Missing Sisters

Missing Sisters

3.9 34
by Gregory Maguire

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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. See more details below

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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.

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
Ilene Cooper
At first glance, Alice Colossus doesn't have much going for her. An orphan, Alice also has speech and hearing impediments. Her best friend is one of the nuns who run the orphanage, the elderly Sister Vincent De Paul. When the sister is injured in a fire, Alice feels more lost than ever. What she needs is some sort of miracle, and it comes in a big way with the discovery of an identical twin sister she never knew she had, Miami Shaw. Though the plot sounds contrived, Maguire's story, set in 1968, is anything but, mostly because his characters transcend their material. Both girls are feisty and authentic voices, and the supporting players are so well drawn, they demand their time on stage as well. It's the nuns, though, that seem to have a special place in the writer's heart. Giving them names like Sister John Bosco and Sister Peter the Hermit, Maguire teases gently but also presents the nuns as real people underneath their habits, as quirky and alive as the rest of us. It is Sister Vincent De Paul who delivers the author's message, delivers it so well that readers may not know it's a message and be even more likely to take it to heart: "Don't mind the choices, Alice; mind the details! The smell of this bread! . . . Mind the moments, Alice, and the choices don't make a whit of difference."

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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