In this companion to Telgemeier’s Smile, the graphic artist writes about her relationship with her younger sister, Amara, using a summer cross-country trip as narrative scaffolding as she examines the contrast between her childhood wish for a sister and life with a sibling she often can’t fathom—although Amara seems to have uncanny insight into her. “You ever feel like you just don’t fit in?” Raina asks Amara at a family gathering full of contemptuous teenage cousins. “All the time,” Amara replies. “The difference between you and me is, I don’t care.” Like Smile, it’s an alternately poignant and laugh-out-loud funny account of pre-adolescence whose episodes range from small crimes (Raina lying to Amara so she doesn’t have to share her art supplies) to acute crises (Amara’s pet snake Mango on the loose in the family’s VW Microbus). Underneath the immediate problems lies poignant uncertainty about the state of their parents’ marriage. Though the artwork draws little attention to itself, Telgemeier’s visual storytelling skills are well-honed, and readers will be left wishing for more. Ages 8–12. Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Raina can't wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren't quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she's also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn't improve much over the years, but when a baby brother enters the picture and later, something doesn't seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all.
Raina uses her signature humor and charm in both present-day narrative and perfectly placed flashbacks to tell the story of her relationship with her sister, which unfolds during the course of a road trip from their home in San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado.
* "A wonderfully charming tale of family and sisters that anyone can bond with." Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Alternately poignant and laugh-out-loud funny." Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Telgemeier's art complements her writing to great effect, offering a cheerful, vivid cartoon simplicity that allows readers to instantly engage even as it leaves room for deeper truths to take hold." Booklist, starred review
* "A must-have follow-up to Smile." School Library Journal, starred review
Sisters is a quick read as well as a fun one. Telgemeier uses her expressive, cartoon-style drawings to bring context and emotion to the minimal text, which is almost entirely dialogue. I love her work, not because it is exotic or unusual, but because she writes stories we have all lived, and tells them in a way that feels uncomfortable yet transcendent. Sisters is about ordinary family conflict, about things never going exactly to plan. But that is life. The profound thing Raina discovers is that we do not have to navigate the difficulties alone. Whether we are born into one or find one later in life, we have families.
Gr 4 Up—Telgemeier has returned with a must-have follow-up to Smile (Scholastic, 2010) that is as funny as it is poignant, and utterly relatable for anyone with siblings. This realistic graphic memoir tells the story of Raina; her sister, Amara; and her brother, Will, as they take a road trip with their mother from California to Colorado to join a family reunion. The author's narrative style is fresh and sharp, and the combination of well-paced and well-placed flashbacks pull the plot together, moving the story forward and helping readers understand the characters' point of view. The volume captures preadolescence in an effortless and uncanny way and turns tough subjects, such as parental marriage problems, into experiences with which readers can identify. This ability is what sets Telgemeier's work apart and makes her titles appealing to such a wide variety of readers. Not only does the story relay the road trip's hijinks, but it also touches on what happens with the advent of a new sibling and what it means to be truly sisters. Fans of the graphic novelist's work will be sure to delight in this return to the Telgemeier's family drama.—Krishna Grady, Darien Library, CT
Two sisters who are constantly at odds take a family road trip that covers more ground—both literally and figuratively—than they expect.After begging her parents for a sister, Raina gets more than she bargained for once Amara is born. From the moment she was brought home, Amara hasn't been quite the cuddly playmate that Raina had hoped. As the years pass, the girls bicker constantly and apparently couldn't be more unalike: Raina spends her time indoors underneath her headphones, and Amara loves animals and the outdoors. The girls, their mother and their little brother all pack up to drive to a family reunion, and it seems like the trip's just going to be more of the same, with the girls incessantly picking on each other all the way from San Francisco to Colorado. However, when the trip doesn't go quite as planned—for a number of reasons—the girls manage to find some common ground. Told in then-and-now narratives that are easily discernable in the graphic format, Telgemeier's tale is laugh-out-loud funny (especially the story about the snake incident) and quietly serious all at once. Her rounded, buoyant art coupled with a masterful capacity for facial expressions complements the writing perfectly. Fans of her previous books Smile (2010) and Drama (2012) shouldn't miss this one; it's a winner.A wonderfully charming tale of family and sisters that anyone can bond with. (Graphic memoir. 7-13)
- 2015 Children's Choice Book Award->Grades 3-4 Finalists
- 2015 Eisner Award Winners
- Best Writer/Artist->Eisner Awards
- Brothers & Sisters - Kids
- Comic Books & Graphic Novels - Kids Fiction
- New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2014
- New York Times Notable Middle Grade Books of 2014
- Washington Post Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2014