Author: Jamie Kain
Genre: Young Adult/Fiction
The Good Sister: ★★★★/5
Wow. I really loved this book and I can’t really pinpoint why I do. Well, maybe I can and a few of the reasons are subjective and circumstantial, BUT a lot of the reasons are not.
First and foremost, if you are born into a family with three children (especially three girls), read it. I just so happen to be the middle child of three sisters. A lot of people say that the middle child syndrome is a stereotype, but really people…a stereotype only emerges because there are so many damn people who fit it! (I totally fit the middle child stereotype BTW, and I embrace it!) I’ll go more into, Rachel, the middle child later in my brief character analysis section.
One thing I really did enjoy that the author did on a literary level was the way she tied loose ends and resolved all the conflicts (even the small minor ones that you thought she might forget). I’m a stickler for this, because I hate to read a book and at the end of it be like…”Hey, what happened to so-and-so…” or “Why did this happen then?” You get the point. It was really heartfelt and will definitely resonate with readers with siblings with a bit of rivalry and sibling hatred (all siblings have/are experiencing this, and if don’t think so…then you’re in denial).
The book is separated by chapters told in the three different viewpoints of each of the sisters. Sarah is the oldest sister who died, so she’s given the least amount of pages, but just enough for a dead girl. Rachel is the middle sister, and she gets just that, a medium amount of the book. Asha is the youngest sister, and like all youngest children, they get everything (jk…that was a really melodramatic middle child comment to say haha). I really liked this aspect of the book; the different views allowed me to step into each of their lives and really understand the spectrum of their feelings surrounding a single event. The perspectives were well written and decipherable, even if the chapters weren’t titled the name of the sister it was told in.
The book was a tad bit slow for me in the beginning, but it became increasingly interesting as I read on. The first few chapters of Asha and Rachel sometimes too similar for me, but as they developed as characters I noticed their own personal quirks and personalities that made them unique. Actually, every character in this book was believable, which is pretty rare for me to say.
SARAH: Sarah is the oldest sister. She was diagnosed with cancer, survived, then re-diagnosed with it again, but that’s not what killed her (because that would be too obvious, duh). I won’t say how she died because there’s a lot of shrouded mystery around it and I don’t want to spoil it for you. Anyways, she’s genuinely kind and even though she wasn’t given as many pages, I still read enough to like her.
RACHEL: Rachel is the middle sister. Anyways, she’s basically a flirtatious bitch that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the world or the people in it; she knows it, she owns it, and she revels in it. Though, she does have, albeit a small one, guiding compass at times and isn’t completely coldhearted; she has glimpses of compassion that many people wouldn’t notice. She’s the misunderstood one who acts the way she does not particularly because she wants to, but because it’s a defense mechanism. Anyways, she’s kind of the antagonist that readers will find they like in the end.
ASHA: Asha is the youngest sister. Most of the book is led by her and her struggle to find reasons or meaning from Sarah’s death. She takes it the hardest as life becomes pointless to her. Asha’s character makes me think of vanilla ice cream–she goes with every situation, but makes her presence known in the process. (PS. I love Sin, her best friend).
There wasn’t one physical evil villain, except maybe their mom, Lena (ugh, hate that woman). The villain was death–why it happens, how it happens, what happens after, how fates are connected, and a few enlightened ideas of the afterlife (one of them, I found super intriguing!). Overall the plot was written with a natural and believable flow. It felt as if I was watching life as it happened (through Sarah’s passed eyes) and I think that’s what made the book so special, that it didn’t really feel like a book at all, but a real life, and in the end that’s what an author wants a reader to feel.
4/5 for this wonderful book. One of the few contemporary fiction books that I’ve read, but definitely one that I would recommend you to read! Loved it and I hope anyone who reads it does too!
BUY IT ON AMAZON