The Good Sister

By Jamie Kain
Published on October 7 2014
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Net Galley 
The Kinsey sisters live in an unconventional world. Their parents are former flower-children who still don’t believe in rules. Their small, Northern California town is filled with free spirits and damaged souls seeking refuge from the real world. Without the anchor of authority, the three girls are adrift and have only each other to rely on.

Rachel is wild. Asha is lost. Sarah, the good sister, is the glue that holds them together. But the forces of a mysterious fate have taken Sarah’s life in a sudden and puzzling accident, sending her already fractured family into a tailspin of grief and confusion. Asha has questions. Rachel has secrets. And Sarah, waking up in the afterlife, must piece together how she got there
The Good Sister is not the kind of novel I usually read, but I'm so glad I found it. Through the alternating voices of all three sisters, Kain creates a family where not everything is as it seems. It's a complex novel about the complexities of life, written in a style you might associate with novels written for adults, but accessible to older teens as well.

This novel is jam-packed with real life issues that teens face. Among them: Cancer, suicide, drugs and alcohol, divorce, questioning religion, sex, romantic love, and complex family dynamics. You might think that a novel full of so many heavy topics might feel unrealistic and weighed down by drama, but Kain does an excellent job of making them all relevant and real for the Kinsey sisters.

The Good Sister had me hooked from page one. I spent much of the novel on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what was going to happen next. As secrets unfolded and the sisters' lives unraveled, I found myself reader faster and faster, until I had devoured the last half in about two days.

It's really hard for me to explain how I feel about this book. In fact, it's really hard for me to explain what this book is about. Even the blurb provided by the publisher doesn't do it justice. Be prepared to cringe, cry, and laugh a lot.

Be aware that although younger teens may not be prepared for the amount of swearing, alcohol, drugs, and sex in this book, none of it is gratuitous and all if it helps develop the characters as three sisters with very unique personalities. High school-aged teens who want to read about something other than vampires, cheerleaders, and mushy romance should love this one.

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