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Brother/Sister
     

Brother/Sister

3.0 8
by Sean Olin
 

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Will and Asheley have a troubled past. Their father left them when they were little, and their mother has just been carted off to an alcohol treatment center. Now, they have the house to themselves, and an endless California summer stretching out before them. Through alternating perspectives, they tell the story of how and why their lives spun violently out of control

Overview

Will and Asheley have a troubled past. Their father left them when they were little, and their mother has just been carted off to an alcohol treatment center. Now, they have the house to themselves, and an endless California summer stretching out before them. Through alternating perspectives, they tell the story of how and why their lives spun violently out of control - right up to the impossibly shocking conclusion you'll have to read for yourself to believe.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Olin (Killing Britney) never quite approaches the lurid level of taboo that the title, tagline ("Just give them a chance to explain"), and cover art suggest, but an escalating crime spree and two unreliable narrators ought to hold readers' attention. Siblings Will and Asheley are both outcasts, although Asheley, with her surfer boyfriend and membership on the softball team, is clearly the better adjusted of the two. Their alcoholic mother's frequent trips to rehab don't help their social status, and it's during one of these stints that they decide to throw a party. When Asheley's boyfriend, Craig, assaults her, Will steps in, with fatal consequences. They cover up their actions—and the consequences of that choice, as well as Will's escalating and creepy jealousy over his sister, lead to more danger for the siblings and those around them. Olin adeptly captures two distinct and occasionally contradictory teenage voices, subtly establishing their untrustworthiness, but neither the book's setup (two teens providing hours of minutiae to Mexican police) nor a last-sentence twist serves the story well. Ages 14–up. (June)
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Teen siblings Ashley and Will have crossed the line. As they are being interrogated by the police, each reveals in alternating chapters their version of what happened. We know almost immediately that people are dead, and we eventually learn how they got that way. Ashley tells us right off the bat, "You have to understand, I love my brother. I'm scared of him too, but...That's why this is so hard" (p.3). Will, on the other hand, believes he is trying to protect his sister from all the awful men who want nothing more than to use and discard her. On his way out the door and out of their lives, their dad told six-year old Will that he was now responsible for the family. Barely four years old at the time, Ashley has retained only fond—and, according to Will, delusional—memories of their father. Mom is a destructive alcoholic, whose most recent relapse triggers the final collapse of this fragile family structure. When Will finds Ashley's boyfriend roughly grappling her at a party, he takes a swing with his golf club and suddenly realizes he has killed him. His paranoia about others' malignant intentions toward Ashley grows with every passing day, while Ashley's guilt over concealing the crime eats away at her. Meanwhile she is trying to keep Will from going off the rails. Macabre multiple murders, short chapters and plausible dialog will easily hook teen readers, but this tale could also fuel conversation about addictions and mental illness in the family with some guidance. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Asheley and Will are essentially alone in the world. Their alcoholic mother is in rehab, and her pothead boyfriend is an occasional (and hungry) presence, showing up only at mealtimes. In alternating first-person chapters, the teens tell the story of how their unstable family contributes to Will's unraveling—and murder of three people. Both of their narratives take the form of confessions to the police. They are monologues peppered with the phrases "I don't know" and "you know?" The writing is strong and the voices realistic, but it may take readers several chapters to adjust to this disjointed style. Early on, Will asserts that he will "explain" everything that happened so readers can understand why he killed. However, when they learn that his sexual obsession with his sister is the motivation for the crimes, most readers will feel even more alienated from him. Will is too deranged a character to be a hero, and remains as enigmatic at the end as in the beginning. Throughout the book, Asheley is portrayed as a victim of circumstance, although her final departure from Will is a victory worth cheering for. Adults won't find many surprises in the plot, but teens might find the twists shocking. This is a book about a world as raw and ugly as can be—which, for some teenagers, will be its appeal.—Jess deCourcy Hinds, Bard High School Early College Queens, Long Island City, NY
Kirkus Reviews

When Ashley and Will's violently drunk-ass mom is institutionalized by her strange, stoner boyfriend for the umpteenth time, the two siblings are left to fend for themselves.

Will is a sensitive, protective, outsider type with a penchant for golf clubs and harbors a serious anger-control problem; his knockout sister Ashley plays softball and tends to fall for douchebags who are more interested in getting into her pants than into her heart. Alone and left to their own devices, the two throw a house party that quickly moves from a drunken bash to a brawl to bloodshed. Melodrama reigns in the first 100 or so pages, and Olin packs on the "oh-no-she-didn't" moments heavier than an episode of Jerry Springer, which teen readers will adore. The tensions that arise are obviously forced, but readers won't care as the body count soars—fans of Olin's previous effort, Killing Britney (2004), will know he spares no one.Listening to the alternating voices of the siblings, astute readers might find themselves wondering whether this narrative conceit is a medium for confession or if it's simply moving the plot along.

Most readers won't care, however. As soon as the first unfortunate skull is cracked open, they'll be catapulted head first into a world so ridiculously twisted that they won't know what hit them. (Horror. 14 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101535219
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
06/09/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
248
File size:
260 KB
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Sean Olin is the author of Killing Britney, a 2005 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. He lives in New York City.

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Brother - Sister 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
*Spoiler Alert* ? Alright, after giving this book a chance it was nothing like I expected. This was a brother/sister team gone wrong. First off, there was no incest. Let me clarify a bit. Will did make advances toward his sister, but she knew it was wrong. She ran away as soon as she can get away from him. Will was in love with Asheley. He went off the charts crazy. He relied on her because he had no one else. Asheley has no idea what Will was feeling. Poor Asheley didn't even realize what was going on until it was too late. Will's feelings went haywire for her. Basically he was psycho. Now the way the book was written is great. The reader gets to see Will's downfall and gets to see his feelings for Asheley as they progressed. You felt his helplessness as Asheley tries to veer away from him. At a point I can understand the need for someone there but he took everything in the wrong way. Asheley knew something was not right but did not want to think badly of her brother. She loved him and wanted to be there for him. But not in the way he was thinking. In the end, Asheley loved her brother and did what is right for him. She knew something went wrong and did her best to help him out. Even when it hurt her, she had to turn him in for the crimes he committed. It's a great book. There was cursing, drinking, but no sexually incest. Just a love gone wrong.
Book_WhispererJO More than 1 year ago
WOW! Simply there are no better words to sum up my review for this book. While I will not just leave you with that one word I struggle with what exactly to say. First off, nothing that I have to add about this novel says that it is awful or horrifying. Although, twisted is the word at the forefront of my mind for explaining what the concepts of this novel with leave on the reader. Will and Ashley are very neglected and abused children. With the abuse varying between mental and physical it seems from the start that these kids will not catch a break. One would be right in this prediction. If anything the story only becomes more wicked and vicious as the story progresses. The reality of this story is not for the weak at heart; many will steer clear of this novel for that fact alone. This is a book for someone that this not looking for someone building a happily ever after, and not looking for the sweet and innocent read. One that is in search of something that will stretch their minds to the limit; while pressing the boundary of what society will look at as acceptable. This is a terrible and frightening ride that will have readers at the edge of their seats throughout the last page. With a last minute twist that will have you with more questions than answers.
MargaretWL More than 1 year ago
I have not read the book, but in considering a request for purchase by a student, I am concerned about the language content. While I am totally prudish about word, there are some that I resist putting on my library shelves. Can someone help with that in a review of the book? I had to rate or not submit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so amazing i finished it in a day and the end is just... too much. Good if you like mysteries!
wheezie More than 1 year ago
Brother/Sister is a book like no other for adults. Each with their own side of the story, the chapters alternate between Will, the introverted older brother of Asheley, the friendly softball jock. With their mother spending another trip in rehab, the story of Will and Asheley unravel. Once you get to the end, you won't know whats up or down, and who is right and wrong..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book started out good, characters were relateable. Ended badly and out of nowhere.
JeAxra More than 1 year ago
Through half of the book I couldn't quite decide how I'd felt about it. It was very predictable with nothing very catching about it. Though I did like how it becomes clear very early that the story is being told as a police interrogation without any words being printed from the officers doing the questioning. I'd spent over half of the read sure it was ok, but not something I'd be excited about or even recommend. How wrong I was. This is one of those books where you know exactly how it's going to end, but, assuming you get through the first half, need to know how it got there. After about page 150 (thought I can't be sure that will be the same in the final printing) Brother/Sister starts to morph into a twisted and intriguing tale of how easily the mind can bend and break and become filled with sickness created only out of love, how easily the world can slip right through your fingers, loosing all control over your life and the lives of those around you. After awhile I couldn't even stand to read Will's side of the story, even finding myself feeling sick about it. I didn't care about the awful things he'd endured or that it was pure mental sickness and over devotion that led him to such awful things. However, after all of these things come to light and the tale went directions I'd either not expected or desperately wanted to believe wouldn't happen, I had to keep reading. The big twist at the end is so slight you could easily miss it. In once sentence you will be rethinking everything you've just read. I loved how well it displayed how loving someone too much can be a very dangerous thing. The ending isn't spoon-fed, you have to only imagine what happens after. I don't wish to ruin the whole story for anyone so I'll not say too much more. I will say that this IS a book I would easily recommend to any young adult reader. Definitely worth a read.
KidLitWriter More than 1 year ago
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! Asheley and Will live with an alcoholic mother who has been dragged off to rehab for a couple of months and her friend, a daddy wanna-be who tries to keep an eye on them by popping in every now and then. The two teens essentially have no adult supervision for the summer. Will is socially inept for reasons unclear. He is dependent on Asheley for everything, but believes he is her guardian and savior. His lust for his sister is palpable from the beginning but only acted on near the "end." Asheley is a typical teenager in high school. She has friends and a boyfriend and enjoys hanging out with them. She understands Will and tries to help him socially. Will is only concerned with pleasing Asheley. While out hitting golf balls over a cliff, to avoid the party he and Asheley are throwing in the house, Will hears his sister's cries and goes to her rescue. Asheley's boyfriend Craig is raping her. Will bashes Craig over the head with his golf club, saving Asheley but killing Craig. At Will's direction, Asheley helps throw Craig off the cliff and into the bay. This one incident unleashes an evil part of Will that also becomes increasingly paranoid and delusional. In all he kills three people and then runs off to Mexico with Asheley uncomfortably and forcibly taken along. Will tells her their father called and wants to see them. Asheley is thrilled and believes her father will be able to help them get out of the messes Will has made. Instead, things go from bad to worse. Will inappropriately touches and kisses his sister. She runs away determined to walk to her father's home. When she realizes dad never called, never asked to see them and wishes they would just leave, Asheley decides the police are a better option than Will. In the middle of a statement to the Mexican police the story simply stops. No ending, just empty white paper. No Ending, thus the two stars. This story does not have an ending. It does not satisfy or even attempt to make closure. There is a beginning that raises interest and a middle story that keeps the reader guessing, but no ending. I really wish authors would finish their story before sending it to print. If they do not know the ending then wait until you figure it out instead of foisting it on unsuspecting readers, causing frustration. This is a waste of time to read, unless you like stories that just stop, worse, in midsentence. At least movies with no real ending attach "The End" so we know it is over. If this is a ploy for a sequel, it is a terrible injustice to the reader. Author's need to understand that readers spend a good chunk of time reading their books and when there is no ending, and worse, when the book just stops, the reader becomes frustrated. We have just wasted time on you and you did not deliver. Writing 101: beginning, middle, and end. Know your craft. Do not disappoint your readers else, you may not have any for the next book. Without an ending, with stopping in mid-sentence, I cannot recommend this book to anyone. Without an ending, it is a waste of time to read. Frustration is what you can expect to feel when the words simply stop. Note: book received from publisher