Missing Sisters

( 34 )

Overview

She's a skinny orphan. She's never been able to hear too well. And she can't speak too well, either. The only person who seems to care for her—one of the nuns at the orphanage—gets taken away from Alice in a freak accident.

And then one day somebody calls Alice by the ...

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Missing Sisters

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Overview

She's a skinny orphan. She's never been able to hear too well. And she can't speak too well, either. The only person who seems to care for her—one of the nuns at the orphanage—gets taken away from Alice in a freak accident.

And then one day somebody calls Alice by the wrong name.

Miami, she says.

Miami Shaw.

Miami Shaw, who may be Alice's twin sister.

Who lives only a few miles away.

Who has what Alice has always dreamed of—a whole wonderful family. But is there a place in that family for Alice?

Twelve-year-old Alice, an orphan who has never been adopted because of her physical handicap and difficult personality, is shocked to discover she has an identical twin sister living nearby.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Affectionate humor and a particularly well-defined setting lend distinction to this touching novel set in 1968. Alice, a 12-year-old beset by hearing and speech impediments, lives in an orphanage run by nuns in upstate New York. After Sister Vincent de Paul, Alice's closest friend and supporter, is severely injured in a fire, no one explains to Alice that the sister has been sent for a long stay in a nursing home. Alice, worrying that Sister Vincent has died, makes a pact with God: until she knows that Sister Vincent will recover, she won't even consider an offer of adoption that has been extended to her--her first. A girl Alice despises gets her place, but Alice has a drama of her own, inadvertently learning that she may have a twin sister. With a mixture of cunning and courage, Alice finds her. Maguire, who spent some of his childhood in a Catholic children's home, avoids pat and obvious resolutions, and he conveys Alice's faith lightly but substantively. Characterizations of the Catholic environment are sharp and funny. Some poignant, genuinely suspenseful moments express, among other truths, the value of individuality. Ages 10-14. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-A portrait of a 12-year-old handicapped girl, raised by a stern group of nuns, emerges from this ragged novel. Alice has spent her life in an orphanage, steeped in rigid religiousness and-because of her hearing and speech impediments-in confusion. When the one nun who is sensitive to Alice tragically vanishes from her life, the girl's isolation is compounded by grief. Then, through a fluke of mistaken identity, she discovers that she has an identical twin sister who does not suffer from disabilities and who has a loving, supportive adoptive family. As Alice struggles to find her place, the story struggles to deal with attitudes that seem dated and off-balance without really giving a sense of upstate New York in the 1960s. Supporting characters and issues are left dangling, although Alice, finally, is not; her sudden adoption in the last few pages is abrupt and unsettling. An imperfect book, but an unusual look at Catholic family values and at a troubled child.-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061232039
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/30/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 364,840
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.66 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregory Maguire is the author of several best-selling adult novels, including Wicked, which was turned into a Broadway musical. His books for younger readers include the picture book Crabby Cratchitt, the novel The Good Liar, and the popular Hamlet Chronicles series. While writing Leaping Beauty, Mr. Maguire sadly became allergic to all creatures great and small. Now he lives in a house without pets, though he is the father of three happy, noisy small children to whom, at this writing, he has not yet developed allergies.

Biography

Raised in a family of writers (his father was a journalist and his stepmother a poet), Gregory Maguire grew up with a great love of books, especially fairy tales and fantasy fiction. He composed his own stories from an early age and released his first book for children, The Lightning Time, in 1978, just two years after graduating from the State University of New York at Albany.

Several other children's book followed, but major recognition eluded Maguire. Then, in 1995, he published his first adult novel. A bold, revisionist view of Frank L. Baum's classic Oz stories, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West places one of literature's most reviled characters at the center of a dark dystopian fantasy and raises provocative questions about the very nature of good and evil. Purists criticized Maguire for tampering with a beloved juvenile classic, but the book received generally good reviews (John Updike, writing in The New Yorker, proclaimed it "an amazing novel.") and the enthusiasm of readers catapulted it to the top of the bestseller charts. (Maguire's currency increased even further when the book was turned into the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Wicked in 2003.)

In the wake of his breakthrough novel, Maguire has made something of a specialty out of turning classic children's tales on their heads. He retold the legends of Cinderella and Snow White in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (1999) and Mirror, Mirror (2003); he raised the ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge in Lost (2001); and, in 2005, he returned to Oz for Son of a Witch, the long-awaited sequel to Wicked. He has reviewed fantasy fiction for the Sunday New York Times Book Review and has contributed his own articles, essays, and stories to publications like Ploughshares, The Boston Review, the Christian Science Monitor, and The Horn Book Magazine.

In addition, Maguire has never lost his interest in -- or enthusiasm for -- children's literature. He is the author of The Hamlet Chronicles, a bestselling seven-book series of high-camp mystery-adventures with silly count-down titles like Seven Spiders Spinning and Three Rotten Eggs. He has taught at the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and is a founding member of Children's Literature New England (CLNE), a nonprofit organization that focuses attention on the significance of literature in the lives of children.

Good To Know

In our interview, Maguire shared some fun facts with us about his life:

"While I pride myself on trying to be creative in all areas of my life, I have occasionally gone overboard, like the time I decided to bring to a party a salad that I constructed, on a huge rattan platter, to look like a miniature scale model of the Gardens of Babylon. I built terraces with chunks of Monterey jack, had a forest of broccoli florets and a lagoon of Seven Seas salad dressing spooned into a half a honeydew melon. I made reed patches out of scallion tips and walkways out of sesame seeds lined with raisin borders. Driving to the party, I had to brake to avoid a taxi, and by the time the police flagged me down for poor driving skills I was nearly weeping. ‘But Officer, I have a quickly decomposing Hanging Gardens of Babylon to deliver....' Everything had slopped and fallen over and it looked like a tray of vegetable garbage."

"My first job was scooping ice cream at Friendly's in Albany, New York. I hated the work, most of my colleagues, and the uniform, and I more or less lost my taste for ice cream permanently."

"If I hadn't been a writer, I would have tried to be one of the following: An artist (watercolors), a singer/songwriter like Paul Simon (taller but not very much more), an architect (domestic), a teacher. Actually, in one way or another I have done all of the above, but learned pretty quickly that my skills needed more honing for me to charge for my services, and I'd always rather write fiction than hone skills."

"I steal a bit from one of my favorite writers to say, simply, that I enjoy, most of all, old friends and new places. I love to travel. Having small children at home now impedes my efforts a great deal, but I have managed in my time to get to Asia, Africa, most of Europe, and Central America. My wish list of places not yet visited includes India, Denmark, Brazil, and New Zealand, and my wish for friends not yet made includes, in a sense, readers who are about to discover my work, either now or even when I'm no longer among the living. In a sense, in anticipation, I value those friends in a special way."

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    1. Hometown:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 9, 1954
    2. Place of Birth:
      Albany, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., SUNY at Albany, 1976; M.A., Simmons College, 1978; Ph.D., Tufts University, 1990
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 34 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    good read

    It is a thin book, less than 200 pages. It has nothing to do with fairy tales. It was very interesting, and the ending was not what I expected, but I like it.
    Teens might like it. It is about nuns, adoptions and feelings.
    I would recommend this book to everyone

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    The book is a wonderful story of an orphan who really just wants

    The book is a wonderful story of an orphan who really just wants to be normal, but nothing in her life is. It reminds me a lot of the movie parent trap, except we are dealing with orphans who never knew the other existed. The book does not have a predictable ending which I enjoy. I read this book in one night and I will re-read it again. It reminds us to pay attention to the details of right now and here.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2000

    Well written!

    This book is a very well written one. It keeps you interested and lets you get into other people's lives and realize what it's been like. Miami and Alice are two perfect characters-for a wonderful book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

    Ehh

    It was an alright book but may have been better if they gave you more at the end instead of leaving you wanting

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Good story

    Some wisdom hidden here, something to be learned about accepting your circumstances


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