Review: Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
By Raina Telgemeier
Color by Braden Lamb
Out August 26, 2014
Family stories are tough to beat, aren’t they? Aside from being endlessly relatable, they also give a peek into the inner workings of a household that isn’t yours – a potentially fascinating experience. With Sisters Raina Telgemeier brings us a family story to remember (and a companion to her Eisner-winner Smile). A sibling rivalry, a road trip, and a coming of age integrate seamlessly into one of the best graphic novels of the year.
Raina and her family are about to set out on a road trip from California to Colorado. Well, not her entire family – their dad is flying in later to join them. It turns out he misses quite an eventful trip – think torrential rain, bug bites galore, and some grade A sibling bickering. When the Telgemeiers finally make make it to Colorado, the cousins Raina can’t wait to see aren’t how she remembers them. And what exactly is up with mom and dad? Things are changing – in more ways than one.
Flashbacks are used to show family history and the events leading up to the trip, with the climax happening when the past transitions to the present. And what a climax it is – for my money one the best of the year. The ending is subtly ambiguous and hopeful – an authentic choice perfectly suited to this true tale.
Similar to Smile, Sisters packs an emotional richness that will stick with readers. Telgemeier doesn’t shy away from life’s small tragedies, but also includes the good stuff too – big, breathtaking moments of unexpected beauty and small blink-and-you-miss-it pleasures.
The full-color illustrations are crisp and vivid. The panels are unfussy, allowing for a smooth reading experience that’s punctuated by the occasional full page spread to set a scene or highlight a key moment. The color palette is bright and inviting, with a subtle sepia tone given to flashback segments – a nice visual cue.
Just about every family has a story. In Sisters, readers will find one to savor. Be sure to have a couple copies on hand.
Review copy from the publisher
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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