For one of the first times in my life, Google has utterly failed me. I cannot find out if Sarah has any sisters or not. My guess would be that she does not, since she never mentions siblings in her fairly comprehensive biography on her website, which makes me even more amazed at how well she portrays a sisterly relationship time and time again.
I do have sisters – two of them. I’m the oldest, with one sister 22 months younger than me and another sister 24 months younger than that. We grew up together, sharing rooms, riding bikes, playing dolls, borrowing clothes, so I feel like I know what a real sister is like. And astonishingly, so does Sarah, even if she doesn’t have any of her own.
I’ve read all of her books except Keeping the Moon (which is sitting in my library basket waiting for my finals to be over), and nearly all of them have that sister relationship, every single one of which rings true to me.One set in particular stand out to me: Haven and Ashley, from That Summer. When Ashley comes home, drunk, from her bachelorette party, Haven helps her inside, but doesn’t clean her up, thinking to herself that it’s payback for all the mean or thoughtless older-sisterly things Ashley has done to her over the years. I don’t know how anyone who has a sister couldn’t relate to those strong conflicting feelings of protectiveness, jealousy, love, and competitiveness.
Even with a lifetime of sisterly relationships, though, even without being able to remember a day where I didn’t have sisters, either in the next bed over or a thousand miles away, I could never articulate so clearly and so truthfully what it means to have a sisters, and why it’s different than any other relationship – why a friend can never quite be a sister and a sister can never be just a friend. I love her books for letting me see my own life in a way I’m incapable of doing on my own.
Janssen is the second blogger to contribute to this event. Everyday Reading is her book review blog (not all YA) and I am would recommend you go and check it out pronto!
Next: Sara Zarr, author of Sweethearts.