Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters

4.2 31
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

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Overview

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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545107105
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
09/01/2010
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
515,868
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile:
HL660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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