Strengths: very emotive, tense and gripping.
Weaknesses: Possibly too much of an emotional rollercoaster at times.
Why I read it: Cheap on Amazon.co.uk
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Setting: London, England
Rating: 9 out of 10
If you liked this, try: My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult; Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster
Sister is one of those books that deserves to be read in big, greedy gulps. It takes the reader on a roller coaster of emotions – from worry to shock to horror and back again. Although I found this a harrowing and moving read, the emotion was beautifully raw and honest. This is a great book and an excellent debut from Rosamund Lupton. A little bit Gothic and a little bit thriller, this was a page turner for me.
Sister is the story of Beatrice (Bee), who returns home to London from New York when her sister, Tess goes missing. Tess is about to give birth, so where could she be? Exactly what was going on in Tess’ life before her disappearance? Who is the boy following her around college? What is the nature of the relationship with her teacher? When Tess is later found dead in a lonely ablutions block, Bee wants these questions and more answered. The police don’t seem to be terribly interested and Bee herself is getting into more and more trouble. But Tess is her sister and she’ll do anything to protect her…
The story is told in the first person from Bee’s point of view as a letter to her sister, moving back in time to when Tess disappeared and then forward to Bee giving her statement. This is an interesting plot device, as you know that something will be resolved by the end of the block. The real twist however, is how the past joins up with the present – certainly original and something I did not expect in the slightest. Very well done. The only confusion I had with the jumping back and forth in time was that it was occasionally difficult to put the scene into context – possibly another font could have been used for the present, but I think this may have detracted away from the Gothic eeriness that envelopes Sister. Some of the medicine used is too futuristic for today, but thankfully this is explained in the author’s notes at the end.
The love between the two sisters is clearly evident in this book. Bee does everything out of love for Tess, even when she knows she is dead. The feelings are portrayed beautifully and I admire Bee’s fierce determination to seek the truth about Tess’ death through her grief, even if nobody believes her. You may think I’m giving too much away about the plot, but I’m not. This book is more about the search for justice for Tess’ death and how it came about rather than if she is murdered or missing. The characterisation is also very well done – Bee is certainly not without her faults (although her clear love for Tess redeems her somewhat) and the supporting characters are alternately charming or the right side of nasty.
A great book and gripping read. Can’t wait to read Afterwards (the author’s new book).