Friday, June 5, 2015


"Be careful what you wish for" is a widespread idiom that plays out in Sisters, a memoir by Raina Telgemeier that is a "companion" to her wildly success Smile. The book details a family road trip that is full of annoyances, wonder, and travails. It also contains lots of flashback scenes marked by the sepia toned backgrounds, like pages from a yellowed book. From those, we see that Raina really, really, really wanted a sister.
Well, after she gets one she finds that things are not all that swell. Her little sister Amara likes throwing her toys. They bicker over art supplies and space to draw and play. They have to share a bedroom, which creates more tension, and their personalities just don't seem to mesh all that much. Just take a look at this scene from the road to see what I am talking about.

What I really enjoyed about this book is how well it captures a whole bunch of small but very relatable moments. As an older sibling myself, I can remember many similar situations and scuffles with my sisters. Also, the characters are nuanced in ways that they are all realistic and very human, not completely good or bad. I liked that there were many shades of grey. The artwork is clean, well paced, bright, and it conveys much emotion and energy. Sisters is an all around enjoyable and well-made graphic novel.

Raina Telgemeier has been nominated for Eisner and Ignatz Awards, and she won an Eisner for Smile. She has also created the YA graphic novel Drama and drawn four adaptations of The Babysitter's Club books, which have garnered accolades from the Young Adult Library Services Association and the American Library Association.  Telgemeier talks about her inspiration behind Sisters in this interview. Or if you would rather read an interview with her about the book, you can go here.

All of the reviews I have read about this book have been very positive. Brigid Alverson commented that the author "wraps some larger truths in the minutiae of everyday life, creating a story that many readers will be able to relate to, in its bitter moments as well as its warmer ones." Maya Van Wagenen wrote, "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." Kirkus Reviews gave it a starred review and summed it up as "A wonderfully charming tale of family and sisters that anyone can bond with."

Sisters was published by Scholastic, and they have information about the book here. They have posted a video preview of the book here.

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