The Sisterhood by A.J. Grainger

  The Sisterhood by A.J. Grainger, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2019. (9781481429061)

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3.5

Genre:  Mystery

What did you like about the book? Months ago, Lil’s sister Mella disappeared without a trace. While the police have largely given up hope, Lil continues to hold vigil for her sister, steadfastly believing that Mella is alive and will make her way home. During a terrible storm, Lil is riding her bike and almost hits a young girl who is laying in the road. The girl is wearing strange clothes, speaks about things in a way that Lil has never heard before, and acts as though she’s never seen many parts of Lil’s everyday life – but most importantly, she is absolutely terrified. As Lil and her friend Kiran care for the young girl and the storm rages on, they learn that she has come from a religious group in the wilderness, known as The Sisterhood. And while the girl speaks of them as a peaceful group of women, the burns on her arms and the fear in her voice tells Lil and Kiran otherwise. The more she learns about The Sisterhood, the more Lil must question if there is a connection to her sister’s disappearance.

I thought the atmosphere of this book was on point – raging storm, rolling Welsh hills, creepy cult in the forest. While the story plays out somewhat predictably, the writing is an incredibly honest portrayal of the way a teenage girl would deal with and process the loss of her sister. Lil is both naively saccharine (ie. Mella will come home and then everything will be ok again) and strongly hopeful (protecting the young girl in her charge, and trusting her gut to keep searching for Mella), and, in the course of the story, she is forced to step back and examine the warning signs that Mella was displaying before her disappearance. She comes to terms with the lesson that often there is no one person to blame for a tragedy, and that everyone must shoulder the blame in order to begin healing.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The only thing that was negative was that it was a bit predictable, and it wrapped up a little too neatly.

To whom would you recommend this book? I would recommend this book to anyone interested in contemporary YA mystery with a twist.

Who should buy this book? High schools and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? YA Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No, but it’s an enjoyable quick read that can be read in a couple of sittings

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Emily Tricco, Goodnow Library, Sudbury MA

Date of review: 3/2/19

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