Friday, April 3, 2009

Review: The September Sisters

Summary: Abigail Reed and her younger sister, Becky, are always at each other's throats. Their mother calls them the September Sisters, because their birthdays are only a day apart, and pretends that they're best friends. But really, they delight in making each other miserable. Then Becky disappears in the middle of the night, and a torn gold chain with a sapphire heart charm is the only clue to the mystery of her kidnapping. Abby struggles to cope with her own feelings of guilt and loss as she tries to keep her family together. When her world is at its bleakest, Abby meets a new neighbor, Tommy, who is dealing with his own loss, and the two of them discover that love can bloom, even when it's surrounded by thorns.

This exquisitely written first novel illustrates life as it truly is—filled with fear and danger, hope and love, comfort and uncertainty. -- Harper Teen

I have not read a lot of YA fiction in my adult life, and I'm starting to realize that I've really been missing out. The latest YA book that I have really enjoyed is THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS by Jillian Cantor. I think that one of the things that I love the most about having a blog is that I'm discovering new genres, new books and new authors.

I found THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS to be a terrific book! While I definitely can say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, this story also touched me deeply. Since this book is about the a young girl who goes missing, I knew it was going to be sad and, at times, very troubling to read. (I mean, isn't losing a child every parents' worst nightmare?) What I especially appreciated about this book was that if wasn't about the abduction so much as it was about how the disappearance affected the remaining family members, especially Abby the older sister.

One thing that I found so heartwarming about this story was the character of Abby. The book was told through her young eyes, and she was a perfect narrator. She was the more quieter and perhaps even plainer daughter (or at least that's how she perceived herself); and her life was forever changed when her sister was kidnapped. I absolutely adored Abby because she was such a special child. I found her strength and resilience to be admirable and I won't be forgetting her any time in the near future.

The book covered about two years of Abby's life (from the ages of 12 to 14) and in so many ways, this book was really a coming-of-age story for Abby. The reader not only saw her deal with the disappearance of her sister, but also saw her grow up in so many ways. She had to handle her father's over protectiveness, her mother's depression, being ostracized at school, and even the ups and downs in the search for her sister. Needless to say, these things go way beyond what any teenager should have to deal with -- aren't the teenage years hard enough anyway?Yet the reader also got to see Abby experience the "normal" things that happen to teenage girls such as discovering boys and even falling in love.

THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS is Jillian Cantor's first novel, and I have a feeling that it's just the beginning to a wonderful career as an author. Her journey to becoming a published author is a great story which shows how important it is to never give up -- you can read more about it here. Ms. Cantor graduated from Penn State before heading to the University of Arizona for their MFA program. Of course, she holds a special place in my heart since we are both Penn State grads --fellow Nittany Lions have to stay together. She is currently working on her second YA novel which is scheduled for release in Winter 2010. I know I can't wait to read it! If you want to learn more about Ms. Cantor, you can also check out her blog.

As I read THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS, I couldn't help but think that it would make a wonderful book for a mother-daughter book club. There are so many things to discuss such as parent/child relationships, sibling relationships, first love, grieving, adultery, depression, etc. I am hoping to someday share this book with my daughter and maybe even our book club. I definitely think my daughter is too young for this novel right now because there are some adult topics covered in this story; however, I do think most teenage girls would absolutely adore this book. THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS is absolutely perfect for book clubs, and I'd really love to see a reading guide for it. (It seems that YA books aren't including reading guides in the say way that adult books are.)

A huge thanks to Jillian Cantor for sending me a signed copy of THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS!


Meghan said...

This sounds like a great and touching book. I'll have to add it to my list. =)

bermudaonion said...

This does sound like a terrific book that could be difficult to read because of the subject matter. I think not knowing what happened to a love one would be such a horrible thing to have to cope with.

Beth F said...

This one sounds good. I like YA (as you know), so this would be a good pick for me. And a PSU grad and everything!!

Ti said...

Enjoyed the review, but I have such a hard time with child abductions. Such a deep subject for a YA book.

Betty said...

Great review. I can imagine the emotional roller coaster. But still, triumph is such a great story in any genre. I wouldn't mind taking a peek myself. :-) thanks for sharing it.

Jo-Jo said...

Thanks for the great review. I haven't read much YA fiction myself, but it sounds like I would enjoy this one.

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

Great review. Sounds like a powerful book. The YA genre is one that I really haven't delved into (other than Harry Potter and Twilight) but it's definitely one I want to become exposed to. There is a lot of great YA fiction out there!

Gwendolyn B. said...

I've heard this one is really good - it's on my wish list now. I enjoyed reading your review.

S. Krishna said...

Great review! I have only recently started reading more YA fiction as well - I can't believe how much I was missing out on!

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I'm not a big YA reader, but this looks good. Terrific review!

Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

The September Sisters does sound like a wonderful book.
How cool that there is a book that addresses the depression of a parent.
I invite you and your readers to check out my book, which also deals with issues that are at times unpleasant, but in the end, there is always, always hope.

Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of HOPE..
Ch. 1 is online!