This British import is suffused with family secrets, beginning with the geography-obsessed narrator's real name-she goes by Mini, but hates her given name ("The snows on Mount Kilimanjaro, which, as you may know, is a very high triple volcano in Tanzania, could melt away entirely, but I will still not like my name"), which isn't revealed until the end. Mini, 12, and her older sister, Kate, play a fantasy travel game together, envisioning themselves in far-flung locales, and Kate attempts to protect Mini from her tempestuous arguments with their parents, even as Mini tries to figure out what the fights are about. Unpopular at school and feeling left out of the loop at home, Mini finally learns that her parents have mishandled a situation regarding her sister's adoption, after Kate runs away. Mini's ability to track down her missing sister lacks credibility, but she is a spirited and charismatic heroine, and her devotion to her sister fuels the book's emotional core. While the story drags in spots, readers will be drawn into this portrait of an unraveling family. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Secrets, Lies and My Sister Kateby Belinda Hollyer
Mini adores her older sister, Kate. Although they look nothing like each other, they are best friends-or so Mini thinks-until Kate begins to act strangely. She dresses in all black, picks bitter fights with her parents, and even gets a tattoo!
Belinda Hollyer warms the heart with this touching novel about the bond of two sisters and the true meaning of family.
Mini adores her older sister, Kate. Although they look nothing like each other, they are best friends-or so Mini thinks-until Kate begins to act strangely. She dresses in all black, picks bitter fights with her parents, and even gets a tattoo! Mini knows something is bothering her sister, but Kate won't confide in her like she used to. Then one day Kate disappears without a trace. In her determination to find her sister, Mini unveils a shocking family secret that paralyzes her parents with regret. Now it's up to Mini to find Kate and bring their broken family back together again.
In this British import, Mini, 12, offers an unfiltered take on her family as they navigate some bumpy psychological terrain. She adores her older sister, Kate, who still indulges Mini's love of a made-up game in which they take imaginary trips. Mini is a likable, forthright narrator who admits that most of her classmates find her obsession with geography odd. She's thrilled to make friends with a new student, Satch, and their bond is further strengthened because both have an embarrassing secret: he works to conceal his stutter and Mini's given name makes her cringe. She confides that the tension at home is becoming unbearable due to Kate's newly defiant behavior (she gets a tattoo, misses her curfew, etc.), and Satch reassures Mini that his family life is equally stormy. When Kate runs away, Satch helps Mini figure out how to find her and bring her home. Hints sprinkled through the story may tip readers off that Kate's troubles involve her being an adoptee (she's upset that news of her birth mother's death has been withheld from her), but Hollyer keeps the astute Mini unaware of this fact longer than is believable. Only Mini and Satch are fully drawn characters. However, the author is successful at building dramatic tension and exploring the trauma and drama of secrets and lies that accompany some adoptions. Readers interested in these issues and those seeking books about the angst of establishing independence from family will find a satisfying story here.-Deborah Vose, Highlands Elementary School, Braintree, MA
Meet the Author
Belinda grew up in a small harbour town in New Zealand: a glorious place to be a child. She shared a pony with her sisters, and spent most of her time reading, riding, and playing on the beach at the bottom of their road. (Even now, tidal water still tugs at her imagination.) Career-wise, Belinda has enjoyed different combinations of children and books - as a teacher, a librarian, a book publisher, and now as an almost-full-time writer. She has lived in Beirut, and Melbourne, and on the south coast in England, and now she mostly divides her time between London and Key West (in Florida). Belinda lives in Primrose Hill, North London, with her partner, Bruce.
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