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Smaller Sister (edition 2022)
by Maggie Edkins Willis (Author), Maggie Edkins Willis (Illustrator)
Smaller Sister by Maggie Edkins Willis
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Smaller Sister is graphic novel that communicates the importance of sisterhood and self-awareness. I think this book would be a great addition to Health Education classes. It highlights a variety of pressures that pre-teens and teens face in their lives at school and home. As many other readers have stated in their reviews, this book and its themes are necessary for young readers.
Full review posted at https://readingbeyondthebookcover.com/october-2022-reading-wrap-up/.
I wasn’t expecting this book to have such depth and to wield it well in its narrative. It took me through the emotions of watching someone you love battle with an eating disorder and how easy it could be to succumb to one yourself. But it wasn’t depressing. There’s lovable sisterhood, middle school drama, and the relatable awkwardness of growing up. I think this is perfect for middle school readers or anyone really.
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
I know some would argue that graphic novels don’t count as actual reading, however, if you want a perfect example of just how wrong those people are, this would be it. The depth of story and emotion found in Smaller Sister’s powerhouse combination of writing and illustrations is comparable to any great novel.
I thought this was so well done, from the pacing to the heartbreaking struggles and the inspiring growth of these girls, and there was an added poignancy every once in a while when you’d catch a glimpse of what the mom is going through as well, the focus is mainly on youngest daughter, Lucy, yet the author does a fantastic job of relaying the effect that eating disorders and self-esteem issues inflict on this entire family.
There’s a realism to the emotions and situations in this one that is undoubtedly difficult to read at times, but there are also warm fuzzy bits of sisterhood and ultimately some supportive friends every girl should be blessed to find. That lifelike balance between darkness and hope helped make Smaller Sister one of my favorite reads of the year so far.
Lucy's always looked up to her big sister, Olivia. But then, Olivia starts to change and Lucy discovers that her sister is not just growing up: she's struggling with an eating disorder. Lucy has always looked up to her big sister, but now with her family focused on helping Livvy, Lucy has to figure out middle school, making friends, and dealing with a mean classmate all on her own. But with time, work, and a dose of self-love, both sisters begin to heal. Soon enough, Olivia and Lucy find their way back to each other--because sisters are the one friend you can never leave behind.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)741.5973 — The arts Graphic arts and decorative arts Drawing & drawings Cartoons, Caricatures, Comics Collections North American United States (General)
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Just when I was sure the old Olivia, the sister I had before the eating disorder and the new schools and the big move, was gone forever....She came back. (181)
"I was just looking at myself in the mirror."
"Mm-hmm. I think you were being HARD on yourself in the mirror." (Lucy and camp counselor Pamela, 286)
"Every person has a body, Luce. No matter what size you are, you can only get so much bigger or so much smaller. If you're constantly worried about making yourself thinner, then you're defined by something that is literally the opposite of growth." (Pamela, 289)
None of my friends from camp went to my school, but just the fact they existed was a reminder that there were people out there in the world that were a fit for me.... When I looked in the mirror, it was the same old me looking back. But I was just a little more okay with who I saw. (302-3) ( )