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The Almost Sisters: A Novel by Joshilyn…
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The Almost Sisters: A Novel

by Joshilyn Jackson

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Okay. I am just going to say it: I loved this book! There are three pairs of sisters: The main character, Leia, and her stepsister; Leia's beloved grandmother Birchie and her friend Wattie, both raised by the same mom although they are not related and one of them is white and one is black; and then the two graphic novel characters, Violence and Violet. There is also a cast of other friends and relatives -- wonderful, each and every one of them.

The small town is set in the South and skillfully painted: the dialogue, the intimacy, the traditions, the claustrophobia and the joy. The plot has unexpected twists and turns right up until the very end and they are not contrived, but brilliant! It made me laugh out loud and it made me cry. And I don't usually do either one when I am reading.

[Almost Sisters] deals with small town life, families, sisters, graphic novels, unplanned pregnancies, love, aging parents, church and race. Phew! There is so much packed into this one and Jackson does it soooo well. I could not put this one down and I was truly sad when it ended.

Best ER book I have received! Keep your eye out for it. ( )
  Berly | Jun 15, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Leia Birch Briggs is a comic book writer/illustrator who finds her own life in upheaval when she discovers she's pregnant after a tequila-infused one night stand with Batman. This particular Batman is black, so Leia will be raising a bi-racial baby in a somewhat conservative family. Life gets further complicated when she hears from the Birchville's grapevine (a town her ancestors established in Alabama) that her beloved grandmother Birchie is suffering from dementia. It all gets a bit worse when she heads to her sister Rachel's brunch to share her baby news with family and passes Rachel's husband Jay storming out the door, clothes packed in garbage bags - apparently the marriage is in trouble. Rachel needs time to get things together, so she implores Leia to take daughter Valentine with her to Birchville to see what's going on with Birchie, and figure out how Birchie's best friend Wattie managed to keep it all from her. And just when you think things could get any more convoluted, Birchie and Wattie unearth an old trunk from the attic and attempt to steal away with it in Leia's rental car. The car crashes at the end of the driveway, and when the trunk is opened, a full skeleton is revealed. Who is in the trunk and how did it end up in Birchie's attic?

This is a beautifully crafted novel, probably one of the best I've read this year and certainly one of the best LibraryThing Early Reviewers titles I have been awarded. There are more than one pair of almost sisters here. Leia and Rachel are step-siblings, Birchie and Wattie are like sisters even though Birchie is white and Wattie is black, because they were raised and nursed together by Wattie's mother. And threaded throughout this novel is the story of Violet and Violence, Leia's characters in her comic series. How these relationships work and don't work is a regular theme through the novel. We also examine the idea of racism, and how Leia both romanticizes this wonderful town of Birchville where she spent her summers as a child and how she sees the town as it is, part of the world in which her biracial son will grow up. Characters are richly drawn, people are funny, fun, happy, sad, confused, scared - in a word, real. Except, of course, when Birchie sees the bunnies, but you'll have to read the book to learn more about those. ( )
1 vote mikitchenlady | Jun 7, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Almost Sisters is a novel about long buried secrets, aging, sibling rivalry and so much more. When Leia gets a call about her 90 year old grandmother possibly having dementia, she rushes to her side. Leia is pregnant from a one night stand and the child will be biracial. Not sure how to tell her conventional family, she keeps the secret to herself. Meanwhile her stepsister is having marital troubles, so Leia takes her niece with her on the trip and lets it slip she is pregnant. When she arrives she discovers there are old secrets buried in the attic that she has to deal with along with her niece tracking down the baby's father and contacting him pretending to be Leia. A good story from one of my favorite authors. ( )
  Beecharmer | Jun 4, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Leia Birch Briggs's life is upside down. She has contracted to write a prequel of her popular graphic novel and has absolutely no ideas. The reports she is getting about her Grandmother are distressing. Leia is on her way to get things in order to move her grandmother to assisted living. On top of all this she is pregnant from a one night stand and has no idea how to contact the baby's father or tell her family. Because her stepsister's marriage is falling apart, Leia finds her 13 year old niece Lavender coming along to with her. When she arrives she finds Birchie and her long time friend Wattie determined to fight her all the way on leaving the family home. Birchie and Wattie become desperate and try to escape, but a discovery sets off a chain of events that can't be stopped. Birchie and Wattie' story, at times heartbreaking, is told with humor and honesty. This author always delivers a great story with characters that you know are going to pull your heartstrings. ( )
  Nise | May 21, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I loved Leia as a person. She would fit right in to my nerd troupe, and I really felt connected to her. I also lost both of my grandmothers to dementia, and parts of the novel really hit me in the gut. The mystery weaved through the novel kept me reading at a furious pace.

On another note: Digby? Seriously? You want to call you son Digby? My generation is saddling kids with some outrageously stupid names, but Digby is is so embarrassing. I feel bad for the poor kid, and he's not even real.

This will probably appeal to readers of family-drama type books, though I could certainly see it having a wide appeal to all kinds of readers. Right on time for lazy summer reading. ( )
  LISandKL | May 21, 2017 |
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For Jacques de Spoelberch
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My son, Digby, began at exactly 3:02 in the morning on the first Friday in June.
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