Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier Review

Title: My Sister Rosa
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror/Thriller/Mystery
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

Justine Larbalestier and I haven't always got on, as far as books go. I tried reading one of her books when it first came out, coauthored by Sarah Rees Brennan, and it just wasn't my kind of book, so I shelved it. Nonetheless, I've been really curious about her work since. I came across an article praising My Sister Rosa, and my curiosity piqued as a result. I mean, first of all, the cover--it's so creepy, dark, and minimalist. Honestly, it was part of the reason that the book caught my eye in the first place.

As for the book itself, well, to be honest, I have mixed feelings. Nothing bad, I swear! First of all, I love that Che is Australian--diverse books for the win!--and that he was such a nuanced individual. Honestly, he was probably my favorite character in the entire novel. But the focus of the novel is Rosa, the cherubic, adorable little sister whose sweet smile hides the darkest of secrets. Trying his best to keep his sister under control and get used to living in New York City, Che discovers that the darkness inside of his baby sister runs deeper than even he could've ever imagined...

This book was, in a word, amazing. Was it dark, frightening, serious, and often funny? Absolutely. I loved the way that Larbalestier used the narrative to talk about important, often uncomfortable issues, like religion and the nature of evil in human beings. Is it something learned, or something you're born with? And, most of all, even if you do unspeakable things, are you able to be redeemed? I also loved the pacing; once I picked up My Sister Rosa, I couldn't put it down, and it was on my mind long after I put it down.

But what really sold this book for me wasn't even Che, or Rosa, or the pacing or gorgeous prose. It was the shocking, nail-biting ending that even I didn't see coming--wow! It threw me for such a loop I even woke up in the middle of the night, thinking about it, turning it over in my mind incessantly. Frankly, I finished this book just last night and I'm still bowled over because of it. Wow! What an entry for young adult fiction in 2016! I loved it so much--this book is like a Hitchcock movie, in novel form, and I loved every single creepy, dark moment! A book that's not to be missed! The bottom line: My Sister Rosa is a horror novel of a different sort, and it held me spellbound until the shocking, unexpected ending--I can't wait for more from Justine Larbalestier! Next on deck: Roseblood by A.G. Howard!

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