Sisters - Raina Telgemeier

Let me begin with a little bit of back story. The first time I met Raina was during a conference in Vancouver, BC. She was one of our keynote speakers and at the time she was still raking in the acclaim for Smile. Only a short time later, I was serving on the Stonewall Book Awards committee for the American Library Association (ALA) when Drama came across my desk, and I found myself getting super excited as I read through. So, naturally, when I saw an ARC of Sisters at the most recent ALA conference, I did a little jig, giggled a bit, and drew more than a few stares. Needless to say, this will be a very positive review!

First of all, I love the cover, which mimics the comedy and tragedy masks, giving insight into the complexities at play within Raina Telgemeier's most recent graphic novel. In this book, Raina, her sister and brother, and her mother all get ready to go on a road trip to visit relatives. Her father isn't coming along, so it's just her and her sister in the back seat for most of the trip, and the drama (sorry, I couldn't resist the reference!) builds for the rest of the book.

What I love about this book in particular is that not only are readers treated to a dramatic exploration of sibling relationship dynamics, but Telgemeier also provides flashbacks throughout in order to give readers even more character development to enjoy. 

As a young girl, Raina wanted a sister. A sequence of images showing Raina's pleading with her parents culminates in a hilarious image that reflects the lack of forethought that so many young people have when the desire for a sibling enters their heads. The sisters, and later their brother, are so wonderfully rendered that I felt like I was growing up with them and taking part in their road trip adventure.

The road trip is fabulous and I couldn't help but relate. When Raina forgets to use the restroom at a gas station, only find out it's two hours to the next rest stop, and when the batteries on her walkman die, I laughed out loud. The whole book is at once funny and heartwarming, relatable and complex, dealing with sibling rivalry, parental separation, the death of pets, and even a rogue snake. Whether you are a fan of Raina Telgemeier from previous exposure to her other work, or if you're totally new to graphic novels, you will find much to love in Sisters.

Highly Recommended

(Note: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out August 26, 2014)


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