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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sisters, by Raina Telgemeier. Scholastic, 2014. $11.99 ages 8 and up

"Ha Ha! I love this creepy elf!
Look, I made this one at school!
You know we can't afford to buy
too many presents this year,
It's okay, Dad.

Just have SANTA
bring them all!"

For fans of Smile and Drama (and anyone else who has sister issues, loves graphic novels, or just longs for a good story), Raina Telgemeier has returned with a realistic and entertaining autobiographical tale about a three week family road trip from California to Colorado,  and back home again...with three kids, a mother, and a snake that is presumed dead or just lost in their van! It's full out fun for those who are reading their story...a nightmare if you have experienced anywhere close to the same thing!

I was very happy that I didn't have a sister when I was younger than I am now. I watched my friends fight with their sisters day after day...always at odds over clothes, hair, name it, they fought about it. Raina and Amara are not much different from those memories I have from childhood. Raina was sure she wanted a sister when she learned that her mother was going to have a baby. Amara did not live up to the expectations of her older sister.

They are very different, love to bicker about almost every little thing and are not looking forward to time spent in the car on their way to a family reunion. Raina loves the solitude of listening to music, headphones on and the world at bay. Amara is gregarious, loves animals and can't wait to be on the road. The trip is long, with some unforeseen difficulties. In the end, the two are able to take care of themselves when the car breaks down and their mother goes in search of help, young brother in tow. Together, they deal with some serious questions and a surprise visit from the much dreaded snake!

Their tale is both funny and serious...told in present and past. The yellowed frames for the time changes make the transitions easy to follow, and the scenarios play out well. Memories play a huge role in the storytelling, giving it a charm that we have come to expect from this talented artist. It is an honest account of the many highs and lows of family life, looking carefully at the challenges families face...together.

It's a story that doesn't take long to read; readers will, however, linger over the many details drawn on every page. Her family life is familiar, and uncomfortable in places. It's a very true depiction of life when you share the ups and downs of everyday living.
 Now, what's your story?

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