Monday, September 25, 2017

When My Sister Started Kissing

When My Sister Started Kissing. Helen Frost. 2017. FSG. 208 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The baby, Claire, in a sunsuit and yellow hat, sat on her father's shoulders, the great wide world spread out before them. Two egrets flew home to their nest as thunder rumbled, far off in the distance.

Premise/plot: If you read many verse novels, then chances are good you're familiar with Helen Frost. When My Sister Started Kissing is her newest verse novel; it has multiple narrators. Claire and her older sister, Abigail, have always spent the summer at the cabin with their dad. This year is the first year that the girls' stepmother, Pam, will be joining them. And this family of four is about to become a family of FIVE. Claire who is nearly eleven isn't a fan of change. Abigail is all about change. For example, she now wants to be called Abi. She doesn't want to hang out with her sister; she wants to spend time with Brock and the other teenagers. She doesn't want to spend every moment with her family; she wants to be allowed to go off with her friends and do whatever/whenever. Claire and Abigail are obvious narrators. The third narrator is the LAKE.

My thoughts: I definitely enjoyed this one. The writing is excellent. The verse aspects of this one are essential. There are at least three different poetry forms used throughout the book. Each narrator has their own poetic form that suits the story, the character, best.

This novel is set over one summer vacation. Claire's narration keeps the novel focused on the family. Abigail's narration, on the other hand, keeps the novel focused on BOYS. TJ is a family friend; the two families have vacationed near one another for years. Last summer, Abigail and TJ kissed--"for practice." This summer, Abigail thinks kissing should be reserved for someone that you really like-like. She's nervous to see TJ again. Will he be interested in her still? Does she even like-like him? Is he boyfriend material or like-a-brother? And then there is Brock. He's new. He's cute. He's got FANS. There are half a dozen girls who cling to him. Brock seems to notice HER out of the crowd. And though she doesn't know him, she likes being liked. She feels grown up with Brock, perhaps because she hasn't grown up with him. Claire doesn't get why Abi is ignoring TJ and going out of her way to avoid his family and why she's sneaking around to see Brock. This love triangle is resolved--for now--by the end of the novel.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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