writing before New Years, the entire Sullivan family will be cut from her will. Everyone knows that it must be one of the three girls that did it, so the three girls spill all in confession letters that hold nothing back. I was afraid going into this that it was going to be a Gossip Girl knock off, of the stuck up lives of the insanely rich. I couldn't have been more wrong. Each girl's personalities are so richly portrayed that you can't help but love each of them, (although Sassy was my favorite). As each girl tells her tale they begin to confess to love taking over, disdain for everyone around them, especially their family, and even murder. I flew through this book in one days time. Each sister pulled me in and had me dying to figure out what would happen next. The ending was shocking and completely hilarious. I even had to read the last few pages out loud to my brother because I was laughing so hard he had to know what was so funny! I definitely recommend this one to all YA lovers!
Anonymous 28 days ago
I see what you mean. She could be the person who made the grandmother angry or whatever. I havent read the book or even the sample yet, but the majority of the reviews are pretty good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was horrified at the vulagrity of this novel. This should not be a teen book! The subject matter is unrelatable to real teens rich or poor and completely inappropriate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the sample but i am not sure if i should get the full book Plzz tell me your opinion
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read. I found myself trying to figure out who had deeply offended the imperious (and very condescending) grandmother. I cannot help but think that the grandmother took great delight in getting the family to reveal secrets (through their confessions) that ordinarily they would have preferred to keep. The confessions, at times, were very funny and I couldn't wait to read the next one. The revelation of the identity of the guilty party was much anticipated and was not an anti-climax to the book. It was a nice surprise. I think I enjoyed the book even more because it is set in the Baltimore area of Maryland and some of the places mentioned are familiar to me. I almost wish Standiford would write a sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! I loved it! VERY SUPRISNG END!!!!!! Read to find out! A-
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Review based on ARC.The book has been criticized as being unrelatable because the characters are "poor little rich girls" living lives that normal teens do not share. I actually do not agree (though at first I did). And I say this as someone did not grow up around wealth.The book is broken into 4 sections. One appears at the beginning and end, and is the essential narration establishing the reason behind the other three sections, which are confessions written by/from the perspective of the three eldest girls in a family of 6 children, all grandchildren to the Almighty Lou. Almighty has threatened to disinherit the family because a member of the family has deeply "offended her." The family (the 6 kids & their 2 parents) determine that the three eldest girls are the most likely culprits, and they set out to write their confessions.The first confession is by Norrie, the eldest girl. This is the part that I can see most people criticizing as "poor little rich girl." This is the weakest part of the book, but a lot of necessary background information comes out in this section, setting up the rest of the book for the more interesting narrations. Norrie is the well-behaved daughter until she meets a boy in graduate school in an evening speed-reading class and falls for him, throwing all caution to the wind, including her family's reputation. This is the part of the book that, while I was going through my own difficulties in life, which were significantly more overwhelming than meeting some guy and not knowing what to do about it, made me annoyed and frustrated that I had to read a book with a vapid protagonist. However, the writing was good enough that the reading was quick and easy and I got through Norrie's tale in due time.And Jane's story, the second eldest daughter, is much more interesting than Norrie's. If other readers are annoyed by Norrie's story, I recommend at least giving Jane a chance. This is where the story begins to have some interest. Not only is Jane more relatable, but she is interesting and is a dynamic character. Where Norrie's story had the tone of a defensive teenager who just wanted to convince her Almighty Grandmother that her path was the right path, Jane explains her reasoning, but the reader actually sees movement in her character and personality. Much more enjoyable. Even if Jane is not relatable, she is at least interesting!The worst part of the remainder of the book is that, by the end of Jane's story, I already knew what Sassy's confession would be. So I assumed the remainder of the book would be completely predictable. However, while I was write about her essential confession, I was pleased with the story and the development of her character and others in the book. I was particularly impressed with Standiford's representation of Cassandra (Sassy's tuttee) & their relationship.And the end, which encompassed the final few pages of Almighty receiving the confessions and her reaction to them, were satisfying and even moving.My opinion of the book completely changed by the end. When I receive books directed at a high school audience through the early reviewer program, I read the book w/ an awareness of the intended audience. That being said, I would highly recommend the book to junior high & high school girls. I would also recommend the book to older women who are looking for a little escape and perhaps a little reminiscence of their own high school days.
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