Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Raina Telgemeier returns in this companion to Smile.  Raina always wanted a sister, but Amara isn't the fun friend to play with Raina had in mind!  Amara is grouchy and likes to keep to herself.  Their relationship only becomes more strained as they get older.  It all comes to a head when they're trapped on a family car trip from San Francisco to Colorado.

As with all of Raina Telgemeier's books, this was cute and sweet and thoughtful.  I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Smile or Drama, perhaps I had unrealistically high expectations.  I just didn't feel like there was a much to this one as there was to the others.  And the ending felt unfinished and sudden.  I still loved reading it, and fans of Raina's will be delighted with this.

Raina's siblings don't come into Smile very much.  Smile is mostly focused on Raina's relationships with her friends.  In Sisters, we get to see the family dynamics.  The book goes back and forth between the present day with Raina, Amara, their little brother and their mother setting off on the road trip, and when Raina and Amara were little.  We get to see Raina as a toddler wishing for a sister, and her disappointment that Amara didn't turn out to be the sister she was hoping for.  We see Amara's personality beginning to develop, which is a demanding, independent, and rather grouchy one.  Both sisters have a love for drawing, but it doesn't seem to be something they can share and do together.

The family is going to visit Raina's mother's sister, who they haven't seen in years, and Raina will get to spend time with her cousins.  She's very anxious about fitting in and making sure they like her.  Amara doesn't care.  Raina has learned to tune out problems at home, which include her parent's constant fighting, Amara's tantrums, and her little brother's general noise, by listening to music.  Music is clearly an important part of her life, but she comes to realize that she's missing out on a lot by plugging herself in.

As the family returns home, Raina's mother tells the siblings that she and their father need some time apart.  Raina is surprised, but Amara isn't.  The book ends with the hope that the sisters will begin to support each other more.

The ARC I had wasn't in full color yet, but the pages that were in color had a slightly darker color pallet.  More greens and browns and yellows than her others, I think.  As with her other graphic novels, the story is told through standard panels with Raina's adorable and friendly looking characters.

Sisters comes out August 26, 2014.

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